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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction?

What is alcohol addiction? Read on to learn more about alcohol addiction, its immediate effects, and available treatment options. 

What Is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction affects millions of people worldwide. It may impact every fragment of your life, from your health to your relationships with family and friends. But how do signs and symptoms of alcoholism develop? What causes it?

Alcohol addiction is one of the most difficult addictions to recognize in yourself and others. Excessive alcohol use can have a negative influence on both mental and physical health. It is crucial to understand what alcohol addiction is, be aware of alcoholic signs and symptoms, and the alternatives available to treat alcohol addiction symptoms.

Alcohol Addiction 

Alcohol addiction is a strong, often overwhelming desire to consume alcohol. This is also known as alcohol or dependence alcoholism; alcohol addiction is medically recognized as a form of 'alcohol-use disorder' that can be treated. It differs from 'harmful drinking' (another alcohol-use disorder), which includes harmful drinking habits, such as binge-drinking, and is a drinking habit that harms your health but does not always lead to dependency.1

Warning Signs of Alcoholism

Below are several warning signs of alcohol addiction:

  • Drinking longer than you intend to
  • Having tried to stop drinking more than once and failed
  • Spending a lot of time drinking
  • Wanting alcohol so desperately you can think of nothing else
  • Having to drink more than usual to achieve the desired impact
  • Discovering withdrawal symptoms such as difficulty with a racing heart, sleeping, shakiness, etc.

Depending on the number of alcoholic symptoms in this list, cases range from mild through moderate to severe.2

Immediate Effects of Alcohol

Depending on factors such as the individual's physical state and the amount of alcohol consumed, here are some immediate effects of alcohol:3

  • Distorted hearing and vision 
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Blackouts or memory lapses
  • Slurred speech
  • Headaches 
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Breathing problems
  • Unconsciousness

Addiction To Alcohol 

Sometimes, alcoholic signs and symptoms are disregarded, as drinking is such a socially acceptable concept. However, what appear to be minor alcoholic signs can quickly spiral out of control. These early warning flags must not be ignored. Looking for therapy sooner rather than later will help you to return to the activities you most love in life.

Who Is at Higher Risk for Alcoholism?

Scientifically, anyone who indulges in alcohol is at minimal risk. Alcohol use can influence your body and behavior due to genetic, psychological, social, and environmental variables. According to theories, drinking has different influences on each person, leading to the symptoms of excessive drinking and then addiction.

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Genetics and Family History

If one had had an experience in childhood when a parent, guardian, or a close relative struggled with alcoholism, the person would likely have issues with alcoholism. This is because of a person's environment. Genetics and heredity also affect this.4

According to a genetic study on alcoholism, persons with specific genes may react differently to alcohol and be more vulnerable to its effects. If you grow up with someone who has an unhealthy connection with alcohol, this might influence your attitude toward drinking, whether you recognize it or not. On the one hand, some people who grow up around an alcoholic can have the reverse impact and wish to avoid alcohol since they have witnessed its bad consequences on a loved one. Others, on the other hand, may receive a different message or be influenced to use alcohol later in life owing to various factors.

Underage and Frequent Drinking

The likelihood of alcohol misuse is highly influenced by an individual's age. Alcohol use often begins in the late teens or early twenties, peaks in the middle and late twenties, and declines by the early thirties. After all, alcohol use disorder is most common in people in their early to mid-twenties. The younger a person begins drinking alcohol, the more likely they will develop symptoms of excessive drinking (or, generally, alcoholic symptoms) later in life. 

Social Factors

Alcoholism is influenced by a variety of social and cultural variables. Alcohol consumption problems are more likely to grow when and where drinking is tolerated or encouraged. An example of this environment is college, where alcohol use is openly recognized and welcomed, especially at frat initiation parties, where binge drinking is a norm.

Mental Health Conditions

It is typical for persons suffering from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia to struggle with alcohol or other substances. Many people think alcohol offers a way out of these disorders, at least temporarily, ignoring that alcohol comes with its problems.  

Trauma History

People who have experienced emotional (or other forms of) trauma are also more likely to develop an alcohol consumption problem since they turn to alcohol as a means of escaping the pain and feelings they feel because of what they have been through. 

What Are Alcohol Addiction Symptoms?

Some relevant alcohol addiction symptoms will be detailed below.

An Uncontrollable Urge to Drink

Alcohol addiction patients feel an overwhelming urge to drink, just like every other drink. It becomes worse when they cannot suppress the desire and cave in.

Lack of Control Over How Much You Drink

This might entail being unable to manage how long a drinking session lasts, how much alcohol you consume when you do drink, how regularly you drink, being unable to quit drinking once you start, or drinking inappropriately or in unsuitable areas.

Negative Thoughts When You're Not Drinking Alcohol

In some cases, one might begin to think negative thoughts when one cannot get alcohol. This is the feeling that precedes other disorders like anxiety and depression.

