Why in some instances drinking is a problem
The term "problem drinker" can apply to any individual who's drinking behaviour impacts negatively on their life, physically, emotionally, socially or financially. Social drinkers are typically those individuals who drink alcohol on an occasional basis within recommended daily limits.
Habitual drinkers may drink regularly and above recommended limits with no evidence of harmful consequences.
Alcohol dependent drinkers are those who meet criteria for the diagnosis of dependence, (either physically or psychologically.)
How does alcohol works
Essentially our brain cells and nerve cells can be compared to little springs. The 'weight' of regular, heavy alcohol consumption can push the 'springs' down and flatten them; at a very simple level that is why alcohol can relax us and sometimes reduce anxiety and help us sleep. When the 'springs' become accustomed to this weight, if you suddenly try and remove it, either by stopping your alcohol intake or cutting it down very quickly. the 'springs' start bouncing up and down in distress and can cause physical and psychological symptoms called alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
Alcohol Dependency Symptoms
The kind of symptoms someone may exhibit are shaking, perspiring, anxiety, nausea and vomiting, headache, sensitivity to light and sound, itching skin and pins and needles. At its most severe alcohol withdrawal can cause auditory, visual and sensory hallucinations (the so called DT's), seizures and death. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome signal that our brain is very distressed. This is why it is essential that the treatment of people with alcohol problems is carefully managed by addiction professionals.