Evaluating The Costs And Benefits Of Drinking
Make a table like the one below, weighing the costs and benefits of drinking to the costs and benefits of quitting.
|Is drinking worth the cost?|
|Benefits of drinking|
Parents Commonly Supply Alcohol To Kids
“From a public health standpoint, these findings are frankly disturbing,” former AMA president J. Edward Hill, MD, had said in a press release. “While it is of great concern to see how easily teens, especially young girls, get alcohol, it is alarming to know that legal-age adults, even parents, are supplying the alcohol.”
The teen poll, which surveyed youth aged 13 to 18, revealed that nearly half of minors reported having obtained alcohol at some point. In all age groups, girls consistently ranked higher than boys in their ability to obtain alcohol.
What Are Treatment Options For Alcoholism
Treating alcohol addiction can be complex and challenging. In order for treatment to work, the person with an alcohol addiction must want to get sober. You cant force them to stop drinking if they arent ready. Success depends on the persons desire to get better.
The recovery process for alcoholism is a lifetime commitment. There isnt a quick fix and it involves daily care. For this reason, many people say alcohol addiction is never cured.
Also Check: How Addiction Affects The Brain
How Does Alcohol Dependence Develop
No one sets out to become an alcoholic, but regular, heavy drinking can result in alcohol dependence and alcoholism.
When we drink, alcohol enters the brain and disrupts the delicate balance of chemicals called neurotransmitters that keep the body functioning normally. This disruption leads to the numerous behavioral changes and physical signs associated with intoxication, such as euphoria, loss of inhibition, impaired coordination, slurred speech and drowsiness.
Fortunately, these effects are temporary and wear off after the body breaks down the alcohol. But when exposure to alcohol is ongoing, the brain seeks to compensate for these effects, and a complex cascade of long-term chemical changes begin to occur.
To counteract the brain-slowing effects of alcohol, for instance, the brain increases the activity of excitatory neurotransmitters, which stimulate nerve activity and heighten arousal. As these changes occur, people require increasingly larger amounts of alcohol to become intoxicated. As a result, their drinking will often escalate.
At the same time, the drinker will likely begin to experience intense cravings for alcohol and distressing physical withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, anxiety, tremors, an elevated heart rate and insomnia, when they stop drinking.
To avoid these uncomfortable symptoms, which can occur as soon as six hours after people who are dependent on alcohol consume their last drink, a person may begin drinking frequently or around-the-clock.
Heavy Drinkers Response To Alcohol
The release of endorphins in the brain and the compulsion to drink more to recreate that feeling is even more pronounced in those who drink heavily. The more they drink, the more endorphins are released, the happier they feel and the more likely they are to crave alcohol.
When cravings meet physical dependence, binge drinking or alcohol abuse turns into alcohol addiction.
But it may not just be the endorphins.
A study reported by BBC News says that drinking alcohol causes a release of dopamine, another happy chemical, as well. Again, the issue is that drinkers feel good when they drink the more they drink, the better they feel and they want to replicate that feeling when they can.
This makes binge drinking especially attractive to those who are functional , but binge drinking can quickly turn into alcohol addiction or be the cause of an accident that can be dangerous or deadly to the drinker or someone they care about.
Recommended Reading: How To Encourage An Addict To Get Help
Is It Possible Get Addicted To Alcohol
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.
How Much Alcohol Is Too Much
If youre trying to determine whether your drinking habits are worrisome, its good to know the threshold for harmful drinking.
How much alcohol can you drink without putting your health at risk? What is the threshold for dangerous drinking patterns? When are you at risk of developing alcohol addiction?
Safe Drinking Limits
TheNIAAA defines moderate drinking as up to two drinks a day for men and up to one drink a day for women. The recommendation is for men to drink no more than four drinks on any single day and no more than 14 drinks a week. For women, the drinking limits are no more than three drinks on any single day and no more than 7 drinks per week.
The limits for men and women are different because due to a variety of biological factorsalcohol-related problems in women can occur with lower levels of alcohol consumption than men.
The good news is that people who drink within these limits have an extremely low risk of developing alcohol use disorders.
In other words, if you stick to these safe drinking limits, the answer to the question how long does it take to develop alcohol dependence? can be never.
Remember, to remain in the low-risk category, you must stick to both the daily as well as weekly guidelines. For example, if youre a woman and you have three drinks a day five days a week , youre drinking more than double the recommended weekly safe limit for women .
Read Also: What Are Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
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?
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.
You May Like: What Drugs Are Used To Treat Opiate Addiction
Alcohol Abuse Or Alcohol Dependence
The terms alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence are often used interchangeably, when in fact medically speaking, there is 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 peoples lives2. Examples of this include failing to fulfil 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, visit our page on binge drinking.
How To Get Help For Alcohol Addiction
There are multiple ways to get help from alcohol dependence, including treatment, medication, and behavioral intervention. Often, the user is one of the last to recognize or realize his or her use is a problem, often thinking I have this under control. Once an alcohol use disorder has developed, however, it can be extremely to quit without help. Fortunately, there are ways to get help.
Ethanol is abused at a higher rate than any other drug among treatment program attendees, as reported by a 2017 survey from Recovery Brands. Nearly 70% of people who took the survey went to treatment to get help with a drinking problem, and a surprising 52.87% of those who responded reported seeking treatment for a problem with alcohol more than any other substance. No matter how many substances of abuse there are, the one that causes the most extensive harm is ethanol. Fortunately, alcohol abuse treatment is only a phone call away. Speak with our recovery support specialists at Who Answers?