Drinking in Risky Situations

Using alcohol in unsafe conditions, such as when driving or swimming, is one symptom that clinicians warn some people of. When individuals begin to use alcohol in situations they would not normally go through, it becomes an addiction. 

Drinking That Interferes With Things You Enjoy

When people increase the priority given to drug use over other parts of life they would normally find interesting, including daily activities and responsibilities as important as eating and body care, it has become an addiction. 

Alcohol Use Disorder Effects:

Listed below are alcohol use disorder effects:

Slurred Speech

Alcohol decreases the connection between your brain and body, resulting in slurred speech, a significant indicator of drunkenness. This makes speaking and coordination challenging. That is one of the primary reasons why you should never drive after drinking.


Alcohol also makes body coordination much more difficult. Drunk people can be found having impairedhand-to-eye coordination and other body coordination complexes. 

Problems Walking Steadily

Along with incoordination, alcohol-addicted people struggle to walk correctly and uprightly.

Poor Memory and Attention

Alcohol-addicted people suffer memory impairment, often forgetting memories during spells of drunkenness. When they get sober, they cannot recall what they did during their drunken period. Recent memory is usually more disrupted than a distant memory.

Mood Changes

Alcohol is also recorded to cause mood swings. These spells often lead to anxiety and depression. 

Poor Judgment

Most drunk people are not in their right senses and tend to make poor decisions when it comes to it.

Psychological Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol Addiction

Heavy alcohol consumption modifies several brain chemicals (i.e., neurotransmitters) and hormone systems involved in developing many common mental illnesses (e.g., mood and anxiety disorders). Hence, it is not surprising that drinking can cause various psychological symptoms and indicators. Such psychological concerns are frequently the initial issues for which an alcoholic seeks treatment.

Rapidly Changing Moods

Mood disturbances (usually not severe enough to be classified as "disorders") are the most prevalent mental complaint among treatment-seeking alcoholic patients, affecting up to 80% of alcoholics at some time in their drinking lives. They often find themselves unable to maintain certain moods for long periods, switching between gloomy and enthusiastic feelings in short periods.

Increased Irritability, Anger, And Aggression

When you are addicted to alcohol, you may experience anger, aggression and find yourself easily irritated, which also leads to anger. These are also symptoms of alcohol addiction. This is partly because frequent drinking interferes with neurotransmitters in our brains that are required for proper mental health.

Failing to Follow Throughout on Responsibilities

As previously said, due to alcohol dependence, one could be found neglecting their responsibilities towards family, work, and even their careers. These problems can also lead to despair and anxiety.

Problems With Memory, Concentration, and Attention

Consistent, heavy drinking interferes with chemicals in the brain needed for correct mental health. 

New or Worsening Anxiety

Anxiety is a complex issue to deal with, and when induced by alcohol, it can increase the feeling by almost ten times. This is because frustration already sets in from not being free from alcohol, which then causes a person to feel anxious and uncalm. 


Possible hallucinations or delusional thinking, especially during periods of withdrawal Delusional episodes are a constant part of alcohol addiction patients, where they experience modes of unreal events and fantasies. This can also be found amongst drug addicts. Most patients undergo this during their times of withdrawal and rehab. 

What Are the Treatments for Alcoholism?

Listed below are treatments for alcoholism: 


Treatment may start with a detoxification regimen - medically supervised withdrawal. This is sometimes referred to as detox and usually takes about one week. Sedating drugs may be required to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Detox is often performed at a hospital or inpatient treatment center.


Alcohol treatment professionals are generally involved in this procedure. Ensuring withdrawals are prevented as best as possible is key here. It may all be part of goal planning, behavior modification approaches, self-help manuals, counseling, and follow-up care at a treatment facility.


Support groups might help you get through rehab and keep on track when your life returns to normal. Group therapy, facilitated by a therapist, may provide you with the advantages of therapy and the support of other participants. Therapists do not lead support groups. These are instead groups of persons that have an alcohol consumption problem.

Behavioral Therapies

Licensed therapists perform behavioral therapies, sometimes known as "talk therapy" or alcohol counseling, to modify drinking habits. Brief interventions and reinforcement techniques, treatments that increase motivation and teach skills for handling and preventing relapse, and mindfulness-based therapies are examples of behavioral treatments.5

Learn How Ripple Ranch Can Help You Get Out of Alcohol Addiction

Quick access to medical care can make a huge difference in alcohol addiction. Ripple Ranch Recovery Center provides drug and alcohol addiction treatment services that are very affordable and effective. Ripple Ranch is dedicated to assisting and supporting people battling alcohol addiction on their path to ultimate recovery. 

Are You Ready to Regain Control Over Your Life?

Don’t let mental health challenges, addiction, or co-occurring disorders keep you from living the happy and fulfilled life you were made for. Contact Ripple Ranch Recovery Center today and begin the path toward sustainable healing.

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