What Are the Physical Signs of Alcoholism?
Alcohol can cause damaging effects, especially physical ones. Alcohol affects most parts of the body — the brain, organs, central nervous system, behavior, and much more. If you suspect that your loved one might be suffering from alcoholism, there are many signs you can start looking for. The best place to start is with the physical signs of alcoholism.
Physical Signs of Alcoholism
Physical signs of alcoholism include:
- Marked weight gain or weight loss. If you have noticed sudden weight gain or weight loss with your loved one, this can be a sign of a multitude of health issues, including alcoholism. Alcohol is an appetite suppressant, causing individuals to neglect to eat. Alternatively, heavy consumption of certain alcohols, such as beer, can cause weight gain and unhealthy eating habits.
- Dry skin, hair, and nails. Alcohol is dehydrating to the body. In addition, individuals suffering from alcoholism may neglect drinking as much water as they are supposed to. These two combined can cause wrinkles and brittle hair and nails, so if you see this happening to your loved one, it should be a cause for concern.
- Red skin. Alcohol causes broken capillaries on the face and nose, especially for individuals of light complexion and of Asian descent. Alcohol can dilate the blood vessels temporarily. Frequent alcohol consumption may lead to longer-lasting broken blood vessels and redness on the face.
- Poor hygiene. Alcoholism can cause individuals to become less concerned with their daily responsibilities — this includes everything from their career to their hygiene routine. If your loved one appears unkempt, this should be seen as a red flag.
- Yellow eyes and skin. This is one of the physical signs of alcoholism that should be the largest cause for concern. Jaundice is a symptom of liver damage, which is often caused by alcoholism.
Are there Other Signs of Alcoholism?
In addition to the above physical signs of alcoholism, there are many other ways to tell if your loved one might be suffering from alcoholism. These include behavioral symptoms, as well as emotional symptoms.
Behavioral Signs of Alcoholism
- Drinking everyday
- The strong smell of alcohol on the breath
- No limit to the amount of alcohol on drinking binges
- Frequently hungover
- Blacking out regularly
- Engaging in risky behavior
- Performance suffering at work or school
- Other family members or loved ones expressing concern
- Extremely upset when alcohol is low or supply is gone
- Skipping important events due to drinking or hangovers
- Relationships are suffering, such as marriage or important friendships
- Change in social circle
Emotional Signs of Alcoholism
- Defensiveness. If your loved one becomes extremely defensive when others try to talk to them about their alcohol use, this should be cause for concern. An individual with non-addictive drinking habits usually does not feel the need to defend their use with such emotion.
- Denial. More often than not, the individual suffering from alcoholism is the last one to realize it. It can take a lot for some people to look in the mirror and admit they have a problem, which makes support so important.
- Manipulation. If your loved one is constantly manipulating the people around him, this is a huge sign of alcoholism. This can include manipulating others to provide money, a place to live, a ride to the liquor store, and to help bail them out of difficult situations caused by drinking.
What to Do If You Suspect Alcoholism
If you believe that your loved one is suffering from alcoholism, it is important that you take action. The longer an individual is addicted, the longer it will take for them to recover. In addition, alcohol is the only substance with potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms, making treatment extremely important if your loved one is indeed ready to become sober.
Some tips for helping your loved one include:
- Do research. Do as much research as possible into treatment and treatment options for your loved one. The more they know, the more comfortable they will be saying “yes” to treatment. This can include helping to find payment options as well as work out logistics with their job — all tasks that our admissions specialists can help with.
- Show compassion and support. It can be difficult to do this, especially if your loved one has caused a lot of negative consequences in your life due to their drinking. However, it is important that you come from a place of love and support, rather than confrontation and anger.
- Write a letter. Writing an emotional letter about how your loved one’s drinking has impacted you and the reasons he or she needs help can be effective.
- Organize an intervention. If all else fails, you can organize an intervention to help get your loved one into alcohol treatment. If you need help organizing one or finding an interventionist, reach out to us.
About Cliffside Malibu
Alcoholism is a serious, progressive, and chronic condition. The sooner you are able to help your loved one, the better their chances will be in long-term recovery. If you’re not sure where to get started, give us a call. We can help walk you through the entire process.
Since no two addictions are the same, Cliffside Malibu offers an individualized treatment plan for every client. We are committed to providing evidence-based treatment through a continuum of care model including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment, and outpatient services. Our program also includes family therapy and holistic therapy, as well. Whether an individual is suffering from substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction, our programs are structured to create a supportive environment where healing can begin.
In addition to world-class treatment, Cliffside Malibu offers luxury accommodations, a serene environment, five-star dining, and plentiful amenities. We understand that addiction treatment is a rigorous process. Therefore, we provide for your comfort and relaxation at every turn, allowing you to rejuvenate, and meet the demands of treatment with your greatest energy and attention.
For more information on Cliffside Malibu, visit cliffsidemalibu.com