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Signs & Symptoms

There are a range of side effects associated with excessive drinking. Signs of misuse or addiction will vary depending on a person’s physiology, how much alcohol they consume, and for how long. Behaviors may also indicate problematic drinking. Some common signs and symptoms are:

Short-term side effects
  • Slurred speech
  • Vision impairment
  • Lack of coordination
  • Extreme shifts in mood
  • Memory lapses or temporary blackouts
  • Slowed breathing
  • Needing increasing amounts of alcohol to feel intoxicated
  • Physical and emotional discomfort when not drinking
Long-term side effects
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Stroke
  • Liver damage
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Respiratory infections
  • Nerve damage
  • Ulcers
  • A weakened immune system
Behavioral signs
  • Drinking secretly or alone
  • Choosing drinking over other activities and responsibilities
  • Turning to alcohol when sad or stressed
  • Feeling disconnected from friends and family
  • Change in appearance or social group
  • Trying unsuccessfully to reduce or stop drinking
  • Feeling guilt or shame after drinking

Learn More About Alcohol
Treatment & Resources Learn more
About Alcohol Learn more
Facts & Risk Factors Learn more

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