The Most Common Signs of Alcoholism

Being aware of the common signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse can help you to better identify alcohol abuse in your own behaviors or in others around you.

Alcohol abuse is characterized by alcohol use that impacts the user in negative ways. In the United States, 17 million people meet the criteria for alcohol abuse, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that alcohol causes 88,000 deaths per year across the country. Alcoholism (alcohol addiction) can result from frequent heavy drinking.

Excessive drinking can result in adverse health effects, harmful or fatal accidents, and social effects of saying or doing things while intoxicated that the drinker may regret afterward. Alcohol abuse leading to alcoholism often starts during one’s teenage years.

Frequent heavy drinking increases the body’s alcohol tolerance and often eventually results in serious social and health consequences. Recognizing the signs of alcohol abuse can help you determine if someone you care about needs help to overcome alcohol addiction.

Some common signs of alcohol abuse include:

  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty standing or walking
  • Loss of hand and other body coordination
  • Slurring speech
  • Repeating statements or rambling speech
  • Glassy and/or bloodshot eyes
  • Blank stare
  • Anxiety or agitation

Short-Term After-Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Although people may drink alcohol to experience a pleasant “buzzed” feeling, the after-effects of alcohol abuse can last well beyond the brief period of enjoying intoxication. Some short-term side-effects of abusing alcohol include the following, among others:

  • Headaches
  • Breathing problems
  • Impaired judgment
  • Distorted vision
  • Distorted hearing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blackout

Health Risks of Alcohol Abuse

The effects of alcoholism are much more serious, and can be irreversible—including death. Long-term alcohol abuse causes significant damage to the body and brain. All body organs are impacted by alcohol abuse. The brain and liver are often affected to greater extremes than other parts of the body.
Long-term effects of alcohol abuse include, among others:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Brain damage
  • Depression
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Psoriasis
  • Tremors in hands
  • Damaged immune system


Affordable, high-quality health care is available for your entire family from your primary care physician at your ARcare community health clinic in Arkansas. Your ARcare family doctor helps you manage all of your medical needs throughout your life, including referring you to one of our network’s many specialists. ARcare accepts all patients, regardless of ability to pay.

For More Information

For more information about the symptoms of alcoholism, or to schedule an appointment to see your nearest primary care physician in Arkansas, contact ARcare by calling (866) 550-4719, or visit the ARcare website for additional general information about all that your ARcare healthcare team provides for you.

Reader Interactions