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Alcoholic Nose: Understanding The Effect Of Alcohol On Your Body

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What Is Alcoholic Nose?

young women learning about alcoholic nose“Alcoholic nose” is a slang term that is used to describe a red, bumpy, and swollen nose that is thought to be caused by a large amount of drinking. It is believed that this skin condition is only affected by those who have an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Alcohol use disorder is a medical condition that is defined by the unmanageable use of alcohol despite negative circumstances. 

The term “alcoholic nose” is an informal term that refers to an enlarged purple nose that is caused by chronic alcohol abuse. This condition is made known by W.C. Fields, which is an American actor from the early 20th century known for heavy drinking referred to as the bumps on his bulbous nose known as “gin blossoms.” 

“Alcoholic nose” is a medical term also known as rhinophyma. Generally, it’s a rare condition that affects Caucasian males between the age gap of 50 to 70 years old. It’s also an advanced stage of rosacea. Rosacea is identified by reddening and thickening of the skin, pitting and scarring, broken blood vessels, and disfigurement or bulging of the nose.

While the thickening and firming of the discoloration and skin are most commonly viewed on a person’s alcohol nose, the symptoms might appear elsewhere, such as the following: 

  • Forehead
  • Cheeks
  • Eyelids
  • Ears
  • Chin

Formerly, rhinophyma has been falsely linked to alcohol consumption, but there hasn’t been proven evidence that excessive alcohol use is in any way related to rhinophyma. Instead, the wrong association has created a stigma for individuals with rhinophyma, along with a host of thoughtless casual terms, such as the following:

  • Whiskey nose
  • Drinker’s nose
  • Alcoholic nose
  • Gin blossom
  • Potato nose

Signs and Symptoms of an Alcohol Nose

Since acne rosacea is the trailblazer to rhinophyma, generally individuals experience a few or several of the rosacea symptoms first. The signs and symptoms of an alcohol nose are:

  • Bumps on the skin, especially around the nose
  • Thickening of the skin on or around the nose
  • Broken blood vessels
  • Enlarged pores
  • Oily skin 

However, rosacea and rhinophyma can affect more of an individual’s skin. The long-term skin condition can change an individual’s physical appearance and increase the person’s risk of developing depression and anxiety as a result. 

Individuals who live with rosacea and rhinophyma report that it can impact their social life. Besides regularly seeing a dermatologist, individuals are recommended to visit a mental health professional and/or even join a support group.

What Is The Difference Between Rhinophyma and Rosacea?

The common skin disease, rosacea tends to cause redness on an individual’s cheeks and nose first but it can be spread to the chin, forehead, back, chest, and neck. Symptoms tend to happen in stages and progress. Overall, the progression can include the following:

  • Edema is the swelling due to the buildup of fluid that is generally on the upper eyelids, forehead, cheeks, and nose
  • A stinging or burning sensation on the skin
  • Raised patches on the skin, plaques
  • Visibly broken blood vessels
  • Pus-filled pimples or bumps
  • Blushing or flushing easily
  • Scaly, rough, or dry skin
  • Persistent redness
  • Thickened skin
  • Oily skin 
  • Lesions

Even though the exact cause of rosacea isn’t known, doctors have suggested that it is environmental or genetic factors that likely can make individuals more susceptible to this condition. There isn’t a cure for rosacea but there are several methods individuals can do to prevent flare-ups, including knowing what actually triggers them. 

Factors that can assist in making rosacea symptoms much worse include:

  • Exposing skin to extreme weather – such as cold or hot temperatures, or for example, strong winds
  • Eating spicy foods, or hot (in temperature) drinks or food
  • Participating in strenuous exercise or activity 
  • Using harsh facial products or cleaners
  • Experiencing anxiety or stress
  • Taking hot baths
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Being in the sun

Rhinophyma is the final and most intense stage of acne rosacea. It can manifest as a thickening skin around or on the nose. If it is left untreated, it can cause medical problems, including respiratory issues that can make it challenging for a person to breathe. 

Treatment for Alcoholism at New Directions for Women

It’s possible for addiction treatment for alcoholism to take a lengthier period for one person over the next. It’s critical to keep in mind that there is no miracle cure for addiction. 

One of our options that consider alcoholic support in an environment that is free of substances is intensive sober living. Sober living is a California program that is beneficial to reinforcing healthy life lessons while consolidating new sober behaviors. 

It combines a sober location to call home while emphasizing the importance of staying connected to essential family members and friends in recovery. Intensive sober living is similar to residential treatment, which takes place after detox, support groups, and individual/group therapy. It’s important to keep in mind that these programs are more available in this treatment. 

Intensive sober living adds to patients practicing sober behaviors until they become habits. Restricting substances from the premises, remove any immediate temptation. Relapse isn’t something that doesn’t happen after a while. However, it’s always hardest at the beginning. When there is more time to focus on the sober journey ahead, the future begins to look that much brighter. 

New Directions for Women Can Help You Overcome Alcoholism

Whether you decide to engage in alcoholism treatment for your family or yourself, it is never too late to begin getting help for a substance use disorder. Here at New Directions for Women, we can assist you in overcoming alcoholism and working through its emotional, mental, and physical effects of it. It is important to remember that alcoholism affects a person’s mind, soul, and body. 

Our addiction treatment programs are designed just for women to have the availability and get started on the healing process right away. Every program can assist you in managing your needs accurately. If you or someone you know has a loved one with addiction, contact us today.


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