If you are using alcohol and may have done so for a long time, you may be unsure of what is happening to your body and brain. Often, it is more common to notice these changes in your loved one. They may enjoy a drink, but soon they are no longer able to stop drinking. You could be asking a wide range of questions. Is alcohol addiction physical or psychological? Why can’t they stop using? Understanding a bit more about what happens when you use alcohol could help you make that decision.

How to Know: Is Alcohol Addiction Physical or Psychological?

Perhaps you have a loved one in your life that feels like they have to have a drink every single night. You want to know why. Is it their brain telling them they have to do this or their body? While for some people this could make it possible to “blame” someone for using alcohol, the process is not that easy to explain. Alcohol use disorder can be both physical and psychological. 

What Is a psychological addiction to alcohol?

Psychological addiction to alcohol occurs when a person has formed a habit. They are using it on a constant basis because it is a habit to do so. A person with this type of addiction to a substance needs to drink alcohol in order to feel and act normally. Without it, they do not feel good. This may even cause them to feel as though they cannot function.

What is a physical addiction to alcohol?

Alcohol is a physical addiction, also known as a chemical addiction, as well. Physical dependence occurs when the body has adapted to a person’s chronic use of alcohol. At this point, that development is so strong that it means that a person experiences withdrawal symptoms when they stop using or are unable to drink for a period of time. 

A person can be psychologically dependent alone. However, they cannot be physically dependent without being psychologically dependent as well. When a person has an alcohol use disorder, they are likely to develop an increased physical tolerance to the substance as well. That means they need to increase the amount they are taking in so they can reach the same level of intoxication.

Psychological addiction to alcohol is not something to ignore. Over time, a person is likely to develop a physical addiction to alcohol as their use needs to increase to continue to meet their body’s demands.

Is Alcohol Chemically Addictive?

Ask, is alcohol chemically addictive, and you will get a resounding answer of yes. Alcohol chemical dependency can occur and worsen over time. Some symptoms of this that you may see in your loved one include:

  • The need to drink more in one timeframe to get the same level of intoxication
  • Wanting to drink more often than they used to
  • Engaging in risky behavior, including drinking and driving
  • Pulling back from social situations and even withdrawing from activities they loved
  • Missing responsibilities and becoming increasingly irresponsible
  • Neglecting themselves, including the way they look and take care of themselves
  • Trying to stop using alcohol and failing to do so

What Can You Do If You Spot These Concerns?

If you believe your loved one is using alcohol at an unhealthy level, encourage them to seek out help from a highly skilled addiction treatment center. The sooner they get into treatment, the more likely it will be for them to see success in this process. 

Reach out to our admissions team today at (866) 971-5531 to learn what your options are.

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