dependence can develop very quickly or happen
gradually over years.
In the beginning, your drinking might not
seem to be any different from the way other people drink. You may drink only
with friends or at parties. It may stay like this, or you may begin to drink
more. Your drinking might become a way for you to feel normal or to cope with
You might think that you can quit drinking at any
time. Many people who have alcohol problems quit for days, weeks, or even
months before they start drinking again. But unless you can consistently keep
your drinking under control and not fall back into unhealthy patterns, you need
Problems from drinking
heavy drinking harms your liver,
nervous system, heart, and brain. It can cause health
problems or make them worse. These problems include:
Alcohol abuse also can contribute to stomach problems,
medicines and alcohol, and sexual problems. It can
lead to violence, accidents, social isolation, and problems at work, school, or
home. You also may have legal problems, such as traffic tickets or accidents,
as a result of drinking.
Drinking alcohol can cause unique
pregnant women, and people who have other health
conditions. If you are pregnant, you should not drink any alcohol, because it
may harm your baby.
Drinking also makes symptoms of mental health
problems worse. When you
have a drinking problem and a mental health problem, it's called a
dual diagnosis. It's very important to treat all mental health problems, such as depression. You
may drink less when mental health problems are treated.