Alcohol and Alcoholism


When someone is dependent on or addicted to alcohol, they’re suffering from alcoholism. Those who have alcoholism will strongly crave alcohol and struggle to keep their drinking under control.

Alcoholics’ bodies get used to heavy drinking and they become more tolerant to alcohol’s effects. This means larger and larger volumes of alcohol are needed for the person to feel intoxicated.

After a period of sustained heavy drinking, the body will experience withdrawal symptoms if alcohol is not drunk and this is a key feature of alcoholism. These symptoms include feeling sick or vomiting, sweating and trembling. Because these symptoms can be so bad, some alcoholics end up drinking to stop them.

Signs that you or someone you know is suffering from alcoholism include:

  • Craving alcohol every day, even in the morning
  • Drinking when you’re alone
  • Having a drink to stop trembling
  • Making plans based around where alcohol will be available
  • Losing interest in areas of life such as hobbies and work
  • Relationship problems caused by drinking

It is not clear-cut why people develop alcoholism and there can be a number of causes. Some people are thought to be pre-disposed to the condition to an extent, whilst others may fall into it because of personal circumstances that they struggle to cope with. Some people turn to alcohol and become dependent as a reaction to stress.

If you want to get control of your alcoholism, one treatment option is detox. This is where you stop drinking under medical supervision. Medication helps to manage the side-effects of alcohol withdrawal. The medication does not stop the cravings and mental/emotional reliance on drink though. For this, therapy and counselling helps many people to stop drinking in the long-term.

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