Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

AUD can affect people of all ages including adolescents. Symptoms are different for everyone, though common threads exist. These include:

  • Increase in amount of alcohol that is being consumed to try to reach same effects
  • Inability to stop or limit drinking despite associated problems
  • Significant amount of time doing activities to obtain or use alcohol
  • Craving or urge to use alcohol
  • Repeated home, school, or work problems
  • Difficulty in relationships with family members, friends, and coworkers
  • Missing previously favored activities in order to drink alcohol or recover from alcohol
  • Alcohol use even if it creates physically unsafe situations or leads to legal trouble
  • Alcohol use that continues even when it causes or worsens health problems

Dependence may also cause physical symptoms (withdrawal) when alcohol is stopped. Withdrawal may cause:

  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures that may result from delirium tremens (DTs)

Complications Associated with AUD

Complications of AUD cover a wide range of personal, family, social, and health problems, such as:

  • Accidents and injury—including motor vehicle accidents and falls
  • Violence, murder, and suicide
  • Domestic violence
  • Family problems
  • Failed relationships
  • Lost jobs
  • Problems with the law, including drunk driving arrests and jail time

Some common physical problems associated with AUD include:

  • Red palms, flushed face
  • Spidery veins showing through the skin around the umbilicus and on the face
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes and/or skin—jaundice, which indicates liver problems
  • Enlarged liver and/or spleen
  • Nausea, bloating, indigestion, and ulcers
  • Pancreatitis
  • Easy bruising and/or bleeding
  • Peripheral neuropathy or nerve damage, which can cause muscle weakness, numbness, or tingling
  • Impaired memory and cognitive function
  • Infertility in both men and women
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Increased susceptibility to infections and cancer
Organs That Can Be Damaged by Alcoholism
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Medical complications include:


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