When you think about addiction, you probably have an image in your mind. We tend to stereotype, but the reality is that addiction is far more common than we think. You may assume that addiction is something that happens to other people, but anyone can become dependent on something. With alcohol, many people develop a dependency from a very casual drinking habit. Anyone can lose control, and you may even be dependent on drink without realizing.
Are you dependent on drink?
Many of us enjoy an alcoholic drink, and there’s very little wrong with drinking in moderation. The trouble with alcohol is that you can develop an unhealthy relationship with it. A drink after work or a glass of wine on a Friday night with the girls can spiral into something that takes over your life and consumes your body and mind. Your attitude to drink can change, and before you know it, you depend on it to lift your mood, get you through difficult times or give you the confidence to do things.
You may be dependent on alcohol if you think about it on a regular basis or you use it as a form of support. Many people drink when they’re struggling to control their emotions. You may feel anxious or worried, or you may be down. When you drink, it makes you feel better. As you get used to drinking more, you need more to achieve the same impact, and this is where serious problems begin. When you drink a lot, your mental and physical health suffers.
What can you do
The first step is often realizing that you’re not in control. Perhaps you used to be fine just having a couple of drinks at the weekend, but now you plan everything around your next drink, and you hit the bottle when you feel like you can’t cope or you need that extra boost. You don’t actually need to drink all day, every day to have a problem with alcohol. If you’re dependent, you just need to reach the point where you can admit that drink is ruling you, rather than the other way round.
Once you realize that you’re more dependent on alcohol than you should be or you want to be, it’s important to understand that there are ways of improving the situation. There is a lot of help out there from doctors, charities, and resources like Addiction Advocates. The nature of treatment will depend on your individual circumstances. Some people find group support beneficial, and others thrive on one to one sessions involving talking therapies. In some cases, medication and rehab programs may also be recommended.
If you have a few drinks every day, you may not think that you have an addiction to alcohol. But imagine how you would feel if somebody took those drinks away from you? Would you be able to cope, or has drink become a coping mechanism? If you’re using alcohol to control your emotions, you may find that the problem spirals very quickly. If you are worried about how much you’re drinking, seek advice now. There are people and organizations ready and willing to help you.