Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism: Signs & Symptoms


When considering alcohol-use disorders, experts make a distinction between alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Those suffering from alcohol abuse continue to imbibe even after experiencing health, legal, family, or occupational problems. After a period of time, this condition can progressively lead to alcoholism, in which a person becomes physically dependent on alcoholic beverages. If you are worried that a loved one, friend, or coworker may have a problem with alcohol or if you are wondering whether you may have a problem, read on for some of the common signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

Alcohol abuse can be the result of several contributing factors, including social pressures, depression, emotional stresses, and physical pain. Those who abuse alcohol will often exhibit a pattern of drinking that leads to the following signs:

  • Neglecting responsibilities at home, school, or work due to excessive drinking or being hung over
  • Using alcohol unsafely, such as while driving or mixing alcohol with specific medications
  • Getting into legal trouble while drinking, whether it is due to violence or driving under the influence
  • Continuing alcohol use despite relationship problems with friends, family, spouse, or significant other
  • Drinking to reduce stress after a stressful day at work or after a disagreement with a friend or family member

Although not all alcohol abusers progress into alcoholism, it is a major risk factor for the condition. The signs and symptoms of alcoholism include all of those associated with alcohol abuse, but also involve the following:

  • Withdrawal symptoms, which can include anxiety, trembling, nausea, sweating, insomnia, depression, fatigue, and irritability
  • Inability to stop drinking, even with the persistent desire to do so
  • Discontinuing other activities that were once quite enjoyable, such as hobbies, time with friends, and going to the gym
  • Increased tolerance for alcohol over time
  • Spending more time drinking or recovering from drinking episodes than doing anything else

Alcohol-related disorders are serious health issues and increase a person’s risk of developing many severe medical conditions. If you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol abuse or alcoholism, seek help today by contacting the Consult-A-Nurse Healthcare Referral at (951) 788-3000 offered by Riverside Community Hospital. Our nurses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to offer advice and support.

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