Alcoholism, which is currently referred to as a severe alcohol use disorder (AUD), is characterized by a chronic compulsion to consume alcohol that takes over most elements of a person’s life. They are unable to stop drinking without cravings and withdrawal symptoms emerging. These examples demonstrate that although various typologies use different defining criteria, they often identify similar subgroups of alcoholics. Alcoholism is a treatable disease, with many treatment programs and approaches available to support alcoholics who have decided to get help.

For many, this is a problem that will keep us tossing and turning at night, leading to alcohol affecting our sleep. Alcoholic myopathy can affect appearance by decreasing muscle mass, making arms and legs appear thin and weak. ‘Alcoholic face’ or ‘puffy face’ is a result of the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Alcohol disrupts iron metabolism, a major factor in PCT, a rare skin condition causing fragility, blistering, and scarring. While alcohol isn’t the sole cause, studies find 70% of PCT patients have significant alcohol intake. Alcohol depletes essential nutrients like B vitamins, crucial for healthy nerve function.

Causes of Alcohol Use Disorder

AUD in women often leads to inflammation of the liver, which is also known as alcoholic hepatitis. Women who struggle with alcohol use disorder are also physical characteristics of alcoholics more likely to die from cirrhosis than men in the same situation. When estrogen and alcohol are combined, it causes a greater risk of liver damage.

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While many people may use the term “alcoholic” to describe someone who has an alcohol addiction, the term is offensive and outdated. It’s more appropriate to say “a person with alcohol use disorder” or “substance use disorder.” Following a description of the term “alcoholic,” this article will use the more appropriate terminology. Many people with AUD do recover, but setbacks are common among people in treatment. Seeking professional help early can prevent a return to drinking. Behavioral therapies can help people develop skills to avoid and overcome triggers, such as stress, that might lead to drinking.


People with acquired inebriety often have histories of physical disorders, particularly dyspepsia (i.e., indigestion), bad nutrition, and exhaustion from unhygienic living conditions or stressful work environments. Conversely, hereditary causes include constitutional conditions, such as distinct neurotic and psychopathic disorders that often are traceable to ancestors. It would seem logical to begin a discussion of the history of typology with E.M.

physical characteristics of alcoholics

Physical signs of liver damage include yellow skin and eyes (jaundice) and swollen legs and ankles. Other possible symptoms are dark urine, abdominal pain, itchy skin, and chronic fatigue. Some women drink in the morning, claiming that it provides relief from a hangover.

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There have been studies that indicate AUD and its damage progress much more rapidly among women than men. However, these studies have been unable to determine why that is. These studies have also been unable to provide a solution to this problem.

  • The links between alcohol and various types of cancer are well documented.
  • Many young adult alcoholics are likely college students who are away from home for the first time, and who are surrounded by a culture that promotes and encourages excessive social drinking.
  • “If you can have programs that get people into treatment at an earlier stage in their addictioin, you can prevent a lot of really serious problems later on,” Volpicelli said.
  • It can lead to significant problems in a person’s personal and professional life.
  • By Toketemu Ohwovoriole

    Toketemu has been multimedia storyteller for the last four years.

As this review has outlined, throughout the past 150 years, researchers and clinicians have developed numerous typological classifications of alcoholism. These classifications have distinguished alcoholism subtypes based on a multitude of defining characteristics, including drinking patterns, consequences of drinking, personality characteristics, and coexisting psychiatric disorders. As shown in table 2, similar alcoholic subtypes can be categorized within two broad groups, called the Apollonian and Dionysian types, based on recurrent characteristics of the drinkers. Cirrhosis of the liver
Our liver filters out harmful substances, cleans our blood, stores energy and aids in digestion. Too much alcohol can be toxic to liver cells, causing dehydration and permanent scarring—which ultimately affects the blood flow. With excessive alcohol consumption, this important organ can’t metabolize Vitamin D, which could develop into a deficiency.

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