Sign of Alcohol Abuse

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited:  November 23 ,
| 4 Sources

Sign of Alcohol Abuse

The most obvious, important sign of alcohol abuse has to do with how alcohol affects you. Alcohol abuse information from numerous sources says that you are abusing alcohol if your drinking is causing problems with your day-to-day life.

If you are getting in trouble at work or school, getting in trouble with the legal system, getting into arguments with family members or friends, or experiencing health problems as a result of your drinking, then you have a drinking problem.

Another sign of alcohol abuse is if you cannot stop drinking, even when you want to or even when you know drinking is causing significant problems for you.

For instance, if you’ve missed a lot of work due to being hung over and your boss tells you that if you miss anymore work, you are going to get fired, yet you can’t resist drinking at night, you’re abusing alcohol.

If your doctor has told you that your liver is in very poor shape and that further drinking may land you on the list for a transplant, yet you can’t stop, you’re abusing alcohol.

Of course, there are numerous physical signs of alcohol abuse, such as liver damage, damage to the pancreas, ulcers, nutritional deficiencies, trembling hands or full body tremors, seizures, changes to the structure of the brain resulting in problems learning and thinking, high blood pressure, heart problems, and more.

You may not be sure if some symptoms you’re experiencing are a sign of alcohol abuse or if your symptoms are caused by something else. If you’re not sure, you should still see your doctor so he or she can assess your condition and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse Requiring Immediate Medical Attention

If you experience any of these signs of alcohol abuse, you should go directly to the nearest emergency room or call 911 right away:

  • Yellowish tint to the skin and yellowing of the whites of the eyes (called jaundice)
  • Seizures
  • Trembling hands or full body tremors that start shortly after you try to stop drinking alcohol
  • Confusion or trouble thinking
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Vomiting blood (may look like coffee grounds) or blood in your stool (stool may appear black and tarry)

Signs of Alcohol Abuse Requiring Prompt Medical Attention

If you experience any of these signs of alcohol abuse, you should call your doctor right away:

  • Depression, severe mood swings, or severe anxiety
  • Persistent moderate stomach pain
  • Heart palpitations (feeling like your heart is pounding) or feeling that your heart is beating irregularly
  • Feeling tired and weak all the time (possible sign of iron deficiency)
  • Numbness and tingling in your hands and feet (possible sign of vitamin B12 deficiency, which can lead to permanent nerve damage if not treatment promptly)

Contact your doctor if you have other symptoms that concern you. If you think you might have a problem with alcohol abuse, even if you haven’t noticed any physical symptoms like those listed here, you should still see your doctor for a thorough checkup. Your doctor can also give you advice about how to stop drinking so your health problems don’t get worse.

For More Alcohol Abuse Information

We’ve tried to provide comprehensive alcohol abuse information on this website. Please feel free, though, to email us if you have any questions or need additional information. We’ll do our best to help.

In addition, if you’ve noticed a sign of alcohol abuse in yourself or in a loved one, you can talk to your doctor or to a professional counselor for more information or to get help.

More sign of alcohol abuse on our alcoholism disease page

Alcoholism home page

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 

I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LPC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More