When Occasional Drinking Turns into Alcohol Dependency


Having a glass of wine or your favorite beer can feel like slipping into a comfortable pair of jeans. You quickly feel relaxed and more at ease with yourself and the world. Perhaps your alcohol use started by having a cocktail with friends to unwind, or as a tonic at the end of a stressful day. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying alcohol in this way. However, if over time, you notice that your occasional nice-to-have drink turns into everyday alcohol consumption, this may be a warning sign of alcohol dependency in the making.


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Stages of Alcohol Dependency

Another sign of alcohol chemical dependency is if you find yourself drinking in amounts beyond the current guidelines for alcohol consumption. Previously, you may have enjoyed one or two drinks per day, but now you need 3 or 4 to begin feeling the pleasurable effects that you once did when you started drinking. This is an indication that your body has developed tolerance toward alcohol, another warning sign of alcohol dependency.

Once you start drinking on a regular basis, it’s possible to become physically addicted to alcohol. As  the time passes since your last drink, your body and brain may start craving alcohol. Craving occurs when you feel such a strong desire for a drink that you have a hard time thinking of anything else. You obsess over when and where you’ll have your next drink. This is yet another warning sign of alcoholism.

At this stage, if you go without alcohol for a while, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. According to the American Psychiatric Association, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can occur 4-12 hours after a period of heavy drinking. These symptoms may include hand tremors, insomnia, increased pulse rate, sweating, and anxiety. Experiencing withdrawal is another sign of alcohol dependency.


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Warning Signs of Alcoholism

Regular alcohol consumption may affect people differently depending on their personality, genetic factors, family history, and various health factors. However, the warning signs of alcoholism are quite consistent and range from frequent hangovers and blackouts to needing a drink first thing in the morning.

If you want to know how to stop obsessing about your alcohol consumption, the answer is you need to stop drinking, go through withdrawal, and be very careful about developing a drinking habit again. However, this is a very difficult thing for most people to do on their own because of the powerful addictive properties of alcohol. One of the reasons alcohol consumption is so addictive is because it causes the release of “feel good” chemicals (known as endorphins) in the brain. As you become addicted to alcohol, it becomes harder to find pleasure from other things.

If you want to stop drinking, you need to not only withdraw physically from alcohol, you need to learn how to find life enjoyable without intoxication. For many people, this requires working with a professional therapist. Various types of addiction therapies are available to help you achieve this.

Addressing alcohol dependency before it takes a serious toll on your health and life is the smartest thing you can do. Call 800-839-1686Who Answers? today to speak with a specialist who can talk with you about treatment options.


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