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Alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, is a disease that can affect people of all walks of life. Experts have tried to identify factors like genetics, sex, race, or socioeconomics that may predispose some persons to alcohol addiction. However, it isn’t easy to point toward a single cause. Psychological, genetic, behavioural and environmental factors can all contribute to having the disease.

It is important to note that alcoholism is a disease (classified under DSM-5). It triggers changes to the brain and neurochemistry, so a person with an alcohol addiction may not be able to control his or her actions.

Alcohol addiction can show itself in a variety of ways. The severity of the disease, how often someone drinks, and the alcohol they consume varies from person to person. Some people heavily drink all day, while others binge drink and then stay sober for a while.

Regardless of how the addiction looks, someone typically has an alcohol addiction if they heavily rely on drinking and cannot stay sober for an extended period.

What are the signs of Alcohol Addiction?

  • You are consuming increased quantity or drinking more frequently
  • You need more quantity to get the same “high” (increased tolerance)
  • Drinking at inappropriate times, such as first thing in the morning or during work
  • Wanting to be in places where alcohol is available and avoiding situations where it’s not
  • Changes in friendships – preferring friends who also drink heavily and avoiding those who do not
  • Spending less time with loved ones
  • Hiding alcohol or drinking alone
  • Not being able to function without alcohol
  • Experiencing increased lethargy, depression, or other emotional issues
  • Getting into legal or professional problems

Find out more about other addictions