The American Medical Association developed the following list for health symptoms of alcoholism. Sieda Behavioral Health and Treatment Services staff want you to stay aware of the symptoms. If an older person shows several symptoms, there is a high probability the person has alcoholism.

  • Bruises, abrasions, and scars that suggest frequent falls or fights
  • Cigarette burns on fingers
  • Flushed faces
  • Jerky eye movement or loss of central vision
  • Damages to nerves causing numbness and tingling
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Swelling or fluid retention

The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment includes other symptoms.

  • Sleep complaints, unusual fatigue, apparent sedation
  • Seizures, malnutrition, muscle wasting
  • Unexplained complaints about chronic pain
  • Incontinence, difficulty urinating
  • Poor hygiene and self-neglect
  • Unusual restlessness and agitation
  • Complaints of blurred vision or dry mouth
  • Unexplained nausea and vomiting
  • Change in eating habits
  • Slurred speech
  • Tremor, uncoordinated, shuffling gait

Unfortunately, many of these signs and symptoms overlap and mimic problems people experience just in general as they age. The signs are also very similar to what people in the early stages of dementia experience. The stigma associated with addiction problems in older persons leads to denial and makes it difficult to determine the extent of dependency.

If you recognize these symptoms in someone you know, call Sieda Behavioral Health and Treatment Services at 641-683-6747.