Regularly drinking alcohol may be pleasurable or relaxing and some people experience these feelings particularly intensely and have a strong desire to repeat them more often.
The NHS estimates that around 9% of men in the UK and 4% of UK women show signs of alcohol addiction. There are varying degrees of alcohol dependence and they don’t always involve excessive levels of drinking.
You may have an alcohol addiction if you...
Binge drinking - Researchers often define binge drinking as the consumption of five or more drinks at one sitting for males and three or more drinks at one sitting for females.
Alcohol abuse - This type of addiction often results in absence from, and impaired performance at, school and on the job, neglect of child care or household responsibilities, legal difficulties and alcohol consumption in physically dangerous circumstances such as while driving.
Alcohol dependence - This a chronic and often progressive disease that includes a strong need to drink despite repeated social or interpersonal problems such as losing a job or deteriorating relationships with friends and family members.
As with many other conditions and diseases, vulnerability to addiction differs from person to person. Your genes, mental health, family and social environment can all play a role in addiction. Risk factors that increase your vulnerability include:
Many patients require individual sessions with an addiction specialist. Dr de Silva would conduct a comprehensive assessment and explain her conclusions to you .She would discuss the treatment options taking into consideration your views and what she considers the optimum treatment for you. Treatment would generally include medication, or individual therapy or both. Dr de Silva can also make a referral to a psychologist or psychotherapist to look the psychological aspects of the addiction as well as trying to address the underlying causes. You would be reviewed regularly by Dr de Silva to monitor your progress.
If you require more intense treatment and to be away from the familiar environment, which may be contributing to the addiction, Dr de Silva can arrange for admission to treatment centre where you would stay for the duration of their treatment. Treatment at one of the centres would usually include medication management, individual psychological sessions as well as group psychological work. There is often specific focus on understanding the nature of addiction and relapse prevention. If an admission to a treatment centre is recommended Dr de Silva would be able to help identify the most appropriate treatment centre for you.
Many people think of addictions as purely alcohol or illegal drug addiction, however there are many other forms including: