How Alcohol Dependence Develops
Alcohol dependence can happen quite quickly. But it often happens after many years of heavy drinking.
Sometimes social drinking gradually becomes more frequent. Drinking more, until you can no longer control your drinking.
You might use alcohol to cope with problems or difficult times, until you can’t manage without it.
Not everyone who abuses alcohol is dependent on alcohol. Abusing alcohol can also affect your health and relationships.
Warning: Even Moderate Drinking Can Increase Your Cancer Risk
Based on tons of research, we already know that heavy drinking can put you at a higher risk for various diseases and disorders. But what about moderate drinking levels? Can it really hurt to knock back one drink a day? According to a recent study, …
They Lie Deny And Conceal
Some high-functioning addicts are particularly good at deceiving others about their drinking habits. But occasionally from time to time, the people closest to them will catch them lying or hiding their drinking behavior. Its important to pay attention to these times instead of dismissing them as misunderstandings.
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Patterns Of Drinking If You Are Dependent On Alcohol
Alcohol dependence affects different people in different ways.
If you are dependent on alcohol, you may drink:
- a lot of the time
- first thing in the morning
- every evening
- every day
You may stop drinking for many weeks or months. But when you start drinking again, you may lose control.
You may binge drink only at weekends or have periods of not drinking.
Talk to your GP or another healthcare provider if you are worried that you are becoming dependent on alcohol.
Inability To Maintain Healthy Relationships
Neglected tasks, dishonesty or secretive behavior, and financial distress take a toll on relationships. If an individual is not able to quit alcohol in the interest of restoring harmony in relationships, it becomes obvious that he or she places alcohol above their loved ones. Unfortunately, the presence of this alcoholic behavior when not drinking is fairly common.
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You Suffer Withdrawal If You Attempt To Stop
Withdrawal is most well-known when it comes to substance abuse. It’s essentially your system becoming severely distressed when a drug or substance under heavy usage is taken away abruptly, causing it to recalibrate. The American Addiction Centers sum up the four main types of substance withdrawal: withdrawing from heroin and prescription painkillers causes two days of serious flu-like symptoms, cold turkey psychoactive drug addicts will experience seizures and anxiety for weeks, while going off cocaine causes 10 days of depression, and going off alcohol causes the famous “tremors,” which can last for up to a month. The heaviness of withdrawal symptoms depends on the strength of your addiction, and is often deeply unpleasant.
Withdrawal from non-substance based addictions, like gambling, tend to be more emotional than physical. Psych Central highlights “restlessness and irritability” as the key signs that a gambling addict is going through withdrawal.
You Can Overcome Any Addiction
If you have found yourself answering yes to two or more of those statements, or if you have answered yes related to the sanctions of a loved one, it may be time to consider an addiction recovery program.
Dont get caught in the vicious cycle of addiction and depression. You can overcome an addiction, any kind of addiction, with the proper help. Learning about your addiction, learning what led to these problems, and discovering how to fix and overcome these issues can help you break the cycle of addiction for good.
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Drinking Has Caused Problems In Their Life
They may have lost a job over missing work due to their drinking habits. Or they may have had trouble with the law while drinking. Some people whose drinking has caused them problems, or who have simply embarrassed themselves while intoxicated, will simply swear off and never drink again. But an alcoholic continues to drink in spite of continued problems.
Crime And Deviant Behavior
- Have you ever manipulated a doctor to attain prescription drugs?
- Have you ever used substances without knowing what they were or what they would do to you?
- Have you ever stolen substances or stolen something to pay for substances?
- Have you acted erratically or felt not in control of your actions?
Addiction often drives reasonable individuals to uncharacteristic behavior and, in many cases, even crime. Faking a health condition to obtain prescription drugs, stealing from friends or family, and taking unknown substances are common among individuals struggling with addiction. If you find yourself acting out of character, committing crimes or doing things that hurt loved ones to satisfy your substance use habits, you likely have an addiction.
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When Your Teen Has A Drinking Problem
Discovering your child is drinking can generate fear, confusion, and anger in parents. Its important to remain calm when confronting your teen, and only do so when everyone is sober. Explain your concerns and make it clear that your concern comes from a place of love. Its important that your teen feels you are supportive.
Lay down rules and consequences: Your teen should understand that drinking alcohol comes with specific consequences. But dont make hollow threats or set rules that you cannot enforce.
Monitor your teens activity: Insist on knowing where your teen goes and who they hang out with.
Encourage other interests and social activities. Expose your teen to healthy hobbies and activities, such as team sports, Scouts, and after-school clubs.
Talk to your child about underlying issues. Drinking can result from other problems. Is your child having trouble fitting in? Has there been a recent major change, like a move or divorce, which is causing stress?
Experiencing Blackouts After Binge Drinking
This means that your loved one has had one too many. If there are several similar episodes, you can assume with certainty that he or she often engages in binge drinking. Binge drinking is a behavioral drinking problem, and its usually helpful when youre wondering how to spot a functioning addict. However, binge drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning. To be certain you know how to spot alcohol poisoning, you should look for symptoms like cold or clammy skin, hypothermia, vomiting, lack of physical coordination, and mental confusion or disorientation.
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The Dangers Of Alcohol Abuse
Many people dont recognize alcoholism symptoms because they are so prevalent in society. Whether its having one too many drinks at happy hour after work one night or developing a pattern of frequent binge drinking, the effects of alcohol abuse can be seen across the country in many forms. Long-term abuse of alcohol takes a serious toll on the brain and body, as every organ is affected by it. Certain organs, such as the liver and the brain, are affected more than others.
Although many people drink to feel buzzed, the ramifications of alcohol abuse can persist long past the initial period of intoxication. Short-term side effects of alcohol abuse can include:
- Trouble breathing
Signs You’re Becoming Addicted To Something
It’s easy to talk about addiction in a throwaway manner, as if just liking something quite a lot classifies you as an addict. Spoiler: it doesn’t. But social conceptions of how an addict looks and behaves still often look like something out of a Dickens novel, when the reality is more nebulous, less obvious, and more common. But how do you know if you’re becoming addicted to something or just having a good time?
The most commonly discussed area of addiction is drug and alcohol abuse the rehab organization Addiction Center estimates that 20 million Americans over the age of 12 have an addiction to alcohol or both legal and illegal drugs. When it comes to behavioral addictions, the lines are a bit less clear but from psychologically accepted problems like gambling to more contested definitions like sex addiction, it’s now no longer just substance abuse on the table when we talk about addicts.
If you’re worried you might be dependent on something â whether it be drugs, alcohol, sex, or anything else â here are nine common signs you may indeed be addicted.
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Your Tolerance Is Increasing
Tolerance isn’t necessarily your body’s ability to “take” a large amount of something it’s more about the relationship between the quantity of an addictive substance or behavior and the reaction it creates. As addicts progress into an addiction, their body gets accustomed, and requires more and more of the addictive thing to get them the same high as when they started. The NCADD calls this “adaptation,” but it can be difficult for addicts to keep track of the rising amounts required to create the same effects.
Withdrawal: The 2nd Major Warning Sign
Do you need a drink to steady the shakes in the morning? Drinking to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms is a sign of alcoholism and a huge red flag. When you drink heavily, your body gets used to the alcohol and experiences withdrawal symptoms if its taken away.
Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
In severe cases, withdrawal from alcohol can also involve hallucinations, confusion, seizures, fever, and agitation. These symptoms can be dangerous, so talk to your doctor if you are a heavy drinker and want to quit.
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Financial Benefits Of Quitting Drinking
While it may seem difficult or impossible, quitting drinking is achievable. Along with regaining control of your life, there are financial benefits to abstinence that can help you save more money daily, weekly, monthly or yearly.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , Americans spent around $249 billion on alcohol in 2010.14 Per person, that breaks out to about $807 a year.14 However, that number is likely much higher for binge drinkers and heavy alcohol users since they are consuming considerably more drinks per day than the average consumer.
To calculate how much money you spend on alcohol, online tools such as an alcohol spending calculator can be helpful in seeing how much you could potentially be saving by quitting drinking. For example, if you drink 7 days a week and 5 drinks a day at $8 a beverage, youre likely spending around $280 a week, $1,213 a month, and $14,560 a year. With what you could be saving a year, it could mean a new car, vacation with your loved ones, or used for unexpected expenses that may arise in the future.
While exact amounts may vary, below are some rates you can expect to incur if charged with a DUI:15
Altogether, a first-time DUI offense could potentially cost an individual anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 when all is said and done.
