Alcoholism, which is also referred to as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is an addiction to alcohol. An individual with this condition has a physical and emotional dependency on consuming alcohol, even though it has detrimental consequences on their life. They often feel like they cannot function normally without alcohol, and do not know when or how to stop drinking. This can impact their family life, finances, health and job.


Alcohol abuse can affect your body from the inside and out in these ways:

  • It can cause fatigue and affect the short-term memory.
  • There is a much higher chance of developing irreversible and progressive conditions like hepatitis and cirrhosis.
  • Excessive drinking is likely to raise blood pressure.
  • It increases the risk of mental illnesses and makes existing mental conditions worse.
  • It can increase nervous system problems like dementia, confusion or disordered thinking.
  • Long-term alcohol abuse can eventually cause the blood vessels around the pancreas to swell, leading to pancreatitis.
  • There is a higher risk of developing several cancers, including cancer of the mouth, liver, colon, rectum, breast, prostate, and pharynx.
  • There is a higher risk of damaged heart muscles, heart failure or stroke.
  • There is a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.


People who suffer from alcohol use disorder may experience the following symptoms and behaviour:

  • Not being able to limit how much alcohol is consumed.
  • Drinking more to feel the effects of alcohol.
  • Cutting back on recreational activities that were once important.
  • Experiencing a strong urge or desire to consume alcohol.
  • Making excuses to drink.
  • Storing alcohol in unlikely places.
  • Experiencing temporary black outs or short-term memory loss.
  • Drinking alone or in secret.
  • Showing signs of irritability or extreme mood swings.
  • Continuing to drink even though it causes problems in your social, professional and financial life.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, shaking and nausea when alcohol is not consumed, and drinking to avoid these symptoms.

Recovery SA


Seek professional help from our team of experts for the treatment of alcoholism before a situation worsens. The sooner the situation is addressed, the sooner recovery can commence. If you suspect a loved one who is addicted to alcohol, or if you are ready to take that step to a brand new life, call us on 073 470 4649.

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