Alcohol Abuse

How to Spot an Alcoholic Face

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Excessive alcohol use has many negative effects on an alcoholic, including physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms. Probably the most obvious sign that a person is an alcoholic is the changes on the face that often occur after prolonged alcohol misuse. 

This article will expound on the different alcoholic face changes that may indicate that someone is addicted to alcohol. It’s important to mention that although the symptoms may be an indication that a person is an alcoholic, it is in no way definitive. Refrain from making accusations or confronting anyone before you have confirmed in a gentle way that the person is actually using alcohol. 

Alcoholic Face 

What does an alcoholic face look like?. Alcohol face has several distinct features, from the puffiness of the skin to the color of the eyes. You may already be aware of alcoholic face swelling. Still, people’s faces swell up for many reasons, so you need knowledge of more symptoms in order to determine whether or not the person you suspect is actually an alcoholic. Here are some of the physical signs of an alcoholic face. 

  1. Puffy face- The reason alcoholics develop an alcohol-bloated face is that alcohol causes water retention (the inability of the body to rid itself of water), which causes swelling. A puffy face from alcohol looks like an obviously puffy, bloated face.
  2. Red face- This is the result of widened blood vessels in the face due to excessive alcohol consumption. After some time, the damage can become permanent, which means that the alcoholic always has a flushed appearance.
  3. Spider veins- The veins on the face are clearly visible, usually near the nose and cheeks. This is because alcohol widens the blood vessels, sometimes breaking them entirely, making them starkly visible on the face.
  4. Dark circles under the eyes- This may occur due to unhealthy sleeping patterns or due to dehydration of the skin from alcohol.
  5. Jaundice or pale skin- Excessive alcohol consumption harms the liver, causing a yellowing of the skin known as jaundice. This can also affect the eyes, leaving them with a yellowish coloring. In the short term, alcoholics may have bloodshot eyes due to irritation of the blood vessels in the eyes post-drinking.
  6. Wrinkles- Younger people may look older than they are due to wrinkles, sagging skin, and aging lines that change the appearance of the face. 

Is an Alcoholic Face Enough to Prove Alcoholism?

Although observing the signs of an alcoholic face may seem to be sufficient proof that the person is an alcoholic, it’s worth mentioning that this is not necessarily the case. You can look out for other signs of changes in behavior, overall appearance, and mental capacity to determine whether or not a loved one may be struggling with alcoholism. Below are some other signs of alcoholism to look out for.

  1. No hangover- Alcoholics have developed a tolerance to alcohol, so they do not experience hangovers from the amount of alcohol that others would experience hangovers after consuming.
  2. Mood swings- Drinking leaves alcoholics euphoric, with an overall sense of confidence, well-being, and a lack of natural inhibitions. As soon as the alcohol exits the body, withdrawal symptoms set in, and the addict feels down and reclusive.
  3. Heavy drinking- This may show up as binge drinking, heavily drinking when the occasion doesn’t call for it, and drinking at odd times, such as first thing in the morning or before going to sleep.
  4. Neglect of physical appearance- Personal grooming and hygiene may take a backseat in the life of an addict, especially since when they are drunk, they cannot care for their physical appearance or personal needs effectively.
  5. Loss of interest- This usually manifests as a loss of interest in hobbies, activities, academic or professional pursuits, and relationships previously enjoyed. Their performance at work may suffer, and they may isolate themselves from family and friends.
  6. Weight loss or weight gain- Drinking alcohol may make alcoholics hungrier, causing them to eat more and gain weight. On the other hand, some people eat less when drinking alcohol, and they lose muscle due to the metabolism changes alcohol causes, causing them to lose weight. Any sudden change in weight either way may be an indication of alcohol misuse.
  7. Excessive sweating- Alcohol consumption can cause sweating even when the addict is not exerting themselves physically.
  8. Unhealthy sleeping patterns- Excessive alcohol drinking can cause the addict to crash and sleep many hours at random intervals and then experience insomnia during regular sleeping hours.
  9. Withdrawal symptoms- Feeling jittery, experiencing shaky hands, irritability, and more, are all indications of withdrawal symptoms that alcoholics feel if they haven’t had alcohol for a period of time.

Remember that even if you identify with many of these signs, it is recommended that you reach out to a professional mental health counselor to help you determine whether or not your loved one is an alcoholic and what you can do about it.

How to Help an Alcoholic

As the loved one of a person you suspect may be an alcoholic, you may be wondering how you can best support them. Many people feel inclined to protect the addict, helping them lie, covering up for their shortcomings, and picking up the pieces of their disorganized lives. This would include giving excuses for why the alcoholic did not show up to a family event or a co-worker filling in for missed work.

While this may seem noble, these are all harmful enabling behaviors. They allow the addict to continue indulging in their addiction, instead of holding them accountable, and forcing them to take responsibility for their excessive drinking. In other words, helping an alcoholic would not include allowing them to deny their drinking issues to themselves and others.

Rather, the loved ones of an alcoholic would be wise to educate themselves on alcoholism. Many resources offer vital knowledge on what motivates alcoholism, how an addict has lost control over their ability to control his alcohol drinking, and how to best support an alcoholic as a loved one.

It is also worthwhile reaching out to a mental health professional, addiction specialist, or reputable rehab facility for guidance and information, so that you can immediately point the addict in the right direction if they reach out to you for assistance.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

At Avenues Recovery Center, we specialize in helping addicts undergo medical alcohol detox and residential treatment, finding their way to sobriety. The goal is to support every patient with one-on-one and group therapies so they can remain sober for the long term. Our staff are experts in the field of addiction, and they will do anything to help you recover. We are committed to delivering the highest level of care and support to every individual. Our caring and dedicated staff use personalized treatment plans and a wide range of therapies to ensure optimal success. If you are serious about addiction recovery, reach out to us today to start your journey! We will be with you every step of the way towards the sober future you deserve.


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