Physical Symptoms of Alcoholism and Recovery

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The important message regarding alcoholism physical symptoms and alcoholism recovery is this: alcoholism leads to a series of damaging physical and psychological behaviors and problems that will continue and intensify unless the alcoholic faces his or her alcohol drinking problems, stops drinking, gets professional treatment, and starts the alcohol recovery process.

If this is not done, the alcoholic will certainly experience a host of negative alcoholism symptoms and alcoholism signs that will most likely adversely affect every aspect of his or her life.

Alcoholic Symptoms and Behaviors - First Stage

Alcoholism Physical Symptoms. What are some of the alcoholism physical symptoms? What alcoholism symptoms can a chronic alcohol drinking problem lead to? It is clear that alcoholism physically affects people while they are addicted and actively drinking and also when they want to quit drinking and experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms (also known as physical alcohol withdrawal symptoms).

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We will focus first on alcoholism physical symptoms and then on the physical aspects of alcohol withdrawal.

One way to look at the alcoholism physical symptoms is to focus on the typical alcoholism symptoms and alcoholic behaviors in the various stages of alcoholism.

The following represents some of the classic alcoholic behaviors, alcohol drinking problems, and symptoms of alcoholism suffered by problem drinkers in the first stage of alcoholism:

  • Lack of recognition by the person that he or she is in the early stages of a progressive illness

  • Boasting and a "big shot" complex

  • Gross Drinking Behavior - more frequent drinking of greater amounts

  • Increasing tolerance

  • An ability to drink great amounts of alcohol without any apparent impairment

  • A conscious effort to seek out more drinking opportunities

Alcoholic Behaviors and Symptoms - Second Stage

The following represents some of the symptoms of alcoholism, alcohol drinking problems, and classic alcoholic behavior experienced by problem drinkers in the second stage of alcoholism:

  • Gulping the first few drinks to feel the "buzz" faster

  • Increasing tolerance

  • Drinking because of dependence rather than for stress relief

  • Blaming problems on others and on things external to themselves

  • Unsuccessful attempts to stop drinking

  • Physical problems increase

  • Sneaking extra drinks before social events

  • More frequent blackouts

  • Chronic hangovers

  • Sporadic loss of control

Alcoholic Symptoms and Behaviors - Third Stage

The following represents some of the alcohol drinking problems, classic alcoholic behavior, and symptoms of alcoholism suffered by problem drinkers in the third stage of alcoholism:

Loss of control have become a pattern

Serious financial, relationship, and work-related problems

The development of an alibi system - an elaborate system of excuses for their drinking

  • Aggressive and grandiose behavior

  • Eye-openers

  • Loss of interests

  • The start of physical deterioration

  • Avoidance of family and friends

  • Frequent violent or destructive behavior

  • A decrease in alcohol tolerance

  • An increase in failed promises and resolutions to one's self and to others

  • Unreasonable resentments

  • Problems with the law (e.g, DUIs)

  • Neglect of necessities such as food

  • Loss of willpower

  • Increased tremors

  • Half-hearted attempts at seeking medical treatment

Alcoholic Behaviors and Symptoms- Fourth Stage

The following represents some of the classic alcoholic behavior, symptoms of alcoholism, and alcohol drinking problems in the fourth stage of alcoholism:

  • Loss of tolerance for alcohol

  • Obsession with drinking

  • "The shakes"

  • Moral deterioration

  • The "DTs"

  • Devaluation of personal relationships

  • Continual loss of control

  • Unreasonable resentments and hostility toward others

  • Auditory and visual hallucinations

  • The collapse of the alibi system

  • Benders, or lengthy intoxications

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a group of symptoms exhibited by alcoholics who stop drinking alcohol after a pattern of continuous and excessive consumption.

These alcohol withdrawal symptoms (also known as alcoholism withdrawal symptoms) can range from mild to moderate to severe and include both behavioral and psychological components.

Physical Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

There is a fairly typical pattern of physical symptoms in the withdrawal process from alcohol. As noted above, some of these alcohol withdrawal symptoms are psychological and others are behavioral or physical.

Mild to Moderate Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

The following represents mild to moderate alcoholism withdrawal symptoms experienced by a problem drinker who is alcohol dependent that typically occur within 6 to 48 hours after the last alcoholic drink:

  • Headache (especially those that pulsate)

  • Involuntary, abnormal movements of the eyelids

  • Loss of appetite

  • Abnormal movements

  • Sweating (especially on the face or the palms of the hands)

  • Tremor of the hands

  • Clammy skin

  • Insomnia, sleeping difficulties

  • Looking pale, without color

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Eyes or pupils different size (enlarged, dilated pupils)

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

Severe Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

The following represents severe alcoholism withdrawal symptoms suffered by a problem drinker who is an alcoholic that typically occur within 48 to 96 hours after the last alcoholic drink:

  • Visual hallucinations

  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

  • Severe autonomic nervous system overactivity

  • Black outs

  • Muscle tremors

  • Convulsions

  • Fever

  • Seizures

What To Do When Experiencing Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

The first concern when experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms should be "who should I contact about the alcohol withdrawal symptoms I am experiencing" rather than "what helps for alcohol withdrawals?"

When experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, always see your doctor or healthcare provider immediately so that he or she can assess the severity of your situation and suggest the best option for treatment.

Conclusion: Physical Symptoms of Alcoholism and Recovery

Based on the above, it is clear that alcoholism affects people while they are drinking and also when they want to recover from their addiction (by quitting drinking) and experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment options for withdrawal and the different recovery programs can be found on other pages of this website such as Treatment for Alcohol and Alcohol Rehab Treatment.

The important message regarding alcoholism physical symptoms and recovery is this: alcoholism leads to a series of damaging physical and psychological behaviors and problems that will continue and intensify unless the problem drinker tackles his or her drinking problem, stops drinking, and gets the necessary treatment.

Moreover, abstaining from alcohol for the alcoholic typically results in alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

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Alcohol withdrawal symptoms, however unpleasant, are one of the physical symptoms of alcoholism and also one of the realities of trying to quit drinking and recover from alcohol addiction.

The very first step in the recovery process is acknowledging that you have alcohol drinking problems and then possessing the desire and the will to stop drinking. Once the alcoholic reaches this point, the next hurdle is how to best handle the alcohol withdrawal symptoms that usually follow.

And the best way to cope with and overcome alcohol withdrawal symptoms is to see your doctor or healthcare provider immediately so that he or she can assess the severity of your situation and suggest the best option for treatment.

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