The physical signs you're drinking too much booze from bruising easily to tingling fingers

THE CORONAVIRUS pandemic has been tough on everyone and many people have coped with the stress of lockdowns by indulging in a glass or two of wine.

If you've built up a tolerance to alcohol then it could be difficult to spot the signs of when you've had too much to drink.

Dr Michael Levy, author ofTake Control of Your Drinking, said there are many reasons as to why people could develop a drinking problem.

He said this could be determined by many things including genetic, psychological, and social factors.

"I tend to think that genetics are extremely important as it is clear that alcohol problems run in families and having biological relatives
who have alcohol problems puts a person at a much higher risk of developing an alcohol use disorder.

"So often, a person with a heightened biological risk encounters psychosocial stress, which sets the wheels into motion to develop the disorder", he said.

With that in mind he said people need to address their drinking issues.

Dr Luke Pratsides, lead GP at Numan revealed what physical signs could start to appear if you're drinking too much.

He said that it's "dangerous" to become dependent on booze, and that it can lead to other conditions such as cancer.

Here's what to look out for.

Bruising easily

Dr Pratsides said drinking too much can do damage to the liver and can stop it from performing to its full capabilities.

He explained that one of the main functions of the liver is to produce chemicals known as clotting factors.

These are what produce normal blood coagulation, this he said can lead to large bruises from small bumps.

Changes in skin

We've all looked a little washed out after a night on the booze, but if you're drinking all the time then your skin could start to look yellow – this Dr Pratsides said, could be due to liver damage.

Research has shown that Brits increased their alcohol intake by five units a week during the third lockdown, with the average Brit having 14 units a week, research from Reassured found.

With that in mind Dr Pratsides said that long term alcohol abuse can dampen the immune system and reduce the body’s ability to heal and fight infection, which can lead to chronic skin ulceration and skin infections.

He added: "'In advanced alcoholic liver damage due to alcohol, known as cirrhosis, the liver can no longer function as normal and the skin can turn yellow due to the build up of a yellow pigment called bilirubin in the blood that is usually filtered out of the blood by a healthy functioning liver."

Stomach problems

After a heavy night on the booze, you could have an upset stomach.

Dr Pratsides said if you drink too much then you will produce more stomach acid.

He said symptoms could be acid reflux or heartburn and that over time you could also develop stomach ulcers.

Weight changes

Most alcoholic drinks are laden with sugar, so if you're drinking too much then you could also be piling on the pounds.

Dr Pratsides said that alcohol can also stimulate hunger – causing people to overconsume.

He added that in extreme forms of alcoholism, weight loss is also possible as people can sometimes lose any interest in food.

It's also possible that you could develop liver cirrhosis and gut damage and become less able to absorb and process nutrients.

Bacterial infections

Another expert, Dr Sanjay Mehta, GP at The London General Practice said that drinking too much has a bad impact on your immune system.

This, he said can make you more susceptible to bacterial infections as your body isn't functioning at its highest level.

Numbness or tingling

One key sign of alcohol dependence, Dr Mehta said, is a change in sensation.

He added: "This is known as alcoholic neuropathy and is when certain types of nerves are damaged due to alcohol excess, resulting in decreased sensation of the hands and feet, as well as unsteadiness", he explained.

"It occurs due to the peripheral nerves that transmit signals between the body and the brain via the spinal cord being damaged by sustained alcohol excess."

If you think you might have a problem, there are ways you can get help and Dr Levy said there are some people who can successfully stop drinking on their own.

He said: "However, others will need the support of professional
treatment to be successful.

"This is particularly true for people with a more severe form of the disorder, who may need to be medically detoxified to rid their bodies of alcohol, and those who have other psychological problems in addition to their problem with alcohol."

Where to get help and advice

  • For confidential advice, tips and online tools, see You can talk to a professional adviser by online chat or over the phone or find a list of support services either online or local to you.
  • Drinkaware urges anyone worried about their drinking, or someone else’s, to call Drinkline on 0300 123 1110.

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