It is not clear why some people develop alcohol use problems and others do not, although there is a strong genetic link. Initially, alcohol is often used to soothe pain or hide insecurities. Over time, abuse and dependence can develop. Many people often fail to understand the difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. Alcohol abuse occurs when you repeatedly drink alcohol even though it causes significant problems in your life. Abuse disrupts your relationships, causes you to miss work (often due to hangovers), and neglect personal and work obligations. It can lead to legal problems, such as being arrested for disorderly conduct or drinking while driving. You don't have to drink daily or drink large amounts of alcohol to have an abuse problem. Whereas if alcohol abuse continues, it can lead to dependence - a physical and emotional addiction to alcohol. You may not be able to quit drinking on your own, even when you want to. With dependence, you feel compelled to drink, and it dominates your life. You may plan your activities around alcohol and may drink secretly or hide the amount that you drink. Over time, it will take larger amounts of alcohol before you feel its effects. You may get irritable, start to vomit, sweat and shake when you are unable to drink or try to quit on your own.
Alcohol Alcohol abuse can be present if these symptoms exist: One of the early signs of an alcohol problem is having blackouts-periods of time where you were awake but do not remember what occurred while you were drinking. For example, you are injured while drinking but don't remember how it happened. Having unexplained injuries related to alcohol use or continue to drink despite the problems it causes. The person may also become physically aggressive when intoxicated. Many people who abuse alcohol deny they have a problem and consider themselves "social drinkers" because they do not drink every day. Alcohol abuse can develop in a short time or gradually over your lifetime. In the beginning, your drinking may not appear to be any different from the way other people drink. Some people drink only occasionally but drink a lot (binge drinkers), which can lead to alcohol abuse. Over time, your drinking may become a way for you to feel normal or to cope with life's problems.
There are certain risk factors which increase the chance of alcohol abuse. Having a family history - this includes a genetic link - and exposure to alcohol at a place where the person grows up. Using alcohol at an early age proves to be dangerous because the earlier the exposure, the higher the risk of developing alcohol use problems as an adult. Using or abusing other substances such as nicotine, illegal drugs, or prescription medications may also increase abuse of alcohol.
Mental Illness - Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness in which a person's mood alternates between extreme mania and depression. Bipolar disorder is also called manic-depressive illness. When manic, people with bipolar disorder feel intensely elated, self-important, energetic, and irritable.