The risk of becoming addicted to alcohol is largely determined by the duration of drinking and that’s why it is hard to stop abusing substances. This is primarily about the experience, that is, about how long a person consumes alcoholic beverages during his life. The fact is that over time, the body adapts, begins to produce enzymes that quickly metabolize alcohol (that is, break down it), and the so-called alcohol tolerance increases.
That is if earlier small doses caused euphoria, pleasure, and a little more – led to a gag reflex, then over time a person can drink a lot, but there will be no gag reflex. In this case, alcohol ceases to negatively affect a person instantly.
This prompts you to drink more and more, and the deep dangerous processes in the body, meanwhile, go on, not stopping. Such tolerance to alcohol characterizes the formation of the first or second stage of dependence.
If we talk about people who drink every Friday for 10 – 15 years, then this, of course, is also an addiction. After all, as a rule, “alcoholic” Friday smoothly goes on Saturday and ends already on Sunday.
In general, any addiction, whether nicotine or alcohol, begins with the first tests, then – use according to the situation, on occasion, and then it becomes a habit, accompanied by entertainment, positive emotions.
Situational consumption usually becomes systematic. And even if a person, for example, changes his social circle, those with whom he drank on Fridays are no longer around, the habit remains. And then he drinks at home, without the company.
The first symptom of alcohol dependence is a symptom of loss of quantitative control or dose control. It manifests itself in an increase in craving for alcohol as it is taken. In a slightly drunk healthy person, the need for alcohol is reduced. That is, you want to drink the second glass less than the first, and the third – less than the second.
The addict is the opposite. He wants to drink the second glass more than the first, the third – more than the second, and the fourth – more than the third. As a result, control over the dose is lost, and each time a person gets drunk to severe states of intoxication.
The second sign is an increase in intolerance. In other words, more alcohol is required for intoxication than before.
The third is the lack of so-called gateway mechanisms. That is, when taking excessive doses of alcohol, a healthy person feels bad, he is sick and vomits, as with any poisoning. In addicts, this mechanism is absent, and they can drink until blue. When alcohol ends, they are only concerned about one thing: where to get more.
The fourth – a sign of altered reactivity – has two sequential manifestations. First, during intoxication (more correctly, alcohol excess), the patient’s personality changes qualitatively. It can be spiteful, aggressive, or sentimental, tearful, but in any case unpleasant for others.
Professionals say that alcohol abuse within the norm becomes the problem of the person himself, and abuse within the framework of alcoholism becomes the problem of others.
“The morning after” the alcoholic does not remember anything, as if he went to bed early. Alcoholic amnesia is the second manifestation of a sign of altered reactivity.
It remains to add that the basis of alcoholism is the development of a pathological attraction to alcohol. That is, with abstinence, the need to take alcohol in a person increases until it reaches critical parameters. Already at the very beginning of abstinence from alcohol to pass by a liquor store for a dependent is a feat. By the end of abstinence, the patient becomes gloomy, irritable, depressed. Relatives know: he will drink soon.