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The Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Jan 19, 2008
Addiction refers to the compulsive need to use a habit forming substance or an irresistible urge to engage in a behavior, with the other defining features of this condition being tolerance, increasing need for more of the substance in order to obtain the same effect, and withdrawal. This last effect is particularly present in instances of alcohol addiction, although the term addiction refers to a wide range of behaviors, including exercise, shopping, gambling, and sex.

Addiction, and alcohol addiction in particular, has many causes, which experts have traced to five interrelated concepts, which include: patterns, habits, compulsions, impulse control disorders, and physical addiction. The controversy as to whether or not addictions are diseases continues to be debated, but the most prevalent model of substance abuse is and continues to be the disease model first introduced by EM Jellinek is the late 1940s, and later adopted by the American Medical Association.

Some experts believe that addictive behaviors are problematic behavior patterns that can be learned or unlearned, while Psycho dynamic theorists believe that those suffering from alcohol and other addictions also suffer from an inability to self sooth or properly manage the emotions of day to day life, and that these addicts self medicate by using destructive substances in an attempt to control their powerful and painful emotions.

Regardless of the addiction model, experts do agree across the theorem spectrum that it is the initial positive consequences of substance abuse that create and keep the addiction. Addicts themselves have reported feelings of euphoria, or extreme happiness when engaged in these activities, and as use continues, the body naturally adjusts to the substance, and a tolerance is developed, causing the need for the addict to ingest amounts of alcohol and other substances that would actually be fatal to a non addict. Patterns of compulsive use, frequency of use, increasing tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms are seen in addicts, regardless of the substance they are addicted to.

Alcohol addiction is a condition with serious and far reaching consequences, both for the addict and those closest to him or her. If you or someone you know is struggling to cope with an alcohol addiction, the best thing that you can do for this person, and yourself, is to seek treatment. Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers exist for this purpose, and provide a support system of caring professionals who have been trained to help addicts regain control over their addictions and their lives.
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