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Addiction - Physical addiction to alcohol: how fast?

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by bcubed, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. bcubed

    bcubed Gold Member

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    Okay, Lizard had the following question about how long it would take, drinking daily, to exhibit withdrawal symptopms from alcohol.

    Here's the setting: over the summer, Lizard's Dad+Step-ma took the entire extended family on a vacation in the Great Lakes region. As a result, he got to hang with his three step-cousins, all of whom are hard-drinking, VERY type-A individuals: envision a poorer, somewhat more conservative version of the Kennedys. (Incidentally, hanging with them is much more fun than it sounds...)

    Naturally (in addition to a few drugs), much liquor flowed. Basically, a low-level buzz was kept from, say 2 PM 'till nightfall, at which point the kids were asleep and the REAL drinking happened. Things escalated, as they are sometimes want to do, and by day 6-7, drinking was to blackout.

    Now by morning of day 7, Lizard was feeling mild withdrawals in addition to his well-earned hangover. Now, he's a rather experienced drinker, and (once) had a fairly substantial addiction going, but was not addicted going into the week, nor did he have a particularly high tolerance. He killed the W/Ds by tapering for a day, so it was very much milder than he'd experienced before.

    How long does it really take to develop a physical addiction to booze? Lizard has always felt that alcohol's addictive potential--while high with effort--took a while to kick in. Upon reflection, he thinks that much of that is due to the moderating after-effects of drinking to excess. (After all, opiate users usually counsel to wait 48-72 hours between use, and hangovers usually encourage a sane drinker to wait about an equivalent amount of time.)

    So, how many straight days of drinking does it take?
     
  2. doppey

    doppey Newbie

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    As far as I know months if not years.
     
  3. Birkill

    Birkill Newbie

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    Fuk it swims being drinkin every day for at least 3 months drinking probably in excess of 200 units a week and is yet to experience any serious wd`s yet!
     
  4. Morpheous

    Morpheous Newbie

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    Swims been drinkin pretty much every evening for the last couple of years atleast, swim doesn't wd if he doesnt drink, he just enjoys a drink in the evening, opiates on the other hand, different story all together!!! My personal opinion, addictions mainly all in the head, well atleast 75% anyways!

    PEACE :cool:
     
  5. Sushi

    Sushi Gold Member Donating Member

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    According to Madlab's memory bank: developing physical addiction to alcohol might require years of heavy drinking. Young people (teenagers) can be afflicted *much* faster. Addiction to alcohol precedes itself considerably any symptoms of physical addiction. Physical addiction to alcohol appears usually in final, most advanced phases of alcoholism. Psychological addiction to alcohol before developing symptoms of physical addiction is alcoholism too, of course.
     
  6. TheBadMan

    TheBadMan Newbie

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    During the Winter Holiday season, on the news often MDs will talk about how to avoid or minimize hangovers and the last MD I saw said that it has been put forward that hangovers are partly early withdrawal symptoms - though the doc was just suggesting it.

    In SWIM's experience, he found that after three days of drinking straight, he began experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Typically, his alcohol withdrawal is characterized by extreme anxiety. The anxiety usually is experienced as "butterflies in the stomach" to a sickening degree.

    You guys really think it takes years? Tolerance (once symptom of dependence) can develop to alcohol after only a few days of drinking. I think that you can become physiologically dependent on alcohol within a week (sure, not to the point where you might suffer fatal DTs, but you can still be addicted). It might takes years to turn a weekend binge drinker into an alcoholic, who drinks daily, but alcohol addiction can come on really fast. If you ever stop and start drinking, or don't drink for long periods, then have a week or so when drinking is involved, pay attention to your tolerance. Often by the second or third night in a row of drinking, one's tolerance can easily shoot up by 20%. Maybe I'm confused and you guys are talking about a sort of "normal" progression into alcoholism instead of just "how quickly *can* one become physiologically dependent on alcohol?" SWIM suspects that the answer to the latter is that heavy alcoholism can develop within a month (partly because SWIM has seen this happen to at least a few people). SWIM has a friend who can become an alcoholic in what literally seems like the switch of a lightbulb: from a year or more of total abstinence, to arbitrarily having a few drinks one day, then drinking everyday (immediately, the day after starting drinking again, he's drinking everyday) and then quitting within a year of starting to drink again (and he is definitely an alcoholic during these periods). SWIM has a hard time with "years" or anything close to "a year." It just seems to contradict what he's seen.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2009
  7. Sushi

    Sushi Gold Member Donating Member

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    Yep, Madlab just repeated to me that this is what he read - it takes years of heavy drinking to develop a physical addiction. Sure, he is ready to agree that there is no difference between body and mind, and that both are one, hence all symptoms of addiction are psycho-physical.

    But hangover is mostly a result of intoxication, really, when Alf got drunk for a first time in his life and then suffered a hangover it was not withdrawal symptom, unless you are willing to believe that he got addicted when he drank too much at once. When alcoholic addicted physically to alcohol stops drinking this causes reaction so serious that it oftenly leads to psychotic breaks and death. This is something else and more than a hangover.

    Also, tolerance can't be really considered a symptom of dependence, and even if it is, it's occurance doesn't necessarily mean physical addiction. Take LSD for example. Or JWH-018. And DXM.

