Monday, April 15, 2024

Can You Get Physically Addicted To Alcohol

How Does Physical And Psychological Addiction Differ

Why Do We Become Addicted?

The difference between physical and psychological addiction is not as defined as you might think. As peoples psychological and physical reactions arent universal across all types of drugs, its hard to put all the different signs and symptoms of addiction into two completely distinct categories.

When you take into account that the body controls physical addition, while the mind controls psychological addiction, it becomes easier to tell the difference between the two different types, even though the line between them can blur. Hence, it would be misleading to say that psychological addiction and physical addiction are entirely separate and distinct.

That said, sometimes you can have symptoms of addiction that are mostly psychological. For example, if you are addicted to gambling, youll solely suffer from an intense psychological urge to gamble. If, on the other hand, youre addicted to a substance like a specific drug or type of spirit, youll usually first develop a psychological addiction and then a physical one.

How Much Is Too Much

Keep in mind that a serving of alcohol is:

  • 12 ounces of regular beer
  • 8-9 ounces of malt liquor
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 3-4 ounces of fortified wine
  • 2-3 ounces of cordial, liqueur, or aperitif
  • 1.5 ounces of brandy, cognac, or 80-proof distilled spirits

Many places over-serve booze. Its easy to do, even at home, if your wine or beer glasses are big.

An alcohol use disorder isnt just about how much you drink. Its also about:

  • How often you drink
  • What happens when you try to cut back

Tips For Those Trying To Stop Drinking

For many people, abstaining from alcohol is a major lifestyle change. It requires a lot of time, effort and mental energy.Some people can decide to quit drinking and do it without help. If youre reading this page, you probably arent oneof those people. Dont compare yourself to them.

Use these tips to increase your chances of overcoming alcohol problems:

  • Stay positive. Quitting is more difficult if you have a bad attitude.
  • Commit fully. Sobriety isnt something you can achieve with minimal effort.
  • Ask for help. Getting sober is hard to do on your own.
  • Have faith. When you believe sobriety is possible, youre more likely to achieve it.
  • Take it one day at a time. Thinking about quitting for a year can seem daunting. Taking things one dayat a time is more achievable.

Always think about thebenefits of quitting alcohol and how they will improve your life. It may also help to think about the negativesthat alcohol causes. With a realistic strategy, support and faith, you can quit drinking and beginalcohol recovery.

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Recognising An Alcohol And Drug Problem

There is no particular type of person who becomes dependent on alcohol or other drugs. It can happen to anyone.

What starts as occasional use of a drug or one prescription of pain-relieving medication, for example, can get out of control as time passes especially in times of pain or stress. You may find you need bigger doses to get the same feeling or to lessen the pain. Eventually, you may depend on the drug to feel good or to get through your day.

Other signs that you are becoming dependent on alcohol or other drugs include:

  • having intense urges for the substance this could be once a day or several times a day
  • needing more of a substance to get the same effect
  • fixating about making sure you have a constant supply of the substance
  • spending money on the substance, even when you cannot afford it
  • cutting back on social or other activities
  • not meeting your work, family or study responsibilities
  • lying to people about your alcohol or drug use when they ask
  • doing things that are illegal so you can get the substance, such as stealing
  • taking risks such as driving when you are under the influence of the substance
  • trying but failing to stop using the substance
  • experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop taking the substance.

Treatment For Alcohol Withdrawal During Detox

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No one should attempt to detox from alcohol alone. Medical professionals at hospitals and recovery centers are able to help people with the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. For example, doctors and nurses often provide detox patients with Benzodiazepines and medications to help them cope with anxiety and avoid seizures. They also monitor their patients blood pressure and other vital signs and make sure they stay hydrated.

In addition, recovery centers often have therapists and counselors on staff to talk to patients and help them manage their emotions as they progress through detox. Someone who is detoxing at a treatment center will probably also receive a thorough diagnosis of any physical or mental problems which co-exist with their addiction.

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  • About

Nathan Yerby is a writer and researcher. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

Clinically Reviewed:

Deborah Montross Nagel

  • About

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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How Do Alcohol Use Disorders Affect People

While some research suggests that small amounts of alcohol may have beneficial cardiovascular effects, there is widespread agreement that heavier drinking can lead to health problems.

Short-term effects include memory loss, hangovers, and blackouts. Long-term problems associated with heavy drinking include stomach ailments, heart problems, cancer, brain damage, serious memory loss and liver cirrhosis. Heavy drinkers also markedly increase their chances of dying from automobile accidents, homicide, and suicide. Although men are much more likely than women to develop alcoholism, women’s health suffers more, even at lower levels of consumption.

Drinking problems also have a very negative impact on mental health. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can worsen existing conditions such as depression or induce new problems such as serious memory loss, depression or anxiety.

