What Is The Main Cause Of Addiction
There are many possible causes of addiction. In fact, the way it develops may be different for everyone. Because there is a genetic factor, some people are more susceptible to developing addiction. Other risk factors include mental illness, poverty, homelessness, traumatic life experiences, domestic violence, lack of a social support system, and a family history of addiction.
The more risk factors a person is exposed to, the more likely they are to develop addiction, but it is not a guarantee that they will.
Drug use can start at any age. Teenagers may be pressured into trying drugs or alcohol by their peers. Some adults begin to experiment with different substances as they get older. Some people get hooked on medication that was prescribed to them by their doctor. Some even begin abusing drugs or alcohol during their childhood.
When a person begins to take a substance, they may eventually seek out more potent substances to enjoy more intense effects such as a stronger high. This puts them at risk of developing dependence and addiction.
Whats The Difference Between Casual Drinking And Alcohol Abuse
Lets start with casual drinking. Unless you have religious or personal restrictions, a few drinks with friends or a glass of wine with dinner is usually not an issue. The problem starts, though, when you begin abusing the substance.
Many people use the terms alcohol abuse and alcoholism interchangeably. However, alcoholism refers to alcohol addiction or dependence, where the individual has a physical or psychological compulsion to drink alcohol. Alcohol abuse refers to a pattern of behavior where a person drinks excessively in spite of the negative consequences.
Related Topic: What happens when you drink alcohol everyday
The Following 11 Questions Are Designed To Help You Better Understand Your Relationship To Alcohol They Will Help You To Tell If It Resembles Abuse Or Addiction Or Is If It Closer To Average
1. Do you tend to drink more than you expected to? And for longer periods of time?
2. Do you wish you could drink less, and struggle to cut down your alcohol intake?
3. Does drinking consume much of your time? In other words, do you spend a lot of your time trying to obtain, use, or recover from alcohol hangovers?
4. Do you have very strong cravings or urges to drink? Does it feel like you need it to get by?
5. Does drinking cause problems for you at work, in school, or in your family obligations? Does this happen frequently?
6. If drinking does cause these social and interpersonal problems for you, do you continue to drink anyway?
7. Have you given up activities that used to be meaningful for you? For example, have you quit a sport or left friendships because you dont seem to have the time or energy anymore?
8. Do you use alcohol even when it makes your activity physically dangerous? This could be drinking while driving, using certain prescription drugs, or working with heavy machinery.
9. Do you continue to drink even after discovering that it exacerbates, worsens, or even causes other physical or mental illnesses?
10. Are you developing a tolerance for alcohol? This could show up as a decreased effect after drinking the same quantity of alcohol that you used to use, or having to drink more and more alcohol to achieve the desired level of intoxication.
Don’t Miss: How To Cure Marijuana Addiction
You Wake Up With The Shakes And Experience Withdrawal Symptoms When You Stop Drinking
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that slows down bodily functions and produces feelings of relaxation and calm. However, once you are physically dependent on alcohol, your body experiences physical and mental symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms occur because, without alcohol, the CNS is overly excited.
One tell-tale sign of alcohol withdrawal is a symptom that is referred to as the shakes. People who are addicted to alcohol often wake up and notice that their hands are shaky or movements are unsteady. Shakiness is only one withdrawal symptom. Others include:
- Alcohol cravings
Alcohol withdrawal can be so uncomfortable that you are tempted to continue drinking so you feel OK.
Alcoholism May Take Many Forms And Stereotypes Dont Always Hold True Find Out How To Tell The Difference Between Casual Use Alcohol Abuse And Addiction
You dont fit the stereotype. Maybe youve never been homeless, stolen money to buy alcohol or gotten a DUI. Maybe you have a job and a family you cant actually be addicted to alcohol, right?
Alcoholism and alcohol use disorder take many forms, and the stereotype doesnt always hold true. So when do a few drinks with friends become a full-blown alcohol addiction? How do you know if you are an alcoholic?
Don’t Miss: How To Get An Addict To Want Help
Fearing The Loss Of Money
No one wants to lose money but having an unnatural fear of doing so could be a clue to a money addiction. Being afraid of losses can keep you from making smart decisions with your money that could actually improve your financial situation. For example, you might be so afraid of losing money in the stock market that you never invest at all. In the meantime, you could potentially miss out on thousands of dollars in compound interest growth. Or it might have you working 24/7 and never enjoying downtime because you are so focused on making as much as possible to avoid feeling poor.
