Alcohol and Chemical Dependency

In our society, drug use and alcohol use are common. Dependence takes place when alcohol and drugs interfere with family, job and health. Alcohol dependency usually appears in the 20- to 40-year-old age range, however, chemical dependency begins more commonly in the late teens and 20s.

Signs of alcohol and chemical dependency:

  • Substance is taken in larger amounts or for a longer time than intended
  • Unsuccessful attempts to cut down or stop use of the substance
  • A great deal of time is spent in acquiring or taking the substance, as well as recovering from its effects, i.e., theft, hangover
  • Inability to fulfill obligations at work, school or home due to frequent intoxication or withdrawal
  • Use in physically hazardous situations, such as drinking and driving
  • Social, job or recreational activities are decreased or stopped to spend more time with substance-using friends, or to use the substance in private
  • Increased tolerance of the substance, where more is needed to achieve the desired effect
  • Continued substance use despite knowledge of the problems that result

Admitting that there is a problem is the first step. Seeking treatment from a professional through an alcohol and drug program can be the foundation needed to start the recovery process. Through ongoing support from family, friends and the community, the individual can enjoy a happy, drug-free life. If you or someone you know appears to suffer from alcohol or chemical dependency, call for help.

Facts About Alcohol

It takes about one hour for every ounce of alcohol ingested to be processed by the average body.

One drink = 1.25 ounces of 86 proof alcohol = one 12-oz. beer = 3 ounces of wine.

Addiction is a dependence on any mind-altering substance with continued use in spite of adverse consequences.

Substance abusers are 4 to 6 times more likely to have an on-the-job injury or accident.

Heavy drinking = consumption of 5+ drinks on 5+ occasions in 30 days.

Addiction is categorized as a primary illness, is progressive (barring intervention), is chronic and it can be fatal.

Addiction is:

  • The obsession with all activity related to the substance
  • An overwhelming urge to use again in spite of painful consequences
  • The inability to control the amount of the substance used
  • A physical disease such as diabetes or cancer

12-Step support groups are meetings held by peers to help others in their recovery from addiction.

Someone with a substance abuse problem negatively affects 25 people -- family, friends, siblings, children, co-workers and bosses.

Tolerance is the need for an increased amount of alcohol/drug to experience the same effect; over time, the body demands more of a substance to achieve the same results.

Withdrawal from mind-altering substances can produce uncomfortable (sometimes serious) physical symptoms. Always consult a physician.