Alcohol problems include heavy drinking, that is, drinking over the recommended limits; harmful drinking where the amount of alcohol consumed is affecting the health of the individual; and dependant drinking where the individual feels they cannot function without alcohol. Alcohol is both psychologically and physically addictive.
People can drink too much alcohol because they are suffering from other mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety or stress. Or they may become depressed, anxious or stressed because of their level of alcohol consumption, which is a depressant in its own right, and may be caused by other factors from social pressures to life changes such as bereavement, divorce or redundancy.
Alchohol dependence can lead to an individual neglecting other activities, both social and work related. It can also lead to withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety when alcohol use is stopped for any period of time. Another symptom can be the increasing amounts of alcohol needed in order to feel the effects. This is called tolerance.
Treatment options depend on your alcohol use. If you are drinking hazardous or harmful amounts of alcohol, talking therapy sessions and support networks will be able to help you reduce your intake, or abstain completely. Attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous is frequently helpful.
If you are alcohol dependent, you will need a more intense period of detoxification and are likely to be prescribed medication as well as undertaking talking therapies.
If you are suffering from depression alongside your alcohol problems, it is important to treat the alcohol problem first and then tackle the depression if it does not improve after you have overcome your alcohol misuse.