The Oxford dictionary defines addiction as, ‘the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity’. To be addicted to something is to be physically or mentally dependent on it. When we talk of addiction, we usually speak of things like:
- illicit drugs
- prescription drugs
- sex, gambling, other behaviours.
For some reason, we tend to talk of alcoholism in another light. We tend not to think of alcoholism as an addiction to alcohol. But it is. The alcoholic is both physically and mentally dependent on his or her drug of choice, just as though they were using crack or heroin. The main difference with alcohol is that it is a both a socially acceptable and legal substance.
A Slow Process
In many cases, alcohol addiction is difficult to identify because of how slowly it comes on. Think of it this way: how old were you when you had your first drink? In Europe, it’s not uncommon for young kids to have a sip of beer or a taste of wine at a fairly early age. It is also not uncommon for alcohol to be a normal part of a meal.
Yet how many alcoholics do you know who began drinking specifically with the goal of becoming dependent on alcohol? None. No alcohol addict ever starts out that way. He or she starts out by having one or two drinks with friends in a seemingly harmless environment.
For most of us, those first couple of drinks never lead to anything serious. Nevertheless, for about 7% of the adult population, that’s not the case. For these people, that first drink starts them down the road to alcohol addiction.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of alcoholism is important for identifying it in yourself or someone else. We have detailed those signs and symptoms on our ‘Am I an Alcoholic?’ page, but here is a short list:
- planning social gatherings around alcohol
- being worried about where the next drink is coming from
- lying about drinking habits to others
- drinking first thing in the morning
- needing greater amounts of alcohol to achieve the same effect.
Knowing When to Stop
After reading that short list of symptoms, you might be concerned you have a drinking problem. If so, there is one sure-fire way to know. Do you know when to stop?
Various government and health agencies have set guidelines regarding what qualifies as moderate alcohol use and what crosses the line into abuse. However, simply put, if you do not know when to stop drinking you may already be on the road to alcoholism – if you’re not already there.
Alcohol addiction is a serious problem but one that can be overcome. Alcohol Help is here to make that happen. Please get in touch with us today if you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse. We work with the best private rehab clinics in the country; we will get you into a program that can help you.
All of our clinics are staffed by caring and fully trained professionals who help alcoholics regain control of their lives. The help you need is just a phone call or e-mail away. Please do not wait. The sooner you get in touch with us, the sooner we can help break the alcohol addiction cycle.