When Alcohol Abuse Turns into Alcohol Dependency

AlcoholAlcoholism or alcohol dependency begins as alcohol abuse. It involves all the signs and symptoms related to alcohol abuse. But, the glaring difference is that when you have alcoholism, you are also physically dependent on alcohol. Simply put, if you use alcohol to properly go about your day or because you feel compelled physically to drink, there’s no doubt about it—you are an alcoholic.

The First Critical Sign of Alcoholism—Tolerance

Do you drink excessive amounts of alcohol just to take off the edge and feel that buzz? Can you drink more alcohol than other people and not get drunk? If yes, you may be displaying an early sign of alcohol dependency. This means that your tolerance for alcohol has leveled up and you need more each time you drink to get that buzz.

The Second Critical Sign of Alcoholism—Withdrawal

If you feel always on the edge before you’ve had your alcohol fix, this could be a major red flag. When you drink excessive amounts of alcohol, your body will get used to its effects and will manifest physical withdrawal symptoms without alcohol in your bloodstream. These withdrawal symptoms usually include:

  • Trembling or shakes
  •  Jumpiness or anxiety
  •  Severe sweating
  •  Vomiting and nausea
  •  Insomnia
  •  Extreme irritability
  •  Fatigue
  •  Appetite loss
  •  Headaches
  •  Depression

Further, in more serious cases, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include extreme agitation, confusion, fever, seizures, and hallucinations. These are very dangerous symptoms and should be addressed as soon as possible.

Other Symptoms of Alcohol Dependency

  •  You can control your drinking.
  •  You feel you can’t quit drinking even if you want to.
  •  You neglect other activities you find enjoyable before you got into heavy drinking.
  •  Drinking alcohol uses up majority of your focus and energy.
  •  You still drink even if it’s causing relationship problems—with your spouse, family, friends, etc.

While it is very understandable how extremely difficult it is to quit drinking when you’re already dependent on alcohol, it is possible. StepsRC.com suggests entering an alcohol rehab facility or going to therapy depending on the severity of your alcoholism. If your approach does not work, look for something else and try that.

Setbacks are bound to happen in your road to recovery and if this happens, just get yourself back on track and try again.

About the Author

As a New York-based psychologist. Thelma Scott has conducted several seminars tackling adult autism.