Another expression of money addiction could be saving so much that you have very little spending money. If you feel compelled to save a certain possibly excessive amount, it could keep you from paying bills on time and enjoying the occasional dinner out or movie because you feel every penny must go into your bank account. This behavior can be akin to hoarding and can likewise interfere with daily life.
Image Credit: MangoStar_Studio/istockphoto.
What To Do If You See Signs Of Addiction In Yourself
If you see signs of addiction in yourself, the best thing to do is to reach out for help. Its often said that people who are addicted must hit rock bottom before substance abuse treatment can truly make an impact, but this is far from the truth.
One key thing to remember is that addiction thrives on isolation. It hides in the darkness. When exposed and brought to light, healing can begin.
If youre in the beginning stages of addiction or full-blown addiction, help is available to you. Give us a call at to speak directly to a rehab admissions specialist.
We offer free and confidential treatment consultations, no matter your financial situation. We have helped individuals all across America for over a decade.
Read Also: How To Beat Opiate Addiction
Behavioral Signs Of Alcohol Misuse
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 misuse 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 misuse can also lead people to show a diminished level of care for their hygiene and physical appearance. As alcohol misuse 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 misuse 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.
What Is Alcohol Use Disorder
For many people, alcohol has a strong effect but when consumed in a moderate amount, it is not unhealthy or dangerous. Over time though, excessive drinking can develop into alcohol use disorder , or more commonly known as alcoholism. AUD is characterized by cravings, physical and emotional dependence on alcohol, uncontrollable alcohol use, and negative emotions when not drinking. According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse , an estimated 15 million people in the United States have AUD.
AUD is a chronic, relapsing brain disorder that can lead to significant health problems, including liver damage, depression, high blood pressure, heart failure, and certain types of cancers. It can also result in negative life consequences, such as job loss, strained relationships with loved ones, and arrests or jail time.
You May Like: How To End Pornography Addiction
Binge Drinking And Alcohol Poisoning
While someone with alcoholism will tend to drink every day, others confine their drinking to short but heavy bursts. Binge drinking is often associated with young adults and college students who drink heavily at parties and then abstain for the rest of the week. However, plenty of older adults also binge drink, especially those over 65. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. reports that one in six adults binge drinks at least four times a month.
Binge drinking is defined as drinking so much that your blood alcohol level reaches the legal limit of intoxication within a couple of hours. For men, that means consuming five or more drinks within about two hours, and for women, four or more drinks within a similar period. These levels can be easy to hit if you sink shots, play drinking games, drink cocktails containing multiple servings of alcohol, or otherwise lose track of your intake.
Other indication that you may have a binge-drinking problem include drinking excessively at weekends, holidays, and special occasions, frequently drinking more than you planned, and often forgetting what you said or did while drinking.
Youre Constantly Trying To Justify Or Rationalize Using To Yourself
Sometimes we look at people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, and we ask ourselves how did they get this way?. The truth is that addiction gets as bad as it does because of justification and rationalization.
No one wants to admit that they are addicted, even in the early stages of addiction. Excuses and reasons are developed and carried throughout the addiction.
If you find yourself saying things like:
I can quit when I want.
Im just taking this because Im stressed.
If I didnt use it, Id lose my mind.
I can handle this, and it will be okay.
Justifying and rationalizing drinking or using is a big red flag that there is an addiction insidiously growing from within. Patricia Sullivan, MD MPH
Also Check: 12 Core Function Of Addiction Counseling
How Much Alcohol Is Too Much
Alcohol adversely affects health in a range of ways and there is no definitively safe lower limit no level of regular alcohol consumption improves health. The Department of Health and Social Care recommends that both men and women dont drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week. One UK unit is equivalent to 10ml of pure alcohol, which is the amount that an average healthy adult can break down in around one hour.
These are examples of what one unit of alcohol looks like:
- Half a pint of lager at 3.6% ABV
- One single measure of spirit at 40% ABV
- One half of a standard medium glass of wine, at 12% ABV
For anyone consuming the maximum weekly amount, guidelines advise that these units are spread over three or more days. If you want to cut down on the amount youre drinking, its healthier to have a few? non-drinking days per week.
