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how does alcohol tolerance work

How Does Alcohol Tolerance Work?

Movies, TV shows and commercials have all glamorized drinking by depicting it as a way to have fun, relax and make new friends, ignoring the reality that alcohol is the world’s most harmful drug. Having a drinking habit can cause or worsen physical and mental illnesses, and can also lead to problems with your relationships and responsibilities.

What Does Having a Tolerance Mean?

You can develop a tolerance to alcohol by using it regularly. Essentially, your brain gets accustomed to having the substance in your system, and once that happens, you’ll have to drink more to feel the desired effects.

Though you might marvel at your ability to consume more drinks than your friends without feeling impaired, alcohol tolerance does not mean you are superhuman. Since your body cannot adapt to the damage alcohol can do to your organs and systems, you could be doing far more harm than you realize by binge drinking.  

If you notice your tolerance to alcohol is increasing, you’re also at increased risk of developing a physical and psychological dependence. In some cases, that might mean believing you can’t have fun and relax without drinking, or being unable to control how much you have to drink.

Alcohol Abuse Risk Factors and Warning Signs

Though anyone can have a problematic relationship with alcohol, you might be more likely to develop a substance use disorder if you have a family history of addiction or mental health issues.

You could have a drinking problem if you meet criteria like these.

  • Alcohol is your go-to way to cope with stress, grief, anger or other complex emotions.
  • Most or all your social interactions involve drinking.
  • You’ve done dangerous things such as driving under the influence.
  • You get anxious and irritable when you run out of alcohol.
  • You frequently experience blackouts, or alcohol-related memory lapses.
  • You quickly try changing the subject whenever someone expresses concern about how much you drink.
  • When you are sober, you look forward to having a drink.
  • You continue to misuse alcohol, despite the difficulties it has caused in your life.
  • You feel intense guilt and shame about how much you drink.
  • It’s hard for you to envision your life without drinking.
  • You have lied to friends, family and co-workers about the extent of your drinking.
  • When you try to stop drinking, you experience withdrawal symptoms like sweating, shaking, nausea and insomnia.

How to Find Freedom From Alcohol

It’s important to recognize that addiction is not a moral weakness or the result of making irresponsible decisions – it is a chronic illness that affects millions of people worldwide. Though there is no cure, it is treatable.

If you are worried about how much you drink and haven’t successfully been able to quit on your own, you can benefit from the additional support and structure found in our holistic treatment program. Staying in Vista Taos’ residential environment minimizes distractions and stress, allowing you to fully focus on your recovery while you participate in therapeutic programming tailored to your needs. We strive to empower you to live life to the fullest without relying on alcohol or other drugs. Reach out to us today to take the first step in breaking the cycle of addiction.

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