Dependence On Alcohol

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Alcohol Dependance

Alcohol addiction is a disease which can completely take over a person’s life. It can be compulsive and progressive and until the alcoholic admits there is a problem and stops drinking, it can be unstoppable. 

The condition can affect both their physical and mental health. Over time, your body becomes used to the large quantities and so you start to develop withdrawal symptoms three to eight hours after your last drink as the effects wear off. Withdrawal symptoms include feeling sick, trembling, sweating, craving for alcohol and just feeling awful. Convulsions can occur in a small number of cases.

So even if you want to stop drinking, it becomes more and more difficult because of the withdrawal symptoms. You therefore drink alcohol more regularly as you “depend” on it to prevent these symptoms.

If you do not have any more alcohol the withdrawal symptoms usually last between five and seven days but the craving for alcohol can persist longer. We do not recommend you stop drinking suddenly as this can, in some cases, lead to convulsions. The severity of dependence can vary; it can develop gradually and become more severe.

Alcohol Dependance Signs

  • Cognitive Symptoms.
  • Memory problems.
  • Inability to concentrate, or forgetful.
  • Poor judgement.
  • Seeing only the negative.
  • Anxious, or racing thoughts.
  • Constant worrying.
  • Emotional Symptoms of Alcohol Dependance

  • Moodiness.
  • Irritability or short temper.
  • Anxiety, agitation, or unable to relax.
  • Feeling overwhelmed, unable to cope, or losing motivation.
  • Sense of loneliness.
  • Depression, general unhappiness, low self-worth.
  • Physical Symptoms of Alcohol Dependance

  • Aches and pains.
  • Diarrhoea, or constipation.
  • Nausea, or dizziness.
  • Chest pain, or rapid heartbeat.
  • Loss of libido (sex drive).
  • Frequent colds, or lack of energy.
  • Behavioural Symptoms of Alcohol Dependance

  • Eating more or less.
  • Sleeping too much or too little.
  • Isolating from others.
  • Procrastinating, neglecting responsibilities, or loss of interest.
  • Nervous habits, e.g. nail-biting, increased smoking, etc.
  • Other Alcohol Dependence Symptoms

  • Smell of alcohol on breath, body or clothes.
  • Hiding alcohol in the house/car/workplace, etc.
  • Car accidents, or household accidents.
  • Falls, scrapes, scratches, bumps and bruises.
  • Changing routines, new crowd of friends, new hang-outs, or avoiding old friends.
  • Friends who are heavy drinkers.
  • Paranoia, or suspiciousness.
  • Unexplained need for money, can’t explain where money goes, or even theft.
  • Financial or legal problems, or police involvement.
  • Thoughts of self-harming, thoughts of suicide, or thoughts of ‘ending it all’.

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    About the author

    Peter Szczepanski

    Pete has been on the GPhC register for 29 years. He holds a Clinical Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice and he is a Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Misuse for The Hygrove and works as the Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Use in Worcestershire. To read more about Pete visit his LinkedIn profile.