Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: Signs, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Following an acute dose of alcohol, extracellular levels of serotonin are significantly higher (Bare et al., 1998) in the nucleus accumbens and ventral hippocampus in male rats. Male Wistar rats developed tolerance to a second dose of 24 h after the first dose, reflected by a decrease in extracellular serotonin levels in the ventral hippocampus (Bare et al., 1998). However, male alcohol-preferring rats exhibited a similar magnitude of the increase in extracellular serotonin levels in the ventral hippocampus following both the first and second doses (Thielen et al., 2002).

A person’s tolerance may also change over time due to a decline in body mass in older adults. This may result in higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood and more significant effects from drinking. It is possible for a person’s tolerance to certain ingredients to change over time, and an intolerance may just happen suddenly due to genetics.

When to contact a doctor

It’s important to understand the differences between alcohol allergies and alcohol intolerance. While alcohol intolerance is a digestive system disorder, an alcohol allergy is an immune system response to the ingredients in the beverages, such as chemicals, grains or preservatives. If you experience a mild allergic reaction, over-the-counter oral antihistamines may be enough to treat it. If you develop any signs of a severe reaction, you should receive one or more doses of epinephrine. It’s available in preloaded syringes, known as epinephrine auto-injectors (e.g., EpiPen). If your doctor prescribes an epinephrine auto-injector, you should carry it with you at all times.

alcohol intolerance

See your doctor if you begin to engage in behaviors that are signs of alcohol use disorder or if you think that you may have a problem with alcohol. You should also consider attending a local AA meeting or participating in a self-help program such as Women for Sobriety. Some people may drink alcohol to the point that it causes problems, but they’re not physically dependent on alcohol.

Are you allergic or intolerant to alcohol?

If you continue to drink alcohol and suffer from alcohol intolerance, this is likely to cause liver damage. Dr Deborah Lee of Dr Fox Online Pharmacy stresses that, if you ever have any of the allergy symptoms after drinking alcohol, you should call 999 without delay. You need to get to the nearest A&E department as this can be a life-threatening medical emergency. Allergic reactions to alcohol can cause symptoms similar to alcohol intolerance, such as difficulty breathing, coughing, runny nose or stomach upset. These symptoms could be triggered by as little as one sip and are a result of your body creating antibodies against these allergens. “If you have this inherited genetic mutation and you drink alcohol regularly, there’s a greater probability that you can develop these types of cancers of the upper GI tract,” Kuo said.