Alcohol Dependence – What are the Signs?

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alcohol dependence

Over half of the population in the United States drinks alcohol on a regular basis. Alcohol dependence and abuse affect nearly 30% of the population. Almost half of those numbers suffer from alcohol dependence. Most people affected are unable to overcome this dependence on their own, but need , such as from a qualified treatment center.

Alcohol Dependence versus Alcohol Abuse

Both alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence share many characteristics. However, the abuser can stop drinking, while those individuals who are dependent are not generally able to. Whereas the one who abuses alcohol can resist an offered drink, the person who is dependent usually cannot.

Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse can typically be identified by certain behaviors and choices, including:

  • -High risk drinking
  • -Drinking despite problems it causes
  • -Consuming large amounts of alcohol
  • -Drinking that affect responsibilities or health

With normal alcohol use, the drinker doesn’t feel a specific need to drink, and can stop whenever so choosing, as there is no physical dependence on alcohol involved. Continuing to abuse alcohol can lead to alcohol dependence.

Symptoms of Alcohol Dependence

Those with alcohol dependence exhibit the same symptoms as those who abuse alcohol. The difference is that the former are also physically dependent on alcohol. Dependency symptoms may include:

  • -A strong craving, or urge to drink
  • -Being unable to stop once drinking begins
  • -Increased tolerance to alcohol
  • -Withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit
  • -Trying to quit but unable to follow through Those who are physically dependent on alcohol may try to quit more than once, but are unable to by themselves because the withdrawal symptoms become too much to bear.

Withdrawal from Alcohol

Alcohol withdrawal is a painful process that can be deadly in certain cases. This is not a reason to keep drinking, rather an indication that it is important to be admitted into a qualified detox facility to receive treatment for withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol dependence include:

  • -Anxiety, depression
  • -Irritability, mood swings
  • -Tremors, shakiness
  • -Loss of appetite, gastrointestinal problems
  • -Clamminess, sweating.

In severe cases, withdrawal also includes the DTs, or delirium tremors. Symptoms of this dangerous condition include:

  • -Agitation
  • -Extreme confusion/delirium
  • -Rapid heartrate -Hallucinations
  • -Fever
  • -Seizures

DTs can be dangerous or even fatal, so those who are undergoing withdrawal from alcohol dependence need to be medically supervised during the detoxification process.

Treatment for Alcohol Dependence

Scientifically proven treatment options can significantly increase the risk of success when overcoming alcohol dependence. A psychological assessment is performed to identify the root of the drinking problem, after which an individualized treatment plan is created and implemented. Individual and group therapy sessions maximize the effectiveness of treatment. 12 step and non 12 step recovery program offers the most effective means of treatment for overcoming the dependence on alcohol. Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to get to the core of the problems leading to drinking issues, while motivational enhancement therapy helps to repattern behaviors to prevent a recurrence of abuse of alcohol. Beautiful facilities, the most comfortable detox, dual diagnosis therapies, and Healthy Activities programs prepare the individual to return to real-life situations without returning to old drinking behaviors, and to remain free of alcohol for good.

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Comments

  1. Rita Hodges says

    I appreciate your story, but with all due respect I have to agree with Issueman09 on this one. I have been an advocate for recovery since 1985 with being in recovery myself with a few 24 hours and A.A. has saved my life. I’m also a third year student majoring in Psychology and I have been studying people’s behavior for many many years now and have done many research papers on the disease of alcoholism. I’m also my own radio talk show Host that specializes in topics such as this. Do you know that a man named Benjiman Rush, a famous philospher known for “Reason” was the first to discover the disease concept of alcoholism back in 1745. He said, “Those that would partake in the drink alcohol would create an imbalance of the nervous system bringing harm to oneself, and any individual with this problem should not touch, not dwell, nor smell and should remain in complete abstinence of this beverage.” To what has been discovered today as the disease of alcoholism being a brain disorder that it effects every part of the brain, with the alcoholic having a genetic gene called the DRD2 gene mingled in with the dopamine system that sets off your reward and pleasure system. And the non-alcoholic does not have this gene and this is scenitifically been proven and its important that alcoholics know this information in why they are different from a social drinker and will never become a social drinker. You can’t make an alcoholic into a social drinker and you can’t make a social drinker into an alcoholic. You either are or you aren’t. It’s that simple. Even if your a heavy drinker and not an alcoholic you will never be an alcoholic for that person can stop at anytime if he doesn’t have the gene. Yes, environment will play a part and when doesn’t environment play a part, but really thats not always the case with alcoholism because its not prejudice and will strike anyone from any walk of life, rich or poor, white or black, it doesn’t matter, one thing for sure its out to kill you, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but it will surly succeed if you let it and don’t seek help. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ritahodges Thurs nites at 7pm CT The Serenity Show

  2. j mac says

    a world of ignorance!? i was born allergic 2 alcohol !? probably !? perhaps !? have no scientific evidence 2 support this conclusion !? my opinion based on 20 yrs of experience ergo my ‘fact’. !? solution ! don’t drink alcohol !? that’s the nature of it.!? i’m sure there r many peeps born allergic to alcohol as to other substances they just don’t use them, simple huh!? so nature is not the problem ??? ‘ my inspiration ‘4 life was taken from me as a child this was replaced with depression !? unbeknown 2 the child !? cunning , baffling and powerful, eh !? thus the nightmare began !? spiritual malady ? sort that out ( 12 steps ) and yule staighten out mentally and physically ??!! and it’s all in the B/Book ? clear cut precise instructions ?! why can’t u peeps see this !?

  3. j mac says

    a world of ignorance!? i was born allergic 2 alcohol !? probably !? perhaps !? have no scientific evidence 2 support this conclusion !? my opinion based on 20 yrs of experience ergo my ‘fact’. !? solution ! don’t drink alcohol !? that’s the nature of it.!? i’m sure there r many peeps born allergic to alcohol as to other substances they just don’t use them, simple huh!? so nature is not the problem ??? ‘ my inspiration ‘4 life was taken from me as a child this was replaced with depression !? unbeknown 2 the child !? cunning , baffling and powerful, eh !? thus the nightmare began !? spiritual malady ? sort that out ( 12 steps ) and yule staighten out mentally and physically ??!! and it’s all in the B/Book ? clear cut precise instructions ?! why can’t u peeps see this !?

  4. Tim P. says

    Issueman79–this article was not written as an opinion piece and it is not meant to be a “be all end all” clinical. This piece was to demonstrate some of the thoughts and views behind the disease model. Perhaps the title of the article set the tone in your mind. Of course, there are genetic predispositions with addiction and alcoholism…I have a research degree in Psychology and have read about the studies done in twins concerning predisposition. However, if anything that I “offer” as an opinion, it is that people may focus way too much on the genetic and biological and not give shrift to the other factors that definitely play a role in the onset and development of addiciton.

    To answer your assertion about ego driven dishonesty….hardly. Ego inflation isn’t part of my program and never will be part of my program…10 years and still going strong here.

  5. Tim P. says

    Issueman79–this article was not written as an opinion piece and it is not meant to be a “be all end all” clinical. This piece was to demonstrate some of the thoughts and views behind the disease model. Perhaps the title of the article set the tone in your mind. Of course, there are genetic predispositions with addiction and alcoholism…I have a research degree in Psychology and have read about the studies done in twins concerning predisposition. However, if anything that I “offer” as an opinion, it is that people may focus way too much on the genetic and biological and not give shrift to the other factors that definitely play a role in the onset and development of addiciton.

    To answer your assertion about ego driven dishonesty….hardly. Ego inflation isn’t part of my program and never will be part of my program…10 years and still going strong here.

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