A glass of wine after a long day or a round of drinks with friends to celebrate can be great ways to unwind. In fact, each year, the average adult in the United States will consume over eight liters of alcohol.
But too much of a good thing can cause major problems.
If you or a loved one seem to be drinking more than normal, you may become reliant on alcohol. This condition, known as alcohol dependence, can affect almost every aspect of your life.
Keep reading for some telltale signs of alcohol dependence, as well as tips on what you can do to seek help.
Everyone feels the buzz associated with alcohol at a different point based on a variety of factors such as weight, height, athletic tendencies, and more.
But if you drink on a regular basis, your tolerance will slowly increase regardless of these factors. Where it once took you two drinks to feel a buzz, it now may take four or five.
This increased tolerance comes with major risks. You may think you’re fine to drive, for instance, putting your life and the lives of others at risk. You may also cause extreme harm to your liver, which can ultimately lead to disease or liver failure.
Slow down. If it’s taking more drinks to feel the effects of drinks, you may be addicted to alcohol.
Use of Alcohol as a Coping Mechanism
In truth, everyone self-medicates in one fashion or another. With that said, some techniques and habits are healthier than others.
Running, for instance, is a healthy way to reduce stress. Drinking, on the other hand, is quite the opposite.
Next time you or a loved one ingest multiple drinks, check your reasoning. If you’re doing so to hide a feeling or cope with something, that’s a sign of a bigger issue.
Alcohol doesn’t only affect the liver, it affects the brain, too. Much of the damage caused by alcohol is even permanent.
Regular excessive drinking can impact a person’s ability to speak and think, and can also impair motor functions like reaction time and walking.
Over time, regular use can even change the brain’s chemistry, worsening pre-existing symptoms of mood conditions like depression or anxiety.
Changes in Appearance
Behavioral changes aren’t the only manifestations to keep an eye out for. A person’s physical appearance changes when they’re addicted to alcohol, as well.
Facial swelling, dry skin, and yellowed eyes and skin (caused by liver damage) are just some of the dangerous symptoms to look for. Over time, many of these symptoms worsen, causing a person to become almost unrecognizable.
Should a person try and detox to quit, other symptoms like shaking, frequent headaches, and blurred vision may occur.
What to do About Alcohol Dependence
If you or a loved one struggle with alcohol dependence, understand that there is hope for a better life. There’s no shame in asking for help, and doing so just may save your life.
Watch out for these signs. And should you need assistance recovering, take the first step toward a better life by contacting us today.