Alcohol Abuse and Tolerance

March 19, 2008

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The longer a person lives with alcoholism, the greater the level of tolerance they develop to the substance. This means that, over time, the alcoholic will need to drink more in order to get the same effects. Eventually, they become physically dependent on alcohol and must drink a significant amount just to function and avoid withdrawal symptoms.

The reason why people develop increased levels of tolerance is because the brain tries to adjust to the amount they’re drinking. It attempts to function normally, even with a large amount of alcohol in the system. This is why an addict can no longer feel the effects from drinking the same amount of alcohol, and they need to consume more in order to shock their brain into reacting.

These effects on the brain are also part of the reason physical alcohol addiction develops, in addition to the psychological addiction. The brain becomes dependent on a certain minimum level of alcohol in order to function at all. When a person with an alcohol abuse problem suddenly stops drinking, the body has to relearn how to operate without the substance. This causes the withdrawal symptoms that people experience during alcohol detox. Depending on the individual and how much and how often they drank, it can take from a couple of days to weeks for the body and brain to readjust.

For someone with severe alcoholism, stopping drinking can be difficult for their body to handle. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild things like sweating and flu-like symptoms, to severe conditions like heart attack in rare cases. It’s always important to undergo alcohol detox with the care of trained medical professionals, such as in a treatment center. It’s impossible to predict exactly how an individual will react to alcohol detox. Both physical and psychological symptoms occur because the body is responding to losing a substance it has adapted to.

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