Signs Of Alcohol Dependence
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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Alcohol Addiction In The United States
Alcohol use in the U.S. is widespread. An estimated 86.4% of Americans over the age of 18 report drinking alcohol at some point in their lives. Roughly 70.1% report drinking during the past year, and 56% report drinking during the past month.
Binge drinking is also problematic in the U.S., where nearly 27% of American adults report engaging in binge drinking during the past month. Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks for women within the span of a few hours, and five or more drinks for men within the same time frame. Roughly 7% of Americans report heavy alcohol use, which is defined as engaging in binge drinking on five or more days during the past month.
Previous evidence has suggested that moderate drinking is harmless. However, new evidence says that no amount of drinking is safe, and that alcohol use can lead to life-threatening problems including cancer, traffic accidents, and alcohol addiction.
In 2015, 15.1 million American adults were reported to suffer from alcohol use disorder. Of those 15-plus million individuals, only 6.7% received professional addiction treatment.
What To Do When You See Warning Signs
When you see warning signs in yourself or a loved one, its time to get help. The sooner you speak up, the sooner you can avoid or reverse the consequences of alcohol abuse or addiction. Its never too early or too late. Anyone can find recovery, any time. All it takes is noticing warning signs and reaching out to professional resources like Michaels House when you do. Call now.
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What Does Alcohol Do To Us When We Drink It
Alcohol is a very simple chemical that can bring about big changes in the complex functions of the human brain. When we drink alcohol, it triggers the release of other chemicals in the body that make us feel more content and less sensitive to pain. So, it is no surprise that once we start drinking, we often want to carry on.
For some of us, alcohol becomes something we carry on consuming even though the negative consequences are plain to see.
Signs Of Cocaine Abuse
Cocaine is best known in its white powder form. Most often, this drug is snorted, smoked, or injected. As cocaine is a stimulant, one of its hallmarks is that its main effects wear off around 30 minutes to 2 hours after the last use. In addition to the general signs of drug abuse discussed above, cocaine has some specific side effects, including:
- Increased energy
- Fast white lady
As Medical News Today discusses, cocaine is highly addictive and the strongest natural occurring stimulant in existence. Cocaine addiction is associated with dramatic personal losses there are reports of professionals spending $20,000 to $50,000 on cocaine binges, parents selling their children, and people becoming unemployed, having to file bankruptcy, and ending up homeless. It is clear that cocaine use can spiral out of control. For this reason, the earlier the abuse is intercepted, the better.
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Behavioral Signs Of Alcohol Abuse
As the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence explains, the behavioral signs of an alcohol use disorder will usually be apparent. People who experience alcohol abuse may become increasingly secretive about their activities because they may not want to hear peoples concerns or get advice to stop. The individual may also drink in secret, either in a private place or out in public but away from concerned friends and family.
As a result of drinking, people may become more prone to accidents and show signs of injury, which they may try to cover up. An individual who is experiencing an alcohol use disorder may also hide alcohol around the house or at work. A person may become fearful of running out of alcohol, which in turn means that they keep a ready supply nearby.
Alcohol abuse can also lead people to show a diminished level of care for their hygiene and physical appearance. As alcohol abuse progresses, the individual may look increasingly as if they have not been showering, have stopped shaving, and are no longer washing or changing their clothes. Alcohol abuse often leads to problems in the persons relationships across the full spectrum of life. A person who has a rather calm affect when sober may shift into moodiness, depression, or irritability when intoxicated.
Alcohol Dependence Vs Alcohol Addiction
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, dependence is a state in which the brain functions normally only in the presence of a drug. Within hours or a few days of having their last drink, people dependent on alcohol will experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms that may include hand tremors, nausea or sweating.
Addiction to alcohol, however, is a disease characterized by a compulsion to drink and an inability to control ones alcohol intake. People who are dependent on alcohol are often addicted to the substance, but it is possible to be dependent and not addicted.
While the American Psychiatric Association used to separate alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence into two distinct disorders, both are now categorized into a single diagnosis called alcohol use disorder. An alcohol use disorder, which can range from problem drinking to alcoholism, can be classified as mild, moderate or severe, depending on a persons symptoms and drinking behaviors.
Alcohol Use Disorder Dsm 5 Criteria
If youre concerned that you or a loved one meet several of these criteria, its a good idea to talk to a hotline representative about your situation. An American Addiction Centers admissions navigator can help you evaluate your next steps.