Recent studies, like this one in the Lancet, highlighted the fact that no amount of alcohol consumption can be deemed as entirely safe.
You Want To Stop But Can’t
Maybe you’ve been concerned enough that you’ve already thought about or actually tried to cut down on your drinking — and it didn’t happen. Alcohol masks unhappy emotions, so those feelings may come back when you quit drinking, making it harder to stick to your goal. If you try to abstain, but then obsess over alcohol or switch to another drug or behavior, that’s a red flag.
You May Like: Uab Beacon Addiction Treatment Center
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.
Also Check: Can People Get Addicted To Marijuana
Relapse Is Part Of The Process
Relapse is common among people who overcome alcohol problems. People with drinking problems are most likely to relapse during periods of stress or when exposed to people or places associated with past drinking.
Just as some people with diabetes or asthma may have flare-ups of their disease, a relapse to drinking can be seen as a temporary setback to full recovery and not a complete failure. Seeking professional help can prevent relapsebehavioral therapies can help people develop skills to avoid and overcome triggers, such as stress, that might lead to drinking. Most people benefit from regular checkups with a treatment provider. Medications also can deter drinking during times when individuals may be at greater risk of relapse .
Mental Health Issues and Alcohol Use Disorder
Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand with heavy drinking. Studies show that people who are alcohol dependent are two to three times as likely to suffer from major depression or anxiety over their lifetime. When addressing drinking problems, its important to also seek treatment for any accompanying medical and mental health issues.
Also Check: Bhg Opioid Addiction Treatment Center
Signs Youre Becoming Addicted To Something
Its easy to talk about addiction in a throwaway manner, as if just liking something quite a lot classifies you as an addict. Spoiler: it doesnt. 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 youre 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, its now no longer just substance abuse on the table when we talk about addicts.
If youre 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.
You May Like: What Are The Signs Of Opiate Addiction
Take Care Of Yourself Along The Way
When someone you care about is struggling with an alcohol use disorder, it can be frustrating and stressful, especially when they do not seek help as quickly as you would like them to. We often think we know what is best for the people we love and we want to help in any way we can. The reality of the situation is that you cant force them to get help. They have to choose to do so on their own.
What you can do is provide them with resources and support. You can show them how much you care and want them to get help. And, you can take care of yourself by seeking counseling to manage your stress and frustration over the situation. Getting help from a counselor will allow you to be as emotionally strong and supportive as you can be for your loved ones during their time of need.
If you feel that you need extra support during these difficult times, the counseling staff at The Summit Wellness Group is here to help. Call us 24/7 at 770-299-1677.
Don’t Miss: Can You Get Addicted To Depression Meds
Alcoholism Symptoms And Warning Signs
Get confidential help 24/7. Call now for:
- Access to licensed treatment centers
- Information on treatment plans
Addiction Center is not affiliated with any insurance.
Common Questions About Rehab
Am I covered for addiction treatment?
Have a confidential, completely free conversation with a treatment provider about your financial options.
What Happens If You Drink Every Day
It goes without saying that alcoholism is dangerous and can have severe effects on a persons health. Alcohol abuse can lead to serious health complications. It can put a persons life at risk.
Alcohol can affect many different organs of the body, and not just the liver. Addicted individuals may suffer from stroke, fatty liver disease , cirrhosis, arrhythmias, fibrosis, and weakened immune system.
It also affects a persons mental health. Addicted individuals may suffer from worsened mental health. These mental health effects go hand in hand with the physical symptoms. They may experience symptoms such as depression, anxiety, cravings, irritability, sleep disorders, and panic attacks.
If you drink every day for a long period of time, you will eventually experience some serious diseases caused by long term alcohol abuse. It will damage your heart, liver, kidneys, vascular system, and your gastrointestinal tract. These damages may contribute to the development of chronic diseases.
Here are some of the diseases associated with chronic alcohol abuse: cardiovascular disease, anemia, cancer, cirrhosis, depression, gout, dementia, high blood pressure, seizures, pancreatitis, and nerve damage.
Read Also: How To Talk To An Addict About Getting Help