Alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol abuse, occurs when you become physically dependent on alcohol. Once you reach this point, it is extremely difficult to get treatment and recover from the addiction. Alcoholism also has more severe long-term effects caused by the alcohol as opposed to alcohol abuse. However, if you are showing signs of alcohol abuse and have not yet become dependent on the substance, there is still a chance to prevent alcoholism.
Many people confuse the difference between alcohol abuse and addiction, but they are actually quite different. Alcohol abuse occurs when you are drinking heavily, though you have yet to become physically dependent and “addicted” to the alcohol. Alcohol abuse can lead to addiction if you don’t get proper treatment and if you meet any of the risk factors for alcoholism, this is a significant risk for you.
With alcohol abuse, you are drinking heavily also known as binge drinking. You know the negative consequences of your heavy drinking, but have no desire to cut back. You may show signs like taking risks while drinking, blacking out, or showing aggression while under the influence. However, you have not yet become addicted or are letting the alcohol use run your life. Alcohol addiction is more severe and occurs when you are completely dependent on the alcohol. You feel out of control, like you can’t control when and how much you drink, and see what it is doing to you but are unable to stop drinking. You have probably attempted to quit drinking but have failed and let the alcohol run your life.
Before getting into the ways to prevent alcohol addiction, you should first be aware of the risk factors for addiction. There are certain qualities and lifestyles a person has that make them more susceptible to alcoholism. If you meet any of these risk factors, you need treatment immediately to avoid addiction. Common risk factors for alcohol addiction include drinking heavy for a long period of time or binge drinking, building up a tolerance for alcohol, starting to drink or use drugs at a young age, having a family history of substance abuse, a history of abuse, neglect or childhood trauma, a mental disorder like anxiety, depression, bipolar, post-traumatic stress disorder or schizophrenia, using drugs aside from the alcohol, mixing prescription pills with drinking and being around others who drink heavily.
Anyone showing signs of alcohol abuse should seek treatment right away to avoid and prevent alcohol addiction. The following are the most common signs of alcohol abuse.
- Blacking out while drinking and not remembering what occurred while drinking.
- Physical altercations while drinking.
- Using alcohol for mood altering, such as cheering up, relaxing after a stressful day or to enjoy yourself at a party.
- Withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, such as headaches, nausea, insomnia an anxiety.
- Preferring to drink alone and/or hiding your drinking.
- Having intense cravings for alcohol.
- Beginning to drink more in order to feel the same effects; the beginning signs of dependence.
To prevent alcohol addiction, you should first recognize that you have a drinking problem and are probably showing signs of abuse. Educate yourself on the dangers of drinking, especially if it leads to alcoholism. The following tips will help you to prevent alcohol addiction.
- Attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meetings; this will help you beat the alcohol abuse and recover from alcohol as well as understanding how difficult it would be to quit if it leads to addiction.
- Consider why you are drinking in the first place. If you drink to cover emotions, try to find another way to handle those emotions and stresses. You may also notice triggers for drinking more heavily which you can work to avoid.
- Visit a local rehab center. If you are abusing alcohol, you need to start getting treatment. Don’t wait until you become addicted and it is that much harder to quit.
- Find a support group. If you don’t want to attend AA, you can still find a support group for those who are abusing alcohol and have not yet reached addiction or alcoholism.