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Alcohol Dependency

Daniel Smeester, MD -  - Addiction Treatment Center

Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services

Daniel Smeester, MD

Addiction Treatment Center located in San Ramon, CA

More than 15 million adults in the United States struggle with alcohol addiction, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services, in San Ramon, California, understands the physical and emotional challenges of overcoming alcohol dependency. At their state-of-the-art office in the East Bay, Daniel Smeester, MD, and his team provide a wide array of alcohol addiction treatments to suit every client. For more information, call Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services or book an appointment online.

Alcohol Dependency Q & A

What is alcohol dependence?

Alcohol dependence is a chronic disease in which you’re physically, emotionally, and mentally reliant on alcohol, even in the face of consequences. Many struggling with alcohol dependence find it difficult to function at home, school, or work without alcohol. 

Over time, your tolerance to alcohol can grow, making it harder and harder to feel satisfied with one or two drinks. As you become more dependent on alcohol, and your tolerance grows, you may find yourself consuming larger quantities of alcohol to feel pleasure.

What makes alcohol dependence difficult to treat when compared to drug dependence is your access to it. Alcohol is legal to adults over the age of 21 in the U.S., and many adults already drink socially, so it’s hard to tell when you may have an addiction.

What is the difference between alcohol dependence and addiction?

While alcohol addiction and dependence sound similar, they aren’t actually interchangeable terms. 

Alcohol dependence means you’re reliant on alcohol. Most people struggling with this disease have a high alcohol tolerance, experience withdrawal symptoms when they aren’t drinking, and have regular cravings for alcohol. You may also stick to a certain drink or brand of alcohol.

On the other hand, alcohol addiction is typically characterized by continued drinking despite social, legal, or professional consequences. You may not crave alcohol all the time, but when you do drink, it’s hard to stop, even if it interferes with your day-to-day obligations. If you’re addicted to alcohol, you may find that your behavior is risky or harmful when you drink compared to when you’re sober.

How can I spot alcohol dependence symptoms?

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol dependence, look out for the following symptoms:

  • Slurred speech
  • Memory blackouts
  • Impaired judgment
  • Headaches
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Shakiness

Long-term alcohol abuse is a serious condition that can lead to a number of subsequent health problems, including:

  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Psoriasis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Weakened immune system
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Psoriasis
  • Brain damage

Call the Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services team right away or book an appointment online if you begin experiencing any of the above alcohol dependence symptoms before or after consuming alcohol.