For many people, the lines aren’t always so clear, especially when everyone around them seems to be binge drinking, drinking on a daily basis or glamorizing alcohol use.
Social drinking can easily progress into a psychological, or even physical, dependence over time, as it becomes habitually ingrained in our behavioral patterns.
Suddenly, we drink to be more interesting, drink to make others more interesting, drink for courage in social settings, drink to give ourselves a boost of energy, or drink to cover up negative feelings like pain, depression or anxiety.
Prior to an addiction to alcohol, there is generally a prolonged time period when the social drinker finds that he or she is drinking more frequently, experiencing more adverse effects and is slightly losing control.
Alcohol abusers start showing signs like drinking and driving, participating in dangerous activities while under the influence, continuing to drink even when problems with friends or family happen as a result of alcohol consumption and getting into physical fights. Drinking alcohol begins to interfere with not only social relations, but also obligations at work and school, and in some cases, drinking may even land an individual in legal trouble. These are early warning signs that alcohol use is crossing over into alcohol abuse.
The next stage is alcohol addiction, or as it is sometimes called, alcoholism or alcohol dependency.
Now the drinker loses all control and the physiological/psychological effects of alcohol surface. Drinkers find that they’re consuming more than they originally intended to, find that they can’t stop or cut back drinking, and find that they need to drink more to get drunk. They may have trouble sleeping, have shaky hands, sweating, nauseousness, nervousness or the feeling of bugs crawling all over them. They likely drink or take medication to avoid hangovers and continue drinking alcohol to cover up sadness, anger or anxiety. The binge drinking bouts become progressively longer and the individual often loses interest in all other hobbies in favor of drinking.
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- What is alcoholism?
- Alcohol & Medication Interactions
- Alcohol intervention may help.
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