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Alcohol Tolerance Or Alcohol Dependence?

glass of wine

There are many people out there who can seemingly drink large amounts of alcohol without suffering ill effects, while there are many who may feel they cannot tolerate much alcohol at all without feeling ill or having a hangover the following day. There are distinct and marked differences between having a high tolerance for alcohol and being totally dependent on it, as a sufferer of alcoholism is.

The differences between tolerance and dependence


Someone who drinks socially, consuming only responsible amounts of alcohol with family or friends, either in public or in the confines of their own home, can gradually build up a tolerance to what they are drinking. For instance, they may start off being able to comfortably drink two or three glasses of wine or beer without any problems for a number of months or years, then find that over time four or five are needed to get the same effect. However, the drinker will still only consume alcohol socially and not every day, therefore it is within their control and very manageable for them. Good examples of people who build up a tolerance to alcohol without suffering ill effects are people who live in warm, Mediterranean climes. Alongside their healthy diet which contains lots of lean protein and healthy fruits and vegetables they will consume wine with their meals but as part of their overall healthy lifestyle their alcohol consumption and tolerance is actually beneficial.

In a situation where alcohol dependence happens, the person will develop a tolerance much quicker and feel that they need to imbibe more and more alcohol to escape the pressures they feel or to become drunk. The period of time in which this happens is usually much faster that someone who develops a tolerance. Very often, the person who is dependent on alcohol will require treatment to break the chains and thought patterns that are associated with “needing” to drink to forget, or alter their state of mind, whereas someone who has a tolerance to alcohol would be able to stop immediately with no ill effects.

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