Alcohol problems don’t just hurt the drinker. Spouses and children of heavy drinkers may face family violence children may suffer physical and sexual abuse and neglect and develop psychological problems. Women who drink during pregnancy run a serious risk of damaging their fetuses. Relatives, friends and strangers can be injured or killed in alcohol-related accidents and assaults.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms And Treatment

If you are alcohol-dependent and decide to change your life and quit drinking, you can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms. These discomforts usually peak 24 to 72 hours after your last drink, but they may last for weeks, according to information from the National Institutes of Health.

Those with mild to moderate symptoms may be able to receive treatment in an outpatient setting. You should ask a loved one to stay with you during this process and you may need to visit a clinician for daily monitoring. If you have moderate to severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, you may require inpatient treatment at a hospital or substance abuse facility. Symptoms of severe alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Fever

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The Addictive Factors In Alcohol And Why It Prompts Alcohol And Drug Rehab

Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in America today, but exactly what makes alcohol addictive? According to the NCADD, 17.6 million people in the United States suffer from alcohol dependence or chronic alcohol abuse. Thats about one in twelve adults, with many more engaging in unhealthy binge drinking habits that can develop into alcoholism.

If you have witnessed someone deal with alcohol use disorder, you know finding a way to help can be challenging. The truth is, people drink for different reasons, so there is not one single solution treatment that works for one patient may not work for another. Ultimately, both physical and psychological addictive factors come into play when overcoming addiction.

What Makes Alcohol Addictive: Physical vs Psychological Factors

Physical Factors

Drinking alcohol stimulates the release of dopamine and endorphins within the brain. These are the chemicals that produce feelings of pleasure and satisfaction and act as a natural painkiller. Studies have shown that genetic factors come into play when determining how alcohol reacts in the brains of different people. Specifically, some peoples brains released more pleasure chemicals in response to alcohol, making them more susceptible to physical dependency.



People who are addicted to alcohol and suddenly stop drinking undergo a detoxification process that can have a number of physical and psychological symptoms. These include:

  • Nausea

Violence Within The Lgbtq Community

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Literature surrounding intimate partner violence and alcohol abuse in the LGBTQ community is recent and limited compared to research among heterosexual couples. However, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adultswhen compared with their heterosexual counterpartsare more likely to engage in casual, binge, and heavy alcohol use.13

According to the CDC, individuals who self-identify as lesbian, gay, and bisexual have an equal or higher prevalence of intimate partner violence compared to those who self-identify as heterosexuals.14 The lifetime prevalence of intimate partner violence was nearly 40% in a recent survey of men in same-gender relationships, with 22% of men reporting physical abuse in the past five years.12

Here are some links that can teach you more and help you get started.

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Drinking Addiction: Psychological Or Physical

Dear Alice,

Is alcoholism an habitual addiction or can it also be a chemical one? I have heard that it is not chemical, but have lived with people who needed the alcohol every night.

Signed,Healthy Drinker?

Dear Healthy Drinker?,

It makes sense that you’re confused, because alcoholism can be BOTH a habitual and a chemical addiction. Some people become dependent on drinking, and like your housemate, need the alcohol every night. Psychological dependence is drinking in order to function “normally” and feel good. Physical dependence is when the person’s body has adapted to chronic use of the booze, and would suffer physical symptoms when s/he stopped drinking.

A person can be psychologically dependent without being physically dependent, but a person can’t be physically dependent without being psychologically dependent. Those addicted to drinking develop an increased physical tolerance to the booze, and need to gradually drink more in order to achieve the same amount of drunkenness. Chronic alcoholism occurs when there are both physical and psychological addictions. Alcoholism is treatable and controllable, but not curable. And, it’s much easier to treat the physical dependency than to treat the psychological dependency.

Some of the warning signs of someone who is headed towards a drinking problem are:

What Is Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction can appear through many signs and symptoms.

If you feel like drinking is the only way to wind down or release stress, if you are unable to control how much you drink, or if you feel the need to drink more alcohol to achieve the buzz you need are all examples of being addicted.

Some addicts want to drink or catch a buzz before attending parties or events. They think this will help them socialize better. And if they cant drink ahead of time, they avoid going altogether.

Some who are dependent on alcohol find reasons to drink during the day or night, they feel withdrawal symptoms when trying to not drink, or they continue to drink even though it causes rifts in relationships or interferes with working and completing other responsibilities.

Alcohol abuse disorder develops over time, and it is the brain that encourages someone to become addicted.

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Who Is At Risk Of Developing Alcoholism

Everyone is different. Many factors affect if and how quickly a person progresses from social drinking to alcohol addiction.

Here are some high-risk factors that can determine whether a person becomes addicted and how long it takes to develop alcohol dependence:

  • Alcoholismruns in families. People with a family history of alcohol use disorders are at a higher risk.
  • Those who begindrinking in early teens are at a higher risk of developing alcohol dependence at some point in their lives.
  • There is a higher incidence of alcoholism in men, butwomen suffer more alcohol-related damage from chronic drinking.
  • Everyone reacts to alcohol differently. This is influenced by age, gender, ethnicity, and body weight, among other factors.

