Signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction as thousands take on Sober October

Alcohol addictions can destroy lives <i>(Image: Getty)</i>
Alcohol addictions can destroy lives (Image: Getty)

Alcohol addiction is a chronic relapsing disorder associated with compulsive alcohol drinking and affects people differently.

Alcohol is a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions, including mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast cancers; high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver; and depression.

Misusing alcohol is the most significant risk factor for death, ill health and disability among 15-49-year-olds in the UK and the fifth most significant risk factor across all ages.

The NHS recommends that people should drink in moderation by limiting their intake to no more than 14 units a week which is roughly six pints of lager or one and a half bottles of wine.

For many people, their behaviour will change after drinking alcohol but if someone is suffering from alcoholism, the behavioural changes can begin to affect their everyday life - both psychologically and physically.

Sober October encourages people to go alcohol-free for 28 days and raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support - it can also be done with smoking.

The signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction

Psychological changes of alcohol addiction:

  • Secretive or dishonest behaviour due to alcohol

  • Drinking heavily alone and with others

  • Drinking at inappropriate times such as first thing in the morning

  • Avoiding contact with loved ones

  • Withdrawing from responsibilities at home or work

  • Continuing to drink despite the negative effects that this has had on your home, work or social life

  • Losing interest in activities, hobbies or events that were once important to you

Physical changes of alcohol addiction:

  • Finding that you have built up a tolerance to alcohol, meaning that you need to drink increasingly higher amounts of alcohol in order to feel ‘drunk’

  • Lack of energy and headaches

  • Excessive sweating when not physically exercising

  • Weight loss or gain as a result of changes in appetite

  • Lack of concern over physical appearance/personal hygiene

  • Disrupted sleep patterns, including insomnia

  • Appearance of alcohol withdrawal symptoms if you haven’t drank alcohol for a certain amount of time

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety

  • Agitation

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Insomnia

  • Nightmares

  • Tremors

  • Hallucinations

  • Seizures

Where to get help for alcohol addiction:

According to the NHS' website, a GP is a good place to start but people are advised to try to be accurate and honest about how much they drink and any problems it may be causing them.