Read Also: How To Help Someone With Opiate Addiction
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 Dependence Can Contribute To Mental Health Problems
Anxiety, depression and suicidal feelings can all develop when youre alcohol dependent. This is because regular, heavy drinking interferes with neurotransmitters in our brains that are needed for good mental health.
Being dependent on alcohol can affect your relationships with your partner, family and friends. It might mean you dont perform so well at work and if that continues for any length of time you could face losing your job, leading to financial problems as well. These issues can also contribute to depression and anxiety. Alcohol can also make you more aggressive. If you use alcohol to try and improve your mood, you may be starting a vicious cycle.
If you think your mental health is suffering because of your drinking, but you feel youre not able to stop, ask for professional help. Start with a visit to your GP or by contacting one of the organisations listed at the end of this page.
Don’t Miss: What Part Of The Brain Causes Addiction
Who Can Become Addicted To Drugs
The short answer is that anyone can become an addict. However, there are some factors that can make certain individuals more susceptible than others. Drugabuse.gov states that three of these factors are biology, environment, and development.
Biology and environment go hand in hand, in a way.
According to a study in PubMed Central, Both genetic and environmental variables contribute to the initiation of use of addictive agents and to the transition from use to addiction. Addictions are moderately to highly heritable. Family, adoption and twin studies reveal that an individuals risk tends to be proportional to the degree of genetic relationship to an addicted relativeThe moderate to high heritabilities of addictive disorders are paradoxical, because addictions initially depend on the availability of the addictive agent and the individuals choice to use it.
In other words, addiction can be genetic but is also affected by the environment in which one is raised. If drugs and alcohol are not readily available and are not considered the norm as someone is growing up, they are less likely to begin using the substances.
However, if substance abuse is common in the home they are raised in, they may be more prone to considering it normal and partaking in it themselves, leading to addiction.
This is where development also comes into the picture.
How Addictions Can Affect You
The strain of managing an addiction can seriously damage your work life and relationships. In the case of substance misuse , an addiction can have serious psychological and physical effects.
Some studies suggest a person’s risk of becoming addicted is partly genetic, but environmental factors, such as being around other people with addictions, are also thought to increase the risk.
Behaviours such as substance misuse can be a way of blocking out difficult issues. Unemployment and poverty can trigger addiction, along with stress and emotional or professional pressure.
Don’t Miss: Does Intervention Pay The Addicts
What Medications Are Used To Treat Alcohol Use & Abuse
Some medications can help patients quit drinking, treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and prevent relapse. Patients may also receive different medications while in the care of an addiction treatment professional to help address symptoms of co-occurring disorders if necessary.
Some of the medications patients may receive in the care an inpatient or outpatient treatment provider include:8,12
- Naltrexone, which can help reduce the urge to drink and help to curb problem drinking. It blocks the receptors in the brain that make people feel good when they drink, and it may help to reduce cravings.
- Acamprosate, which is designed to decrease cravings and urges to drink alcohol.
- Disulfiram, , which discourages people from drinking. It blocks the metabolism of alcohol in a persons body so that they experience unpleasant symptoms, like nausea, if they decide to drink.
Stage #: Alcohol Dependence
Alcoholism has two facets: dependence and addiction. Its possible for a person to be dependent on alcohol, but not yet addicted.
Dependence forms after the problem drinking stage. At this point, you have an attachment to alcohol that has taken over your regular routine. Youre aware of the adverse effects, but no longer have control over your alcohol consumption.
Alcohol dependence also means that you have developed a tolerance to drinking. As a result, you may have to drink larger quantities to get buzzed or drunk. Increased drinking has more damaging effects on the body.
Another characteristic of dependence is withdrawal. As you sober up, you may feel undesirable symptoms such as:
- nausea that is unrelated to a hangover
- body tremors
You May Like: How Long Does It Take To Stop An Addiction
How To Overcome Addiction To Alcohol
No matter what stage you are in, you can get help for your addiction. There are addiction treatment centers, outpatient, inpatient, and intensive inpatient programs, individual and group counseling, peer mentoring, sober coaches, and many other services available in your community and on college campuses.
As alcoholism has increased, so have the resources to help you conquer your addiction.
Reaching out is the first start, something you can do today, right now, to begin living the sober life you deserve.
What Is Drug Addiction
Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted persons self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. These brain changes can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a “relapsing” diseasepeople in recovery from drug use disorders are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug.
It’s common for a person to relapse, but relapse doesn’t mean that treatment doesnt work. As with other chronic health conditions, treatment should be ongoing and should be adjusted based on how the patient responds. Treatment plans need to be reviewed often and modified to fit the patients changing needs.
Read Also: How To Get Off Nicotine Addiction
Handling Setbacks In Your Recovery
Alcohol recovery is a processone that often involves setbacks. Dont give up if you relapse or slip. A drinking relapse doesnt mean youre a failure or that youll never be able to reach your goal. Each drinking relapse is an opportunity to learn and recommit to sobriety, so youll be less likely to relapse in the future.
Get Help For Teen Addiction In Tx From Fort Behavioral Health
Teen alcohol addiction disrupts the lives of the entire family. Get help for your teenager from Fort Behavioral Health. This facility provides a variety of addiction treatment options, including our female-only adolescent treatment program. Start the process of getting your teen help for alcohol addiction by phoning Fort Behavioral Health at . Taking this first step toward moving your teen toward recovery could help her to avoid a future of alcohol addiction.
You May Like: Can You Get Addicted To Excedrin Migraine