There is no fixed timeline for how long it takes to develop alcohol dependence. Sometimes, a person can drink responsibly for decades without developing alcoholism, but then a major life event such as losing their job or going through a divorce pushes them over the brink.

Moreover, alcoholism does not happen overnight. There are threestages of alcoholism. The important thing is to recognize the signs and symptoms early and get help as soon as possible.

If you or a loved one has a worrisome drinking habit, take ourself-assessment test to find out if its time to get help.

Understanding Alcohol Use Disorders And Their Treatment

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People with alcohol use disorders drink to excess, endangering both themselves and others. This question-and-answer fact sheet explains alcohol problems and how psychologists can help people recover.

Understanding alcohol use disorders and their treatment.

For many people, drinking alcohol is nothing more than a pleasant way to relax. People with alcohol use disorders, however, drink to excess, endangering both themselves and others. This question-and-answer fact sheet explains alcohol problems and how psychologists can help people recover.

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How Long Does It Take To Develop Alcohol Dependence

Drinking alcohol is ingrained in modern culture in many countries around the world. Its a way to socialize, relax, and celebrate.

To quote the fictional TV cartoon character, Homer Simpson, To alcohol, the cause of and solution to all lifes problems. The joke is a reflection of what most people think that social drinking is harmless. Yes, as long as youre responsible about alcohol consumption, it cant do any damage.

But do you know how long does it take to develop alcohol dependence? When does occasional social alcohol consumption turn into problematic alcoholism?

In this article, well take an in-depth look at the journey from social drinking to full-blown alcoholism and learn things like:

  • How are people affected by alcoholism?
  • How much alcohol is actually in your drink?
  • How much alcohol is considered too much?
  • How long does it take to get addicted to alcohol?
  • Who is at risk of developing alcoholism?

Treatment Programs For Overcoming Alcohol Abuse And Addiction

Some people may be able to quit alcohol on their own. Others, however, may need professional help to successfully give up drinking. Additionally, individuals who are physically dependent on alcohol should not attempt to stop drinking on their own, as they may experience serious and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Vertava Health offers a number of treatment programs for individuals of every walk of life looking to overcome an addiction to alcohol.

To learn more about what happens when you stop drinking alcohol or to get more information on the alcohol addiction programs we offer, contact an Vertava Health treatment specialist today.

This page does not provide medical advice.

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Can You Be Physically Addicted To Alcohol

Yes. Alcohol changes the way the brains communication pathways work. This drug can change a persons mood, behavior, and physical abilities. Alcohol also causes a chemical reaction with the brains gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors. This stimulates the brains pleasure and reward center and causes endorphins to release.

Endorphins lead to feelings of relaxation, pleasure, and satisfaction. Some peoples brains produce higher levels of these hormones. Over time, the body may begin to crave this euphoric reaction.

People may begin to have intense cravings or lose the ability to control how much they drink. Heavy or frequent alcohol use can result in physical dependence. When this happens, a persons body requires the drug in order to function properly.

People who are physically dependent on alcohol may display signs, including:

  • memory blackouts
  • shaky hands
  • change in sex drive or ability
  • dizziness or falling
  • problems at work, home, or with the legal system

Signs Of Alcohol Dependence

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Signs of alcohol dependence include:

  • not being able to function without alcohol
  • drinking has become an important, or most important, thing in life
  • continuing to drink despite negative consequences for you or your loved ones
  • finding it difficult to control the amount or the times when you drink
  • finding it difficult to stop drinking when you want to
  • not always being able to plan with certainty how much you are going to drink on an occasion
  • drinking more alcohol
  • craving alcohol or having withdrawal symptoms
  • not seeming to be drunk after drinking large amounts

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What Is Alcohol Use Disorder

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2012, an estimated 7.2 percent of American adults aged 18 and older, approximately 17 million people, had a diagnosable alcohol use disorder. Men have alcohol use disorder almost twice as often as women of the estimated 17 million affected adults, 11.2 million were men and 5.7 million were women. Adolescents are not immune. In 2012, an estimated 855,000 young people between 12-17 years of age had this disorder.

No two individuals who experience alcohol abuse are the same however, DSM-5 provides clinicians with a set of 11 factors that can guide them in the diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder and its severity grade. In short, if a person has experienced at least two of the 11 factors in the past year then the person is considered to have an alcohol use disorder. The existence of two or three symptoms equals a diagnosis of mild alcohol use disorder, while four to five symptoms is considered moderate, and six or more is considered severe.

Ready to get help? Take a short quiz of DSM-5 criteria to assess the severity of your alcohol use.

To provide insight into the alcohol use diagnostics process, consider the following sample of four possible symptoms:

Individuals with an alcohol use disorder will likely experience the symptoms of physical dependence as well as psychological effects.

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