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When it comes to alcohol dependence, the catalyst is drinking for the effects of alcohol. The drinker wants to change his mood to get rid of tensions, anxiety or grimness or to get more appreciation. Most people drink every now and then to change mood, but the real drinker-to-be strives for a more intense change of mood. He wants to experience a real turn, and wants to feel good again. When he does this several times, the problem is not solved and he runs the risk that his body gets used to the alcohol.
Getting used to the alcohol, or the development of tolerance
As the individual continues to drink the body gets used to the alcohol. This is called the development of tolerance. At a certain moment, the drinker doesn't feel the effect of the alcohol anymore and he needs more and more. After all, his mood has to change.
A person who continues to drink and gets drunk regularly, he will eventually get blackouts. A blackout means that you miss a part of your intoxication. The next day you forget, for example, what you have said or how you got home. This startles the drinker in the beginning, but later on he deals with it indifferently. This is risky; he becomes blind to the disadvantages of alcohol abuse.
The development of problems related to alcohol use
Due to the excessive alcohol intake, often problems arise for the dinking. These can be physical problems, losing social contacts, problems at work or school, or financial problems. The question "do I drink because I have problems, or do I have problems because I drink?" becomes of current interest. You drink because you are using a bad problem solving method.
As time goes on, the body gets so used to alcohol that it will get withdrawal symptoms if it doesn't get a certain dose. You can start to tremble, sweat, sleep badly and feel restless.
Those who continue to drink find that it gets harder each time to drink less. The drinker resolves to reduce or quit after a few drinks, but can't stick to that.
Drinking maintains itself
At a certain moment, all these symptoms maintain the addiction. The drinker gets into a number of vicious circles. There are four circles:
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