It is not uncommon to use the terms “alcohol dependence” and “alcohol addiction” interchangeably. When that happens, it leads to confusion because, even though these issues are closely related, there are differences. Learn more about what dependence is, how to know if you suffer from it, and reducing the risk factors. Atlanta Detox Center is here to help you understand more about alcohol dependence and how to treat it through an alcohol addiction treatment program.
Defining Alcohol Dependence
Many consider alcohol dependence to be the most serious drinking condition. This is because when you are dependent on alcohol, it leads to a strong or uncontrollable need to drink. For those who suffer from this condition, alcohol plays an essential part in that person’s daily life. This could lead to the build-up of physical tolerances, as well as experiencing withdrawals should they decide to stop while they are at an alcohol detox center program.
Excessive levels of alcohol use is not always a contributing factor to those who are alcohol dependent. However, if you find yourself “needing” a bottle of wine during or after a meal most nights, or you head to the bar after work nightly, that could develop into a long-term problem. Those who find it challenging to enjoy everyday life or relax without drinking could be psychologically dependent. Once psychological dependence occurs, physical alcohol dependence can also follow.
Warning Signs To Look For
If you believe that you or a loved one is developing alcohol dependence, there are specific warning signs you can look for, including:
- Planning social events with co-workers or family around alcohol or worrying where you are going to get your next drink
- Feeling like you have a compulsive need to drink and, once you start, it is difficult to stop
- Wanting to drink as soon as you wake up or feeling like you need to drink early in the morning
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms, like nausea, shaking, or sweating, that stop as soon as you take a drink
The Cause of Alcohol Dependence
No one sets out to develop alcohol dependence. Instead, this is something that happens due to a variety of factors. For example, there could be a family history of alcohol dependence. Part of this is due to the environment you grew up in, as well as your genes.
Another contributing factor to heavy drinking could be a stressful event, such as the loss of a loved one or if job loss occurs. Those events resulting in heavy drinking could lead to alcohol dependence. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, when people have alcohol dependence, they might continue drinking to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Dependence
If you believe that you are at risk for developing alcohol dependence, there are some ways to reduce these risk factors. First, try to take breaks from drinking alcohol regularly. That way, you are lowing your risk for dependency. When individuals consume alcohol regularly, that contributes to building up a tolerance. The more you drink, the more tolerance builds up, and the more you want to continue using alcohol. Next, understand the risk factors that contribute to alcohol dependence. They are as follows:
- At least once per week, you consume more than five drinks
- You consume more than 15 drinks weekly (for men)
- You consume more than 12 drinks weekly (for women)
- If you are a young adult suffering from peer pressure
- You have a parent suffering from alcohol use disorder
- You have low self-esteem or experience high-stress levels
- If you suffer from anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, or another mental health issue
How Atlanta Detox Center Can Help
If you have worries that you are a loved one is suffering from alcohol dependence, you are not alone in these struggles. No one should have to experience these worries without the best help and support. Now is the time to contact our residential treatment program at 833.631.0534 to express your concerns and learn about what we can do to help.