Is it possible to be allergic to alcohol? Yes. People can have either an allergy to or intolerance of alcohol, both of which result in physical symptoms and can lead to serious consequences if not properly addressed. An alcohol allergy is different from an alcohol addiction. Someone with an allergy does not want to consume this drink, while someone with an addiction feels a craving to keep using despite the consequences.
Alcohol Allergies and Addiction
These types of allergies are not common, but they do exist. If you have a true allergy to drinking, you may have symptoms such as:
- Rash or hives
- Swelling in the face, lips, or tongue
- Difficulty breathing
- Abdominal pain
In some cases, the allergy can cause anaphylaxis, which is a dangerous, life-threatening reaction that requires immediate emergency medical attention.
Alcohol intolerance occurs when the digestive symptom is not able to process an ingredient in the drink. An intolerance can be due to ingredients such as gluten, grain, preservatives, or certain chemicals. A person with an intolerance to sulfites or histamines may react to alcoholic beverages as well.
Signs of an alcohol intolerance include:
- Red, flushed face
- Racing heartbeat
- Stuffy nose
- Low blood pressure
- Hot flashes
An intolerance can also cause a person to experience worsening symptoms of existing conditions such as asthma or seasonal allergies. Those with seasonal allergies often report they have symptoms that are more severe after consumption, such as nasal discharge, itching, or sneezing.
If someone has this type of addiction, they will not experience the symptoms of an allergy but may develop other symptoms that are also dangerous and life-threatening. If you or someone you love has signs of alcohol addiction, just like with an allergy, you will need to avoid it altogether.
Seeing a loved one drink to the point where they are blacking out or becoming angry or violent are signs of a problem. There are other signs that can indicate an alcohol use disorder, such as the following:
- Needing to drink large amounts of alcohol
- Isolating from family or friends or avoiding social activities
- Lack of care in appearance and poor hygiene habits
- Missing work or other obligations due to drinking
- Having legal or financial problems
A person may also suffer from alcohol withdrawal and exhibit serious symptoms that can also be fatal. A person withdrawing from alcohol may have nausea, vomiting, or even seizures.
Treatment is Available
There is no cure for an alcohol allergy or intolerance. If the allergy or intolerance is known, it is important to be aware of substances that may contain alcohol. There are ways to alleviate or treat symptoms if they do occur, but the only way to prevent an allergic reaction to alcohol is to avoid drinking in the first place.
If you are struggling with an addiction, help is available. Anabranch Recovery Center in Terre Haute offers a variety of options, such as residential treatment programs that can help put those struggling on the path to lasting sobriety. Other treatments for an alcohol addiction may include counseling, medication, 12-step meetings, and treating any co-occurring disorders.
If you or a loved one are in need of help for an addiction, Anabranch Recovery Center can help. Our skilled team of professionals can guide you to recovery and design a program to meet your individual needs. To find out more, please contact us today.