Symptoms and Warning Signs

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse is defined as any use that negatively impacts the user. This encompasses health effects, such as bad hangovers and alcohol-induced accidents, as well as social effects, such as doing or saying regrettable things while intoxicated.

Binge drinking and alcohol abuse can start in the teenage years or even earlier, though adults and the elderly may pick up the habit too.

Alcoholism often begins in a person’s early 20s and is characterized by frequent heavy drinking. This behavior leads to an increased tolerance to alcohol and eventually presents social and health problems. Recognizing when someone you care about is abusing alcohol can help you determine if they need help.

Some of the signs of alcohol abuse include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Lack of coordination
  • Rambling or repetitive statements
  • Difficulty standing up or walking
  • Disorientation
  • Agitation or anxiety
  • Glassy or blank stares

The Dangers of Alcohol Abuse

Many people don’t recognize the damaging effects of alcohol because it is so prevalent in society. Whether it’s having one too many drinks at happy hour after work one night or developing a pattern of frequent binge drinking, the effects of alcohol can be seen across the country in many forms.

Long-term abuse of alcohol takes a serious toll on the brain and body, as every organ is affected by it. Certain organs, such as the liver and the brain, are affected more than others.

Although many people drink to feel buzzed, the ramifications of alcohol abuse can persist long past the initial period of intoxication. Short-term side effects of alcohol abuse can include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Impaired judgment
  • Headaches
  • Blackouts
  • Nausea
  • Distorted vision and hearing

Long-term effects of alcohol abuse are more serious and can include irreversible damage that could lead to death. Some of the common long-term effects of alcoholism include:

  • Depression
  • Brain damage
  • Psoriasis
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Neurological impairment
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Hand tremors
  • Compromised immune system

Studies have shown that those who use alcohol as a teen have up to five times the risk of developing a dependence on alcohol compared to those who began drinking at 21. Teens who abuse alcohol also have significant issues with normal brain development.