There are varying forms of alcohol addiction and it can present itself in different ways. For some people it might be drinking large amounts of alcohol each day and for others it could be frequent binge drinking. Over time a person can build up a physical dependence to alcohol which means that their body will rely on having alcohol in their system in order to function, and therefore if they were to stop drinking it would lead to withdrawal symptoms and actually be very dangerous. If an average male is drinking approximately 100 units per week he is likely to become physically dependent, and for women they it would be drinking approximately 70 units per week.
However, even if someone is not physically dependent on alcohol they could still have a psychological dependence on it. This could be through binge drinking or even if you just need to have a drink after work to relax yourself, in the long term this can still cause you health problems and may eventually lead to physical dependency.
Long term effects of alcohol addiction include severe health problems such as cirrhosis of the liver, cancer and can contribute to the conditions that cause diabetes. Alcohol can also have an effect your sleep, increase your stress and anxiety and have a negative impact on your relationships.
One way to recognise if someone is addicted to alcohol is to monitor their drinking, if they are drinking in excess of the government guidelines, using alcohol to unwind and relax or if they are binge drinking regularly then they could be addicted. A useful way to recognise whether someone is physically dependent on alcohol is to see whether they experience withdrawal symptoms in the absence of alcohol.
The main withdrawal symptoms that someone can experience when they are physically addicted to alcohol are sweats, shakes, nausea, agitation, difficulty sleeping and hallucinations. Withdrawal from alcohol can also lead to someone have a seizure, which can cause brain damage and in some cases be fatal. It is important that if someone is considering stopping drinking that they seek advice and support first as they could be potentially be putting themselves at risk and require a medicated detoxification from the alcohol.
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