Alcohol Addiction

What is alcohol addiction?
Behaviours of alcohol addiction
Treating alcohol addiction
How to stop drinking alcohol
Causes of alcohol addiction

What is alcohol addiction?

Alcohol addiction is repeated drinking to the extent that you are periodically or chronically intoxicated. Having the compulsion to drink and find it difficult to stop or modify your drinking patterns. It’s also commonly referred to as ‘alcohol dependence’ and ‘alcoholism’.

Alcoholism is not as straightforward as you might think. You don’t have to drink excessively all the time to be addicted: the extent of dependence sits on a spectrum. You might be 15 or 65 and may or may not have a stable job. You might drink in isolation or be incredibly social, Maybe you have a family history of alcoholism.

You might be a binge drinker or class yourself as a heavy drinker, but if you feel the compulsion to drink is too strong and find it difficult to stop or modify your drinking patterns, you most likely have an alcohol addiction.

However, the significance of the side effects that alcohol dependence presents is very clear. Alcoholism puts you at a higher risk of liver damage, cancer, heart disease and other debilitating conditions. It can also put pressure on your relationships, your career and your finances.

Behaviours of alcohol addiction

  • Increased aggression
  • Self-disclosure
  • Drinking in secret
  • Drink driving
  • Acting irrational or saying hurtful things to others, and having no recollection of these events the day after
  • Finding excuses to drink
  • Unlawful activities
  • Emotional, physical or verbal abuse

  • Neglecting own personal hygiene
  • Neglecting responsibilities, not going to work or looking after your family

Treating alcohol addiction

When it comes to recovering from alcohol addiction, the goal is for you to remove alcohol from your life altogether, which is more commonly known as abstinence.

While this may sound daunting, our experience tells us that you will have a better chance of continued success if you say ‘no’ to alcohol.

How to stop drinking alcohol

At Steps Together, we know that recovering from an alcohol addiction is not easy. We also know that it is possible, and it is worth every second. It might sound like a cliché but recognising that you have a problem is the first step that you should be proud of taking. Deciding to make a positive change is half the battle.

Seeking professional help offers the only long-term solution to any addiction. Your GP can also offer advice and refer you to support groups in your area. Having someone to encourage and support you during the hard times will be invaluable to your recovery. Ask a friend or relative to come with you to your appointments with your GP or counsellor.

Causes of alcohol addiction

You might be wondering how alcohol made you or your loved one go from being able to have an occasional alcoholic drink to have a full-blown addiction. Essentially, alcoholism results from a combination of risk factors, which vary between individuals. Here are a few common risk factors…

  • Low self-esteem
  • Living in an environment where family
    commonly use alcohol
  • Experiencing a high level of stress
  • Peer pressure
  • Exposed to trauma
  • Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, ADHD could also create a greater risk for problematic substance abuse and addiction