Alcohol addiction

Everything about alcohol addiction. What is it, what are the symptoms and what to do. 


Alcohol addiction

Alcoholism is the most common of all addictions. Because alcohol consumption is socially accepted, the boundary between problem drinking and addiction difficult to interpret. The risk of addiction is often underestimated. That is also why alcohol is called a silent killer: it is a disease that develops inconspicuously and can slowly lead to mental, physical decay. In some cases even death. Professional help can help you get rid of your problem.

Alcoholism develops gradually

Alcoholism develops gradually. Occasionally one starts with a drink for socializing, but over time the frequency of drinking increases and he or she uses secretly. Eventually, the person in question finds that he or she no longer functions properly without it alcohol. Behaviors are increasingly influenced by the drink and can lead to, among other things, dereliction of duty, neglect, arguments, memory disorders, lying and manipulation.

Alcohol addiction has multiple causes

Alcohol addiction is often caused by several factors. One of the causes is the hereditary factor. If addictive behavior runs in the family, a child has a high chance of becoming alcoholic later in life. Another cause is education; if children grow up in an environment where there is a lot of drinking, the threshold for them to start drinking is lower. In addition, we should not underestimate the element that alcohol is seen in society as something nice, cheerful, relaxing.

Stress, depression, insecurity and social compulsion

Stress, depression, insecurity and social coercion can also play a role in the development of alcohol addiction. Tolerance or habituation also occurs. This means that if you drink regularly, the effect is less with the same amount of alcohol. So you have to drink more to get tipsy or drunk. But a busy social life can also play a role. Think of many drinks and dinners, where alcohol is served.

When are you addicted?

We speak of an alcohol addiction when someone drinks more than the normal amount of alcoholic drink. If you drink more than two to three alcoholic drinks per day or if you drink a larger amount once a week (binge drinking), there is a good chance that you have an addiction.

Alcohol addiction can quickly reach adulthood and develops on three fronts:

Psychologically > developing an irresistible need for alcohol
Physically> develop an increasing tolerance towards alcohol
Social> functioning differently at work and in free time

Tolerance to alcohol

Someone who drinks a lot of alcohol develops an increasing tolerance towards alcohol. This means that larger amounts of drink are needed to get intoxicated. Withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, poor sleep and an anxious and tense feeling are increasingly occurring when someone does not alcohol drinks. To get rid of these symptoms, one drinks alcohol again and thus ends up in the vicious circle of an addiction. Long-term alcohol abuse causes major physical damage to vulnerable organs.

Impairment functioning

An alcohol addict no longer functions as it should. Alcohol consumption has shifted from an afterthought to the main thing in life. Maintaining alcohol addiction takes time and energy that can no longer be invested in work or the social environment. Agreements are not kept, looks are dulled, goals are not achieved and the feeling of loneliness is increased because people are busy hiding and denying the addiction. Ultimately, one ends up in a downward spiral that ends in a total lack of control.

    Consequences of an alcohol addiction

    There are a number of risks associated with alcohol consumption. The long-term effect of alcohol consumption is harmful to the mind and body. Examples include:

    • Social problems: As an alcoholic, you can quickly become aggressive, which can quickly get you into trouble with strangers, family, friends, work and the law.
    • Cancer: Frequent use of alcohol increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx and esophagus. When you also smoke, the risk of liver cancer and colon cancer is increased. In addition, women have an increased risk of breast cancer.
    • Fertility: alcohol reduces fertility in both men and women. 
    • Brain damage: Alcohol consumption can cause nerve cells in the brain to have less contact with each other. This results in concentration and memory loss. Alcohol addiction can also cause premature dementia. 
    • Liver problems: excessive drinking can cause irreparable liver damage. This can cause fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis (inflamed liver) and liver cirrhosis (the replacement of destroyed liver cells by connective tissue).

    It is also possible that you Korsakov get syndrome. This syndrome is a serious form of brain injury and occurs due to years of excessive alcohol consumption and poor nutrition. 

    The treatment for alcohol addiction at Castle Craig

    At Castle Craig we have more than 20 years of experience treating patients addicted to alcohol. This starts with one detoxification period. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a proven method of preventing addiction relapse. CBT is actually aimed at challenging negative thoughts and is used to help alcohol addicts to abstain from it alcohol and other substances.

    Check the page about 'Our Treatments'for more information about our various alcohol addiction programs.

    AA Netherlands