Alcohol Addiction Warning Signs & Dangers

The Landing provides alcohol addiction treatment for men rooted in a science-based, research-supported clinical model to ensure a healthier, more satisfying life.

Understanding Alcohol

Learn about alcohol and substance abuse

Alcohol, which can be found in liquor, wine, and beer, is the most frequently abused substance in the country. While often referred to only as alcohol, this substance is actually ethyl alcohol, or ethanol. It is developed through the fermentation of starches, sugars, and yeast.

Alcohol is widely accepted in a number of cultural customs and practices throughout the United States, including in social gatherings, celebrations, and even religious services. Many individuals are able to control their drinking and consume this substance responsibly, while millions of others battle with alcohol consumption and the damaging effects that it can cause, including the development of alcohol use disorder (AUD).

According to the fifth edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the criteria listed below may indicate alcohol use disorder. If an individual experiences serious impairment or upset as a result of his alcohol abuse, including two or more of the following criteria within a 12-month period of time, he might have developed alcohol use disorder:

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when unable to consume alcohol
  • Consuming larger amounts of alcohol, or drinking for a longer period of time than intended
  • Needing to consume larger amounts of alcohol to obtain the desired effect
  • Persistently desiring and unsuccessfully attempting to limit or control one’s alcohol use
  • Continuing to abuse alcohol even though the individual is aware that his alcohol use has caused or aggravated a psychological or physical condition
  • Spending excessive amounts o time to use, obtain, and recover from alcohol
  • Using alcohol in situations where the individuals know that doing so is physically dangerous
  • Experiencing cravings for alcohol
  • Limited or ceasing participation in significant activities because of one’s alcohol use
  • Being incapable of meeting obligations at work, home, or school because of one’s alcohol abuse
  • Continuing to abuse alcohol even after social or interpersonal problems have developed as a result

The abuse of alcohol can lead to a number of issues within an individual’s life, and defeating alcohol use disorder can be exceptionally challenging. With the appropriate treatment, individuals can effectively put an end to their alcohol abuse and reclaim their lives once and for 

Statistics

Alcohol addiction statistics

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), more than eight out of 10 adults within the country have consumed alcohol at least one time in his or her life, and more than 50 percent of all adults in the United States have consumed an alcoholic beverage within the past 30 days. The American Psychological Associated (APA) states that roughly 12 percent of adult men and 5 percent of adult women display symptoms linked to a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder each year. The abuse of alcohol is the third most common preventable cause of death within the country. Experts approximate that roughly 90,000 people die yearly based on the abuse of alcohol.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for alcohol addiction

A number of factors can influence an individual’s vulnerability to abuse alcohol and develop an alcohol use disorder, such as the following:

Genetic: Those who have an immediate family member, such as a sibling or a parent, with alcohol use disorder have a much higher likelihood of developing this disorder themselves. Researchers state that genetics impact as much at 40 to 60 percent of the risk variance for alcohol use disorder. Studies of individuals who were adopted show that an individual whose birth parents struggling with AUD were 400 percent more likely to develop the disorder than another member of the population, even if their adoptive parents did not have this disorder. Researchers have also proven that specific genes can impact the likelihood of an individual’s risk of developing AUD.

Environmental: The prevalence of alcohol use, as well as its acceptance in culture can have a powerful impact on if an individual will grow dependent on alcohol. Other environmental influences on AUD can include hanging out with individuals who abuse alcohol and having insufficient skills to help manage stress.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of mental illness
  • Family history of alcohol abuse and alcohol use disorder
  • Poor coping skills
  • High levels of impulsivity
  • Peer abuse of alcohol
  • Cultural acceptability of alcohol abuse

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction

Below are some of the most common symptoms that might indicate alcohol abuse or alcohol use disorder:

Behavioral disorder:

  • Secretiveness regarding one’s whereabouts and/or activities
  • Reckless, risky, and otherwise dangerous behaviors
  • Needing alcohol to celebrate successes or cope with setbacks
  • Neglecting personal or household responsibilities
  • Declining performance in school or at work
  • Abandoning or reducing participation in significant activities
  • Unexplained absences from work or school

Physical symptoms:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling or “pins and needles” feeling in fingers and toes
  • Slurring speech
  • Poor coordination
  • Disrupted sleep patterns

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Impaired cognition
  • Strong cravings for alcohol
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Alcohol-related amnesia, also known as “blackouts”

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Anger and aggressiveness
  • Drastic mood swings

Effects

Effects of alcohol addiction

Continuing to abuse a substance like alcohol can lead to a myriad of dangerous outcomes, such as:

  • Strained interpersonal relationships
  • Family discord
  • Physical injury related to impaired coordination and/or recklessness
  • Heightened risk for certain cancers
  • Ulcers
  • Gastritis
  • Damage to the liver, pancreas, and heart
  • Lowered performance in school or at work
  • Job loss and unemployment
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Depression
  • Homelessness
  • Financial problems
  • Legal problems, including arrest and incarceration
  • Social isolation or ostracization

Co-Occurring Disorders

Alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorders

Those who are afflicted with ADU also go through mental health issues, such as:

  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Depressive disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Conduct disorder
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Anxiety disorders

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of alcohol withdrawal & overdose

Effects of alcohol withdrawal: Long-term dependence to alcohol can cause an umber of negative symptoms if an individual tries to stop use altogether or cease his use suddenly. Below are some of the most common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal:

  • Tremors
  • Increased pulse rate
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Seizure
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

Effects of alcohol overdose: Alcohol overdose is also known as alcohol poisoning, and can be incredibly dangerous and possibly even deadly. Someone who shows the below listed symptoms after consuming alcohol might require medical attention:

  • Seizure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Impaired coordination and balance
  • Drop in body temperature
  • Clammy and/or bluish skin

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I let my alcoholism control the very personal aspects of my life. At a certain point, I had enough, and sought at treatment at The Landing where I was able to get sober.

– Anonymous Client
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  • American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
  • California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP)
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)