In 2019, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported that over 14 million people aged 12 years old and older suffered from alcohol use disorder (AUD.) A sad statistic within these numbers is that over 400,000 adolescents between 12 and 17 years old are suffering from AUD.
If someone in your family is suffering from this disease, you can learn more here about recognizing the signs of alcohol withdrawal. Familiarize yourself with these signs and you’ll avoid complications further down the road. Recognizing these signs today might just save someone you love the most.
Alcohol Consumption Metrics
To start understanding the signs and symptoms of alcoholism complications, it’s best to know what the metrics are to appreciate their effect on alcoholism. Consider these measurements and definitions below.
Definition of a “Drink”
According to US regulations, alcoholic beverages contain approximately 14.0 grams (or around 0.6 ounces ) of pure alcohol. You can find these levels of alcohol in the following beverages:
• 1, 8-ounce glass of a malt liquor
• 1, 12-ounce can or bottle of beer
• 1.5-ounces of distilled liquors
• 1, 5-ounce glass of wine
Just what do the terms “heavy” or “casual” drinker really mean? These labels define the number of drinks consumed within a specific time.
Chronic or “heavy” drinking for women means consuming more than eight drinks in a week. For men, this number is defined as drinking more than 16 drinks in a week.
“Casual drinking for women means drinking one alcoholic beverage per day. For men, “casual” drinking includes consuming one alcoholic beverage a day.
Blood Alcohol Content
Blood alcohol content (BAC) measures what level of alcohol is currently in someone’s bloodstream. If you have a BAC of .30, that means that .3% of your blood is alcohol. A BAC level can depend on how many drinks you consume, and how long it takes you to finish your drinks as well as your own body weight.
Signs of Alcohol Withdrawal
There are many signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal that you might have noticed in a chronic drinker. These symptoms might seem temporary and only have an immediate consequence. Some of these symptoms might include:
Distorted or Blurry Vision
Drinking will make your pupils dilated and operate at a much slower speed. This can reduce your eye’s capability to adjust for brightness and shadows. Those experiencing alcohol withdrawal won’t be able to adapt to any oncoming lighting changes.
Blood Shot Eyes
Alcohol can dehydrate your body and your eyes will look red and tired. When you have increased levels of alcohol in your system, your blood vessels can become dilated and start to look red and inflamed on your eye’s surface. Alcohol will also trigger the vessels in the whites of your eye to become enlarged.
You might think that drinking will help stimulate your sleep. Alcohol will, however, obstruct your body’s ability to regulate your sleep system to induce any sleep or stimulate your sleep homeostasis. Alcohol also interrupts a good night’s sleep because it will relax your upper airway muscles and create a snoring symphony for you and anyone near you.
Seizures occur if a brain increases its electrical activity because too many chemicals are attacking it. Seizures are the source of additional complications such as low blood sugar and that can result from drinking.
Alcohol can alter your serotonin level or “feel good” hormones. Alcohol will also increase your heath rate while reducing your blood sugar. The end result is that you may feel some panic or anxiety attacks.
Mixed Up Speech
If alcohol begins to enter your system, your brain will slow down its reflexes and abilities to time any movements. Drinking will also kill a body’s production of glutamate that stimulates excitement and energy. When this happens, a drinker can begin to slow down their speech or even slur words.
Drinking alcohol enlarges your skin’s blood vessels and increases your heart rate. This triggers more perspiration. Your body will most likely respond with either excessive sweating immediately or long after the drinker is done drinking and is in bed.
When someone’s stomach endures too much alcohol, their stomach will produce more than their regular amount of stomach acid. This results in an ongoing sensation of nausea and queasiness.
These stomach complications will create more health problems for you like gastritis, internal bleeding, or ulcers. High levels of stomach acid might also cause stomach cancer.
Alcoholism is defined as a “disease” because it will alter the genetic makeup and function of your body’s most important organ – your brain. Your brain’s primary areas include the limbic system, cerebral cortex, and cerebellum.
Alcohol withdrawal will shrink these areas that control your decision-making functions as well as your mobility.
If you’re trying to plan into the long term, drinking has no positive outlook for you. Other complications from the signs of alcohol withdrawal include kidney and liver damage.
Alcohol will diminish our ability to filter any damaging substances through our blood. High alcohol levels will also diminish hormones that can facilitate kidney functions. Too much alcohol dehydrates our bodies and impairs those cells that are necessary for these organs to do their job.
If you see the signs of alcohol withdrawal from your loved one, you should act now. Call your doctor and ask them for further guidance recognizing the signs of alcohol withdrawal. They can also advise you on the best ways to develop a treatment plan that will avoid any relapses.
You can also check our website on how to find rehab centers that will help you and your family members today. Educate yourself now and then you can end this deadly destruction as soon as possible.