Alcoholics are unable to control their relationship with alcohol. They are not in control of when to drink, the amount ingested, the number of glasses drunk on each occasion. When you suffer from alcoholism, you continue to drink even when you know perfectly well that alcohol causes relationship, health, work or economic problems.
It is possible to have a problem in the relationship with alcohol without necessarily suffering from all the symptoms of alcoholism: this situation is known as alcohol abuse and means that, by drinking a lot, you create problems in life, without however being completely addicted to alcohol. If you suffer from alcoholism or alcohol abuse, there is a risk of not being able to stop or reduce the quantities without resorting to outside help
Physical dependence on alcohol does not appear suddenly, but, over time, excessive alcohol consumption changes the balance of brain neurotransmitters connected to the pleasure of drinking. Long-term alcohol abuse can change the balance of these chemicals, causing the body to crave alcohol to feel good or to avoid negative feelings.
Among the risk factors for alcoholism we remember:
- Prolonged alcohol intake: Drinking too much and regularly for a long time can cause physical dependence on alcohol.
- Age: Those who start drinking at a young age are at greater risk of addiction or abuse.
- Gender: Men are at greater risk of addiction than women, however women are at greater risk of suffering from diseases related to drinking, such as liver disease.
- Family history: The risk of alcoholism is higher among those with an alcoholic parent.
- Depression and other mental disorders: Alcohol abuse is common among those suffering from mental disorders.
- Social and cultural factors: Having friends or partner who drink regularly can increase the risk of alcoholism.
The main symptoms felt are:
- Inability to limit the amount of alcohol you consume
- Urgent need to drink;
- Development of alcohol tolerance: to feel its effects, you need to drink more;
Legal, relationship, work or economic problems due to drinking;
- Drinking alone or in secret;
- Physiological withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating and tremor, when not drinking
Inability to remember conversations or commitments made
Ritual: drinking at specific times becomes a ritual and you feel upset if someone disturbs you, or forces you to give up or points out that something is wrong;Loss of interest in the activities and hobbies they once enjoyed.
Irritability when it comes to drinking, especially if you don’t have alcohol on hand
Alcohol stored in unlikely places, at home, in the workplace or in the car;
Drinking glasses after glasses, asking for an encore, intentionally getting drunk to feel better or feel “normal”.