John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health physical characteristics of alcoholics (NIH). You’ll soon start receiving the latest Mayo Clinic health information you requested in your inbox. American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information.
There are several stages of alcoholism, and the disease affects different people in different ways. If you’re worried that you, a friend, or a loved one might be struggling with alcohol dependence, you’re not alone. If you or a loved one are seeking alcohol or drug treatment, we are here to help.
What Does the Term ‘Alcoholic’ Mean?
When they can’t drink, they’ll experience withdrawal symptoms, which can be extremely uncomfortable. To avoid withdrawing, alcoholics often maintain an inebriated state most of the time — which to them, feels https://ecosoberhouse.com/ normal. That said, addiction is all-consuming, and many end up prioritizing alcohol almost everything else. If all these physical symptoms are not enough for any alcoholic to deal with, there are still more.
Too much alcohol affects your speech, muscle coordination and vital centers of your brain. A heavy drinking binge may even cause a life-threatening coma or death. This is of particular concern when you’re taking certain medications that also depress the brain’s function. Because denial is common, you may feel like you don’t have a problem with drinking. You might not recognize how much you drink or how many problems in your life are related to alcohol use.
What Are the Types of Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder?
Not surprisingly, alcoholism can weigh heavily on a person’s relationships. It may cause family rifts, break up romantic relationships, and drive away close friends. Also, one person’s alcoholism can lead to personality changes seen in those around them.
- In addition to chronic health diseases and conditions, persons in the end stage of alcohol abuse may be at a heightened risk of falls and other accidents due to balance and coordination problems.
- This is called ‘alcohol flush reaction and it happens when your body is unable to fully digest all the alcohol you’ve consumed.
- This person is unable to control how much they drink or how often they drink.
- If you or a loved one are seeking alcohol or drug treatment, we are here to help.
- For some, this is due to spending a substantial amount of money on liquor to consume at home, happy hours, and going out to bars.
Others may realize something is wrong
but go to great lengths to hide their problem out of fear or shame. The more alcohol you drink during pregnancy, the greater the chance of problems in your baby. There’s no known safe amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. There is no amount of alcohol that’s known to be safe to consume during pregnancy. If you drink during pregnancy, you place your baby at risk of fetal alcohol syndrome.