Alcoholism Physical Symptoms


As more and more individuals experience various alcoholism physical symptoms, an increasing number of people are asking how they can better mange or reduce these symptoms.

Although there are social, emotional, and spiritual alcoholism symptoms that can be just as painful as the better-known alcoholism physical symptoms, it is apparent that alcoholism and its physical symptoms are a major concern for alcoholics and for those who are related to or associated with people who are alcohol dependent.

Alcoholism and Physical Symptoms

It is apparent that alcoholism physically affects people while they are addicted, when they want to recover from this disease, and, unfortunately, when they experience withdrawal symptoms.

One productive way to focus on alcoholism physical symptoms, it is asserted, is to look at the prototypical alcoholic behaviors in the four stages of alcoholism.


Alcoholism Physical Symptoms - First Stage

The following list typifies some of the typical physical alcoholism symptoms and behaviors in the first stage of alcoholism:

  • Boasting and a "big shot" complex

  • A conscious effort to seek out more drinking opportunities

  • Increasing tolerance

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

  • Gross Drinking Behavior - more frequent drinking of greater amounts

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

Alcoholism Physical Symptoms - Second Stage

The following characterizes some of the more common alcoholism physical symptoms and behaviors in the second stage of alcoholism:

  • Sporadic loss of control Gulping the first few drinks to feel the "buzz" faster

  • Chronic hangovers

  • Unsuccessful attempts to stop drinking

  • More frequent blackouts

  • Physical problems increase

  • Sneaking extra drinks before social events

  • Increasing tolerance

  • Drinking because of dependence rather than for stress relief

Alcoholism Physical Symptoms - Third Stage

The following list typifies some of the main alcoholism physical symptoms and behaviors in the third stage of alcoholism:

  • Loss of control has become a pattern

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

  • Eye-openers

  • Increased tremors

  • A decrease in alcohol tolerance

  • Half-hearted attempts at seeking medical aid

  • The start of physical deterioration

  • Neglect of necessities such as food

  • Avoidance of family and friends

  • Problems with the law (e.g, DUIs)

  • Frequent violent or destructive behavior

  • Aggressive and grandiose behavior

Alcoholism Physical Symptoms - Fourth Stage

As mentioned above, alcoholism has four stages. Chronic alcoholism or severe alcoholism is the fourth and final stage of alcoholism and is characterized by the most life threatening consequences of this debilitating disease.

The following list typifies some of the key physical alcoholism symptoms and behaviors in the fourth stage of severe alcoholism:

  • Auditory and visual hallucinations

  • Benders, or lengthy intoxications

  • Moral deterioration

  • The "DTs"

  • Continual loss of control

  • Unreasonable resentments and hostility toward others

  • "The shakes"

  • Loss of tolerance for alcohol

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

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

While these symptoms can range from mild to moderate to severe and include both behavioral and psychological components, it needs to be emphasized, moreover, that alcohol withdrawal symptoms are usually the worst during the fourth and final alcoholism stage, a stage known as chronic alcoholism or severe alcoholism.

Mild to Moderate Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

The following represents mild to moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms that generally occur within 6 to 48 hours after the last alcoholic drink:

  • Insomnia, sleeping difficulties

  • Headaches (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

  • Looking pale, without color

  • Rapid heart rate

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

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

The following represents severe symptoms that usually take place 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 suffering from alcohol withdrawal should be who you should contact about the alcohol withdrawal symptoms you are experiencing.

When encountering alcohol withdrawal symptoms, always see your doctor or healthcare practitioner immediately so that he or she can assess the seriousness of your circumstances and recommend the most productive and effective option for treatment.

Conclusion: Alcoholism Physical Symptoms

It is apparent from a review of the literature that alcoholism physical symptoms affect people when they drink, when they try to stop drinking, when they involve themselves in the recovery process, and, regrettably, when they experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Based on an analysis of the information discussed above, nevertheless, the significant messages regarding alcoholism physical symptoms are these.

First, alcoholism leads to a series of destructive, unhealthy, and painful physical as well as emotional, social, and spiritual symptoms that will get progressively worse unless the individual abstains from drinking.

Second, a crucial step in the recovery process is acknowledging the fact that drinking has become a problem and having the desire and the willpower to quit drinking.

Third, once the alcoholic reaches this point, the next obstacle to overcome is how to best cope with the withdrawal symptoms that typically follow.


Fourth, the most logical and effective way to cope with and overcome alcoholism physical symptoms is to immediately see a doctor or healthcare professional so that he or she can assess the severity of the problem and suggest the most appropriate and productive form of treatment or intervention.

This is especially important the further along the person is regarding his or her alcohol addiction.

Stated differently, as people progress through the four stages of alcoholism, it is increasingly more important for the person to see his or her physician or healthcare practitioner, especially during the fourth stage (known as chronic alcoholism or severe alcoholism).