Alcoholism, also called alcohol dependence or alcohol addiction, is a disease that usually develops over many years and initially unnoticed. There are alcoholics who at times drink nothing at all, but once they start, can’t stop until they are extremely drunk ("quarter drinkers"). So-called "mirror drinkers" are able to control their daily consumption, but are not able to go without drinking even for a few days.
The signs of a pathological alcohol addiction are clearly recognizable: life increasingly revolves around the drug alcohol, other interests are neglected. It is almost impossible to imagine life without alcohol. Those who are alcoholics plan their daily lives so that he or she can drink alcohol.
Another clear indication of alcoholism are repeated, unsuccessful attempts to drink less or not at all anymore. Once alcohol addicts have started drinking, it is very difficult for them to stop.
At what point are you an alcoholic?
If you answer yes to three or more of the following questions, you have alcohol dependence:
- Do you often feel a strong urge, a kind of uncontrollable desire, to drink alcohol?
- Does it happen that you can’t stop drinking once you’ve started??
- Drink sometimes in the morning to relieve an existing nausea or tremor (z. B. of your hands) to alleviate?
- Drink increasingly more alcohol in recent years to achieve a certain (desired) effect?
- Change daily schedules in order to be able to drink alcohol, or. arrange your day so that you can consume alcohol regularly?
- Drink despite knowing that alcohol consumption has already led to harmful physical, psychological, or social consequences?
You can also find out how to assess your drinking behavior by taking the alcohol self-test.
Alcoholism leads to withdrawal symptoms, which do not necessarily have to be physical. Without alcohol, both body and psyche become unbalanced.
- Sleep disturbances
- morning tremors
- Agitation and anxiety
- depressive moods
- visual and auditory hallucinations ("white mice")
- the delirium tremens
Withdrawal symptoms subside as soon as one starts drinking alcohol again, and they return when the effects of alcohol wear off. Alcohol is drunk at this stage of dependence to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Breaking this cycle without professional help is very difficult.
Suppression does not solve the alcohol problem
Do you know thoughts like "This is not bad. I could stop drinking alcohol at any time if I wanted to."? It often takes a long time for people to admit to their alcohol problems and decide to change their drinking behavior. Days on which – perhaps triggered by a hangover – a decision is made to stop drinking are followed by days on which all good intentions are thrown out the window again.
It is also possible that other problems – for example unemployment or separation – temporarily push the alcohol problem into the background. But it doesn’t take long before it becomes clear once again that alcohol was one of the causes of the existing problems. And it is becoming increasingly clear that one’s own life situation can only be improved if one succeeds in drinking less alcohol over the long term or. Living alcohol-free.
How do I get my alcohol addiction under control??
Many alcohol addicts initially try to combat their alcoholism on their own. Unlike with many other health problems, those affected find it difficult to seek professional help. Often they are inwardly conflicted as to whether they should accept help or not.
But alone it is very difficult to overcome an alcohol addiction. Alcohol dependence is a disease that should be treated with professional help. Sudden abstinence from alcohol can lead to physical reactions such as seizures. Medical advice is therefore necessary. Under counseling you will find more information and contacts to addiction counseling centers.