A lot of alcohol drinkers experience random bruises that seem to appear overnight. You might expect to wake up in the morning with a hangover that includes dry mouth, headache, and upset stomach if you really tied one on, however, bruises are often a surprise. You wonder how you got the bruise. Did you fall? Get hit? Bump into something?
What people may not know is that alcohol makes you more vulnerable to becoming bruised. Therefore, it may not be the tripping, falling or bumping that you may have thought.
What is a Bruise?
A bruise occurs when blood is spilled beneath the skin’s surface. When this happens, bruises are purple or red at first, and then they fade as the blood is absorbed into the body again. Usually, a bruise appears when you have collided with something hard. This can happen when walking into furniture, falling or being hit.
Some people bruise more quickly than others, sometimes when there has seemingly been no trauma to the skin. Bleeding disorders can cause bruising to occur, but if there is no family history of disease, something else may be causing bruises to develop – like abuse of alcohol.
Alcohol and Your Blood
When ingesting alcohol, the blood vessels in the body expand and relax. The expansion of the vessels increases the flow of blood in the body – this includes the vessels that are near the surface of the skin. When there is more blood circulating, there is a higher chance of blood escaping if there is a rupture in a vessel. Even a small bump can cause a rupture in the blood vessels, leading to a red or purple-colored bruise.
The Liver and Bruising
The liver is the organ in your body that processes all the alcohol you ingest. This is a vital organ that processes the blood that flows through your body, cleaning it of toxins, and then releasing it back into the bloodstream. Your liver continually stores about 10 percent of the blood in your body, so when you drink alcohol, your liver must work harder to process toxins.
The liver does a good job at this, but it has trouble keeping up if heavy quantities of alcohol have been ingested. This is when you may become intoxicated and feel the effects of alcohol. The liver can become damaged and swell, causing cells to die and scarring to develop. This scarring keeps the liver from doing its job – which includes managing blood cells.
Your liver helps the blood in your body clot and move evenly in the blood vessels. When it is damaged and can’t filter alcohol properly, bloodstream health will decline. The decline of healthy blood can lead to bruising.
Does This Signal a Larger Problem?
Severe liver damage occurs with users that drink heavily for several years. The liver will continually be damaged by alcohol abuse, eventually resulting in failure. Excessive bruising that seems to occur for no reason may indicate that the liver is beginning to fail, and medical attention may be needed.
Can Bruising be Managed?
Bruising after drinking alcohol can be very alarming, especially when the bruise appears large and you have no memory of how it got there. However, you do not have to deal with bruises on your skin and causing others to look at you with worry.
Protect the Liver
By protecting the liver, you can keep yourself from appearing bruised and battered. One way to effectively do this is by limiting the amount of alcohol you drink or finding help for alcohol use disorder. This ensures that the liver functions properly and can filter out the toxins in your body efficiently. Liver damage is commonly associated with drinking heavily, so make sure to keep your liver healthy so that it lasts for many years.
Symptoms That Affect You
Alcohol affects the brain, as well as other parts of the body, making changes that cause quitting alcohol to be difficult. Individuals may find that it is much more challenging than they imagined to curb the temptation to drink alcohol even for a day or so. These changes make thinking clearly more difficult and could cause you to miss commitments. You can also experience the following:
- Missing school, work, or social functions to drink
- Developing a tolerance to alcohol
- Craving alcoholic drinks
- Drinking upon waking and before bed
- Feelings of agitation when not drinking
- Continuing to drink alcohol despite consequences
- Engaging in dangerous activities while intoxicated
When Professional Help Is Needed
If you have tried to stop drinking in the past with no success, then it may be time to seek professional help. A certified substance abuse clinician or counselor can help you find out the underlying cause of your drinking and work with you in addressing the issue and curbing your addiction to alcohol. Family members may express concern about drinking habits and behaviors that you engage in while intoxicated.
Even if you do not feel as though drinking is a problem, the bruises may tell a different story. Be sure to keep an open mind and know that your family and friends care about you and your overall health. Coming to terms with an alcohol problem and the damaging effects it has had on your loved ones can be difficult. Yet it is a necessary part of the recovery process.
When detoxing by yourself fails, seek help from medical and addiction professionals that can monitor your detox and ease withdrawal symptoms. Your health will be kept in check by medical professionals who are there to help you recover from your addiction. Staff members work closely with patients to ensure that a comprehensive treatment plan is developed, and recovery is successful.
When it comes to bruises and alcohol, it could be a simple bump that has been forgotten due to the effect alcohol has on your memory. However, it could also be due to liver damage that makes the blood clot less and become more susceptible to escaping from damaged blood vessels. If you notice bruising, be aware that it could be an indicator of a more significant issue.
Alcoholism Causes Symptoms That You Can Feel
Unfortunately, consuming alcohol can change the circuitry in our brain. The changes can make it extremely difficult to curb an alcohol habit, and you may find yourself attempting to cut back on drinking.
Because alcohol use disorder has such a firm grip on people, it can make it incredibly challenging to resist the urge to drink for more than a day or two. The changes in the brain brought upon by alcohol make clear thinking nearly impossible. It makes it hard to stick to commitments, even if you intend to do so.
Additionally, the inability to stop drinking can result in noticeable changes in the way you think and act. The Mayo Clinic highlights other symptoms of alcohol use disorder, which include:
- Using alcohol while engaged in other activities where drinking is dangerous
- When you need more alcohol to feel the same effects
- Ditching work or social obligations to drink
- Cravings for alcohol
- Drinking despite negative consequences
- Feeling nervous, nauseous, or sweaty when you don’t drink
The symptoms indicate that alcohol consumption has become a severe problem. Anyone that is experiencing a variety of these symptoms should seek out the help of medical professionals to gain control of their lives.