Alcohol Dependency

Written by Christa Gatewood
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Alcohol dependency is not a disease you are simply born with; it is a problem that is developed over time. Many people drink alcohol socially and moderately without any negative effects. However, some people abuse alcohol and drink too much and too often. For them drinking alcohol becomes a way of life and a necessity. Over time the necessity will become a physical and/or emotional dependency.

Identifying Alcohol Dependency

Alcohol dependency is characterized by a few telltale symptoms. First, people who are alcohol dependent usually have a very high tolerance for alcohol. When the body is continuously exposed to a foreign substance like alcohol, over time the body will become used to that substance and it will take more of it to produce the same effects. A second sign of dependency is that the body will experience withdrawal symptoms when it cannot get alcohol. Typically these symptoms will begin to appear six to 48 hours after the last drink. They can include nausea, tremors, seizures, and hallucinations.

Other signs of alcohol dependency may not be as obvious as the aforementioned signs. These signs may be more emotional than physical. An alcohol dependent person might not be "him or herself" without having a drink first. He/She might not be able to get up in the morning without a drink. He/She might need a drink to do seemingly mundane things like getting dressed. These are all indicators that someone is more than a social drinker; he/she is an alcoholic.

Consequences of Alcohol Dependency

Alcohol dependency has serious physical repercussions besides the obvious social and professional repercussions. As many as half of the patients hospitalized in America are there because of alcohol-related illnesses. Probably the single greatest health risk for alcoholics is liver disease. Alcohol abuse also contributes to heart disease, cancer, and strokes, the top three causes of death in this country.


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