Alcohol can be a part of many occasions for a number of people, yet, it is not a secret that like drugs, alcohol may be addictive as well, and there is a concept of alcohol dependence, which may be both, psychological and physical.
According to the NSDUH, 14.4 million adults had AUD. This includes 9.2 million men and 5.3 million women. The statistics show that drinking alcohol may become an important, or sometimes the most important factor in those people’s lives and they feel powerless against alcohol.
Alcohol dependence or, let us call it “alcoholism” is the most severe form of a drinking problem, which describes a strong desire to drink, and which often appears to be extremely hard to control.
Using alcohol plays a big role in the day of the life of an alcohol-dependent person, which might lead to building up experiencing withdrawal symptoms and physical tolerance if they are trying to stop.
For example, if there are people who need or love to share a bottle of wine with their partners most evenings of the week, or regularly go for a few pints after a working day just to unwind, they are likely to be at a level that could affect their long-term health. This means there are different degrees of alcohol dependence and they do not always involve excessive levels of drinking.
You could also be becoming dependent on alcohol. If it is too difficult for you to relax or enjoy yourself without having a drink, there is a chance that you could have become psychologically dependent on alcohol. Physical dependence can also follow, that is your body shows withdrawal symptoms when your blood alcohol level falls (sweating, shaking and nausea)
Alcohol Abuse or Dependence?
The terms alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence are often used interchangeably, when in fact medically speaking, there is a clear distinction between the two. Both involve the serious misuse of alcohol likely to cause real damage to health and wellbeing. But while people with alcohol abuse problems usually manage to carry on their lives with some semblance of normality, once dependence kicks in, the alcohol takes over.
Alcohol abuse refers to regular excessive drinking which has a more tangible negative effect on people’s lives. Examples of this include failing to fulfill work, family, or social obligations as a result of recurrent drinking; encounters with the law, or emergency services arising from excessive alcohol use or regularly combining alcohol with physically hazardous situations, such as driving or operating machinery.
If you are worried that you are abusing or misusing alcohol, West Valley Detox is here to help you.
As outlined above, when dependence sets in, alcohol takes over the central role in someone’s life and they usually end up giving up important activities and relationships because of their drinking. One of the early signs of dependence is when you need more alcohol to achieve the desired effect. As dependence gets more established, people end up spending most of their time thinking about alcohol or engaging in activities necessary to obtain, use, or recover from the effects of drinking. Then, as dependence takes over, people notice that they get the shakes if they do not have a drink. And so they simply have to keep drinking to avoid experiencing the withdrawal symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Dependence
If you are worried that you may be becoming alcohol dependent or are concerned about someone else's drinking, keep on reading the following warning signs and symptoms:
- Worrying about where your next drink is coming from and planning social, family, and work events around alcohol.
- Finding you have a compulsive need to drink and finding it hard to stop once you start.
- Waking up and drinking – or feeling the need to have a drink in the morning.
- Suffering from withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, shaking, and nausea, which stop once you drink alcohol.
If you are worried that you have any of these symptoms of alcohol dependence (and not only) Request a Free consultation with our team of professionals.
What Leads To Alcohol Dependence?
Usually, several various factors can lead to alcohol dependence. And in this section, WVD is telling you about some of the most common ones. Alcohol dependence can run in families. It’s partly down to your genes but is also influenced by your family’s attitudes to alcohol and the environment you grow up in. Stressful events, such as bereavement or losing a job, can also trigger heavy drinking, which can then lead to alcohol dependence.
People who are alcohol dependent have higher rates of other psychiatric disorders than people in the general population – particularly depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, and drug misuse. Often, people drink to try and reduce the symptoms (sometimes known as ‘self-medicating’), but in the long term alcohol makes these disorders worse because it interferes with the chemical balance in our brains.
Some people believe that there’s such a thing as an ‘addictive personality’ which leads to alcohol dependence. But there’s not much strong evidence to support this view.
Risk of Becoming Alcohol Dependent
Have you ever thought is there a way or how to reduce the risk of becoming alcohol dependent? We have separated some common and important ways to make it possible, go ahead if you are interested in:
Taking regular breaks from alcohol is the best way to lower your risk of becoming dependent on it. If you drink regularly, your body builds up a tolerance to alcohol. Tolerance is a physiological response we have to any drug: the more you consume, the more your body needs to have the same effect. Regular drinking induces certain enzymes in your liver that break up alcohol. If you drink heavily over weeks or months, levels of these enzymes go up, your tolerance builds and you need more alcohol to get the same effects.
Brain systems get tolerant to alcohol too, and although you may be able to walk a straight line after drinking quite a lot, this means the brain has adapted so that the next day the brain cells ‘expect’ alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and jitteriness occur, and you can find yourself drinking alcohol just to relieve that.
When you re drinking most days you can become psychologically dependent on alcohol too.
Breaking your drinking cycle is an important way to test for this kind of dependence. It can prevent your body from becoming accustomed to alcohol and help to lower or ‘reset’ your tolerance.