What is alcohol dependency?

Alcohol dependence is defined as a psychological and physical addiction to alcohol.

If you feel you need alcohol to function normally, then this may be something you’re suffering from. The extent to which it’s moderate or severe depends on the symptoms. 

Alcohol dependence signs include:

  • High tolerance to drinking - takes you a while to get drunk/intoxicated
  • Needing alcohol to help you cope with withdrawal symptoms like sweating,tremors or nausea
  • Becoming preoccupied with drinking, for example thinking about when you can have your next drink
  • Drinking more quickly, more often and greater amounts than those around you
  • Feeling that you once start drinking, you can’t stop - despite any negative consequences
  • Needing alcohol in order to do daily functions
  • Others showing concern about your drinking

 People often confuse Alcohol dependency with an inability to function normally - this isn’t the case. There are plenty of people living fairly normal lives, holding down decent jobs, who are alcohol dependent. However, despite this, it’s usually the case that personal and family lives suffer as a result of too much drinking.

People with unaddressed alcohol dependency can put family members, colleagues and loved ones under enormous strain.

The majority of dependent drinkers can stop, cut down or just regain control of their drinking with the right information and support. 

It may be hard, but it is possible.

For information on support to cut down or to stop altogether see here.

Alcohol Dependence signs from: Heather N et al (2011) Review of the Effectiveness of Treatment for Alcohol Problems, National Treatment Agency