Many individuals struggle with alcohol dependence, which is both physical and psychological. When a person is dependent on alcohol, they often struggle with withdrawal as they try to decrease their alcohol use. It is a complex and dynamic process that feels different for each person. However, there are common feelings and behaviours associated with alcohol dependence. At PCP – The Perry Clayman Project, we understand the complexities of alcohol use disorder (AUD). We offer treatment that helps clients heal from alcohol through alcohol detox and treatment that is individualised and addresses the unique needs of each person. 

Signs of Alcohol Dependence

Every individual experience of alcohol dependence is unique. However, signs of alcohol dependence are common. These include feelings a person experiences due to dependence on alcohol and behaviours that are associated with dependence. 

Feelings Associated

When an individual is dependent on alcohol, they will feel sensations that cue them into noticing and understanding their dependence. Most individuals experience feelings of wanting to drink, also known as cravings. Cravings that occur with alcohol dependence are strong. Individuals commonly feel a desire that feels more like a need than simply wanting to drink alcohol. 

Alcohol cravings are only one feeling that is found with dependence on alcohol. Additionally, individuals feel a strong pull towards alcohol. This pull is so powerful that individuals find themselves valuing alcohol over other parts of life. Individuals may experience a desire to drink rather than spending time with loved ones or achieving goals at work or at home. 

Behaviours Associated

Loved ones will also notice changes in a person’s behaviours. Behaviours associated with alcohol dependence are a result of a person’s need for alcohol. This continued need for alcohol makes individuals change their behaviour to prioritise drinking over previously enjoyed activities and necessary responsibilities. Therefore, individuals with alcohol dependence often struggle to keep up with obligations, both at home and in the office. 

When an individual is dependent on alcohol and drinks alcohol consistently, their tolerance to alcohol increases. As a result, they are more likely to drink heavily and often. Heavy drinking occurs both socially and while a person is alone. Therefore, individuals who are dependent on alcohol are often found drinking alone. 

The Road to Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol dependence develops over time due to a variety of factors, including environmental and neurobiological. The road to a person becoming dependent on alcohol occurs slowly over time. It often begins with social drinking. Over time, individuals begin to associate alcohol with its impact on them. These impacts include a decrease in anxiety, euphoria, and a reduction of negative emotions. 

Two types of alcohol dependence occur over time: psychological and physical. Most individuals experience both, which results in their continued challenges with AUD. 

Psychological Dependence

A psychological dependence is a need for alcohol due to patterns in thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. Using alcohol as a way to manage negative emotions such as sadness or anger is a common psychological dependence. When a person uses alcohol this way, they will seek it when they experience negative emotions, causing a dependence on alcohol as a way to feel better.

Physical Dependence

As a person drinks consistently, changes occur in their brain. These changes occur in the pleasuring-seeking part of the brain which is naturally used to reinforce behaviours that are positive. While this part of the brain normally helps a person to exercise, connect with loved ones, and eat well, it is not used to spur them towards continued alcohol use. Essentially, the brain becomes rewired towards alcohol.

The brain relies on alcohol being in the system to feel normal, causing withdrawal symptoms to occur when a person does not drink. Withdrawal symptoms vary in severity. They can include small symptoms like headaches or disrupted sleep. However, severe withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and include seizures, vomiting, and more.

Finding Hope and Healing From Alcohol Dependence

When a person is dependent on alcohol, it is common for them to feel hopeless. However, there is hope. While alcohol dependence is a hurdle, with help and support, individuals can take steps to learn how to live a life free from alcohol, healing both physically and psychologically from alcohol dependence.

At PCP – The Perry Clayman Project, we know how complicated healing can feel. We offer treatment that addresses alcohol addiction to the core: alcohol dependence. Through detox, we help clients to go through withdrawal symptoms safely with minimal discomfort. This is the first step to healing from physical dependency. In our safe and supportive environment, clients know they will be cared for every step of the way in detox.

However, treatment also includes addressing psychological dependence. Therefore, clients work with a counsellor to identify the factors in their lives that are contributing to their challenges with alcohol. This may include addressing relationship dynamics, trauma, and emotional patterns. Every aspect is investigated. It is our goal to help clients build skills that will cross over into their lives after treatment. Therefore, we offer treatment that is individualised and considers the needs of each client. We help our clients heal from psychological dependence on alcohol and offer them hope that they can live a different and better life after treatment. 

While alcohol dependence is challenging, there is hope in healing and moving forward towards a life with improved well-being and free of alcohol. To learn more about how we at PCP – The Perry Clayman Project can help you, call us today at 08000 380 480