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What is alcohol dependence syndrome & the long-term effects?

Do you know the signs of alcohol dependence syndrome and what the long-term effects of alcohol can have on your body and your relationships? Alcohol rehab experts Port of Call give you all the facts.

What is alcohol dependence syndrome?

The main symptom of alcohol dependence is having an overpowering urge to drink alcohol and not being able to limit or stop drinking once you have started. Some people who are dependent on alcohol report being preoccupied with it and that the need to drink alcohol takes over their lives. For many, alcohol dependence isn’t a choice. There is plenty of evidence to support the thinking that alcohol addiction is actually a mental illness.

What is Alcohol Dependence Syndrome?

Tolerance is the first sign of a physical dependency. It simply means that a person has to drink more than they used to in order to achieve the desired effect. Alcohol is a depressant that suppresses the brain’s production of neurotransmitters. Withdrawal occurs when an individual who is alcohol dependent doesn’t drink, or consume sufficient amounts, and experiences some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea.
  • Shaking.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Insomnia.
  • Restlessness.
  • Loss of appetite.

Spot the signs of alcohol dependency

Some of the common signs of alcohol dependency include the following:

  • Regularly drinking to excess.
  • Vomiting and shaking.
  • Reliance on alcohol to relax, fall asleep, or to socialise.
  • Uncharacteristic behaviours whilst intoxicated.
  • Failing to keep promises and appointments.
  • Isolation or going missing for days.
  • Blaming others for their problems and drinking.
  • Hiding alcohol around the house.
  • Frequently swearing off alcohol.
  • Not accepting responsibility for their behaviours.
  • Regularly smelling of alcohol or trying to mask the smell.

What action can be taken for ADS?

Sudden withdrawal can be life-threatening. The recommended gradual withdrawal process can be an extremely intense, and sometimes painful, experience. That is why such gradual detox programmes should always be carried out in a medically supervised environment. Rehabilitation or Rehab is a pivotal step towards recovery and is a vital accompaniment to the detox process.

In essence, rehabilitation addresses the psychological element of addiction or alcoholism. Rehab aims to achieve key goals for your recovery and prevent relapse. It can seek to address underlying issues like anxiety or depression or trauma, self-esteem problems, or stress to name but a few. Ultimately, rehab seeks to introduce you to a different, happier and healthier way of life. Read Niall’s experience of rehab.

If you, or a loved one, are suffering from alcohol dependency, and need help to give up alcohol, Port of Call can help. There are a range of treatment options available and we can help you to navigate towards the right help, at the right time.

Long-term effects of alcohol dependence

Most of us know that alcohol damages your liver. Among the many functions of the largest organ in your body is to filter and clean your blood. It takes an one hour for your liver to break down a single unit of alcohol. If you regularly drink too much, you’re at risk of developing a range of alcoholic liver diseases. These can include alcohol-induced cirrhosis (fibrosis or scarring of your liver), hepatitis and fatty liver disease.

Drinking as little as three units of alcohol a day also increases your risk of developing many types of cancer, such as liver, breast, bowel, mouth, throat, and oesophagus cancers. Regularly drinking too much alcohol also damages your heart and increases your risk of developing heart disease, stroke and an abnormal heart rhythm (known as arrhythmia).

If you drink heavily and regularly you’re likely to develop some symptoms of depression. Here in Britain, people who experience anxiety or depression are twice as likely to be problem or heavy drinkers. Heavy drinking can also adversely affect your relationships with your partner, family and friends. It may also impact your performance at work, which can also feed the depressive cycle. Read Derek’s alcoholism story.

Contact Port of Call now to find out more about our Alcohol Addiction Support services, which includes finding an alcohol rehab centre, whether that is private rehab, residential rehab, or beyond. Finding the right course of action is important and you will get expert advice with our network of addiction counsellors. Get in touch today on 0800 002 9010.

About the author: Alex Molyneux

Alex is our admissions team leader. Over the last 5 years he has spoken with more than 10,000 people via our helpline and has organised over 1,000 detox and rehabilitation placements.

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