What is alcohol dependence?
When someone is alcohol dependant, they will have an overwhelming feeling of needing to drink- they think they cannot function without alcohol. Alcohol will become someone’s number 1 priority – sometimes even before important things like their family, work or friends. Drinking this much can be very dangerous.
How can I tell if I’m dependent on alcohol?
You may be shocked to hear that you do not need to drink lots of alcohol to be a dependant drinker.
The early signs to look out for if you think you might be alcohol dependant are:
- Not being able to get through your daily activities without alcohol
- Finding it tricky to control the amount you drink
- When alcohol makes you do bad things, but you still cannot stop
- Craving alcohol
- People warn you about your drinking habits
What causes alcohol dependence?
There can be many reasons why someone can become dependent on alcohol.
It can down to your genes- alcohol dependence can run in families. It can also be to do with the attitudes of your friends and family around alcohol. They may pressure you to drink or have alcohol freely available to you, making it easier for you to drink regularly.
When people go through something stressful like a death of someone or losing their job, they may be triggered to start drinking more.
People with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety may also become alcohol dependant. Did you know that although some people drink to make themselves feel better, actually alcohol changes the chemical balance in our brains so will actually make you feel worse in the long run?
Why is alcohol dependence a problem?
Drinking alcohol can lead to a range of serious health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, cancer of the mouth, bowel and throat and liver damage. Being dependent on alcohol is likely to increase your risks of these.
People who are dependent on alcohol often experience poor mental health too because they can develop feelings of anxiety and depression.
It can also affect people’s relationships and work and mean they have financial problems.
When someone who is alcohol dependant tries to stop drinking, they have some physical withdrawal symptoms like shaking, sweating or feeling sick. In this situation it can be dangerous to stop drinking completely or too quickly without medical support.
How can I get support?
If you think you may be dependent on alcohol, you should speak to your doctor or refer yourself for support at: Dudley, Here4YOUth.
Dudley Here4YOUth offers a safe space for young people to talk about how they feel and make positive lifestyle changes. The service can help with anything from improving mental health, advice and information on drugs and alcohol, goal setting and signposting and referral.
If you wish to self-referral for this service, please use the following link: https://cranstoun.org/help-and-advice/young-people/referral-form/