How Long Does It Take to Develop an Alcohol Addiction?
If you like to party, you may have asked, “How long does it take to get hooked to alcohol?” In many nations across the world, drinking alcohol is an integral element of contemporary society. People often drink to celebrate little events, socialize, or just unwind at home.
According to a 2019 study, about 85.6 percent of people in the United States have drunk alcohol at some time in their life. (1)
If we had to describe people’s attitudes about alcohol, we’ll use a famous statement from Homer Simpson (a prominent character on the American cartoon comedy The Simpsons) that states “alcohol is both the source and the solution to all of life’s problems.”
Many people believe that drinking alcohol is harmless social fun.
Many people think that drinking alcohol does not damage them. In fact, it makes it easier for them to enjoy themselves. The reality is that consuming alcohol does not damage you as long as you drink sensibly and within your limitations.
But have you ever thought about how long it takes to get hooked to alcohol? Or, when does your casual, sociable drinking become a dangerous alcohol addiction?
Let’s take a look at how someone progresses from casual, social drinking to full-fledged alcohol addiction. But first, the fundamentals!
What Exactly Is Alcohol Addiction?
A variety of symptoms and indications may indicate alcoholism. If you want alcohol to relieve stress, require a comparatively larger quantity of alcohol to experience that rush, or have no control over your drinking, you are more likely to be an alcoholic.
Many alcoholics consume alcohol before gatherings because they believe that drunkenness will help them socialize more effectively. If a person is seriously addicted to alcohol, he or she is unlikely to socialize at all.
Alcohol addicts will always find one or more excuses to drink, no matter what time of day or night it is. If they do not consume enough alcohol, they often feel irritability, anxiety, or tension.
Furthermore, individuals may continue to drink even if their alcoholism causes difficulties in their family, job, or relationships. Unfortunately, about 15 million individuals in the United States suffer from alcohol use disorder (AUD), with just 7% receiving treatment. (2)
It is important to note that alcoholism does not develop overnight. It stimulates the brain’s reward system, prompting you to drink now and again over time.
How Long Does It Take To Develop Full-Fledged Alcoholism?
After at least 10 seconds of drinking, alcohol begins to impair our ability to act, feel, and think. It alters the way our brain functions by interfering with neurotransmitters.
In layman’s words, alcohol causes our brain to produce happy chemicals, creating a state of euphoria in the drinker. This feeling of pleasure, however, is illusory. As the amount of alcohol in the body decreases, so does the feeling of happiness.
When you begin to feel the need to get high to feel joyful, this is a major indication of addiction. During such moments, your dependence on alcohol increases with each subsequent drink.
The time it takes to get completely addicted to alcohol varies from person to person. Some people get addicted to alcohol fast, while others take longer. Many variables may influence the rate at which an individual develops an alcohol addiction.
Factors Contributing to Alcohol Addiction
The most important element influencing alcohol addiction is the frequency with which you consume. If you consume 2-3 glasses of booze in one sitting a few times a week, it is OK. You are more prone to acquire alcohol addiction if you consume alcohol 5-10 times each sitting, five times per week.
Your genes may have a significant influence on the development of your alcoholism. If your father, grandpa, or predecessors were alcoholics, you are more likely to develop the addiction than others. This is a hazardous trigger point in your life that you must be aware of.
Furthermore, some individuals use alcohol to cope with the pain of the past. They use alcohol as a coping strategy because it enables them to dull the pain associated with trauma. You must realize that this is just a temporary solution and that drinking alcohol to alleviate stress may result in severe physical and mental health problems.
Ways to Overcome Alcohol Addiction
No matter how serious your alcohol addiction is, you can always overcome it and attain long-term sobriety. All you need to know is when to dial an addiction hotline. If you see symptoms of alcoholism in yourself or someone you know, act immediately because there are services available to assist you, including individual and group therapy, rigorous inpatient or outpatient programs, sober coaching, peer mentoring, and many more. (3) and (4)
Remember that alcohol addiction may harm your general health and put your fitness in danger. As a result, seek expert assistance as soon as possible to resume your regular life.