Author: Gary Jackson

Alcoholism: Causes, Risk Factors, and Symptoms

From “What is the healthiest beer?” to “What are the happiest countries in the world?” to “Where is Punta Cana?”, we’re striving to find answers to the most common questions you ask every day. Head to our Just Curious section to see what else we can answer for you. The preoccupation stage refers to when a person becomes preoccupied with consuming alcohol next. Unlike cocaine or heroin, alcohol is widely available and accepted in many cultures.

The changes can endure long after a person stops consuming alcohol, and can contribute to relapse in drinking. Many people who seek treatment are able to overcome the addiction. A strong support system is helpful for making a complete recovery. Typically, a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder doesn’t require any other type of diagnostic test. There’s a chance your doctor may order blood work to check your liver function if you show signs or symptoms of liver disease.

Impact on your health

And these communities make the person with an alcohol addiction accountable and provide a place to turn to if there is a relapse. Physical alcohol addiction occurs when the body becomes dependent on it and requires more alcoholic substances to experience its effects. Alcohol tolerance, cravings, and withdrawal symptoms are all signs of physical addiction.

Friends and family members of people who have an alcohol addiction can benefit from professional support or by joining programs like Al-Anon. In order for treatment to work, the person with an alcohol addiction must want to get sober. These complications are reasons why it’s important to treat alcohol addiction early. Nearly all risks involved with alcohol addiction may be avoidable or treatable, with successful long-term recovery. As an addiction tends to get worse over time, it’s important to look for early warning signs. If identified and treated early, someone with an alcohol addiction may be able to avoid major consequences of the disease.

Common Questions on Alcohol Addiction

Psychological, genetic, and behavioral factors can all contribute to having the disease. It activates reward circuits in the brain, leading to a feeling of euphoria, which can be habit-forming. It also interacts with neurotransmitter systems in stress and reward circuits, which can lead to brain function changes over time and contribute to alcoholism. Almost all treatment programs view alcohol dependence as a chronic, progressive disease, and most programs insist on complete abstinence from alcohol and other drugs.

  • Those who drink regularly may develop physical dependence, increased tolerance, and adverse side effects.
  • Too much alcohol affects your speech, muscle coordination and vital centers of your brain.
  • Using alcohol during adolescence (from preteens to mid-20s) may affect brain development, making it more likely that they will be diagnosed with AUD later in life.

If you think you or someone you care about has a problem with alcohol, learn more about the disease and ask your doctor for help. It also has some stimulant effects, Addiction Center says, especially if consumed in small quantities. Stimulants are defined as drugs that produce an abundance of dopamine and can have effects like euphoria, talkativeness, energy, difficulty sleeping and increased pulse and blood pressure. As a loved one of someone with an alcohol addiction, try to be encouraging and provide emotional support. If you’re worried that someone you know has an alcohol addiction, it’s best to approach them in a supportive way.