    PS.
    Sorry, can't reasonably polemicize if the above post is growing after mine post has been sent.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2009
  8. bcubed

    bcubed Gold Member

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    I've read that, medically, consumption of >= 1 pint of hard liquor a day for 14+ days straight is the point at which they start to worry about withdrawal effects of stopping.

    I don't know, however, if this means that 2 weeks of drinking that much might addict one, of it just means that someone who's stabilized on a pint a day might have withdrawals.
     
  9. Sushi

    Sushi Gold Member Donating Member

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    Madlab was pretty sure the question was: physical addiction, how fast :)
    Most psychoactive substances are addictive, even cannabis, some people claim that, produce withdrawal symptoms. But then again most of these psychoactive substances are not physically addictive, in fact just few of them are: opiates, nicotine and alcohol, as far as Madlab recalls, correct him if he's wrong, he will admit it, swiy know, maybe he is slightly mad but not stubborn ;)
    And in case of alcohol, physical addiction developes slowly, at least according to everything Madlab read (in books, and even here at DF, no longer than yesterday - check R&A forum) and heard. It is surely dependent on intesity of drinking and on age of a drinker. Alf knows an anecdotal story of a kid from his neighbourhood who was a heavy drinker at the age of 17 and after a year of drunkeness managed to achieve delirium tremens after withdrawal. But really, in most users physical addiction comes much, much later in the final stages of alcoholism.
     
  10. TheBadMan

    TheBadMan Newbie

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    What is Madlab and why do they believe that their answer is right?
    SWIM can't just take their word for it. SWIM recalls that (J&J maybe?) used to insist that opiate addiction and tolerance were nonexistent in humans. SWIM finds this very difficult to accept.
     
  11. Sushi

    Sushi Gold Member Donating Member

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    Read some books then, check online sources, ask at Recovery and Addiction forum here - Madlab (Alf's master & girlfriend) really doesn't expect anyone to take her word for it. And she's not insisting alcohol is not physically addictive. It is. But in case of grown up humans developing physical addiction takes much longer than a year of drinking. And it is not required to become alcoholic. Addiction to alcohol precedes considerably physical addiction to it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2009
  12. bcubed

    bcubed Gold Member

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    Yeah, I can see we're getting off on a tangent a bit.

    I guess I wasn't really clear enough when I asked: I wasn't asking how long, given their druthers, it would take to turn a novice drinker into an alcoholic.

    I was asking how long it would take for a fairly frequent drinker, but not currently physically dependent (in other words, many of the sort of SWIYs who might frequent the "alcohol" sub-forum) to have at least moderate complications associated with stopping after a stretch of drinking similar to that one might indulge in during a vacation or extended celebration. I felt this a pertinent topic because, if as little as a week or two of excess would cause dependency issues, a lot of drinkers who might not be expecting complications could wind up with their...uh, liver in the wringer!

    Based on fairly sketchy data, it seems at least plausible that heavy, daily drinking over an extended vacation (more than a week) is approaching uncomfortable withdrawal effects. Of course, better data--particularly first-hand data--is always appreciated.

    I hope I've clarified what I was asking.
     
  13. bosch man

    bosch man Silver Member

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    my doc told my dog that you'd need to drink 15 units daily to suffer minor withdrawal, 30+ daily equals risk of seizures.....bare in mind the dog has drunk daily for around 8 years at 10 - 12 units daily and was told i could easily stop at this level without issue.
     
  14. beentheredonethatagain

    beentheredonethatagain Silver Member

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    the totaly on going party and hiking and camping and partying and talking , working your body overtime has made it feel more intense coming down.

    the body says slow down on too much alcohol , not as young as we were in highschool.
     
  15. Mammon

    Mammon Silver Member

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    SWIM doesn't know. All he would say, given his experience, is that it's as long as it takes to start to fantasise about drinking. When you can see cold beers and crystal cocktails at 6.00pm, whether you look at the clock or not, you know you've hit that point.
     
  16. EscapeDummy

    EscapeDummy Palladium Member

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    swim thinks physical dependance takes quite a while to develop, even with regular drinking. Swim is in college and he has friends who drink from 2x a month to 5 times a week. Some of his friends defiently exhibit signs of dependance, but Swim would say he doesn't have any friends who drink less than 3 nights a week and show signs of physical dependance.
     
  17. theashesstir

    theashesstir Silver Member

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    I'm sorry, I don't mean to be inflammatory, but the notion that it takes several months to years of drinking before being able to induce a state of physiological discontinuation syndrome, or a physical withdrawal from alcohol is utter garbage.

    Developing addiction, physical or psychological is different from developing a physical addiction.

    If you take a teenager, adult, senior (whatever) and give them something like 500ml - a litre of hard alcohol a day. Say maybe 4-6 shots of vodka every 6-8 hours, and you do that for just a few weeks, maybe less, but lets say 15-25 days for sake of argument, and then you remove that alcohol without replacing it with some other GABAergic drug, and you will definately see some elements of physical withdrawal to the effect of insomnia, anxiety, panic attack, tremor or palpation. It doesnt take much more than several days of round-the-clock modulation of your nervous systems' homeostatis to induce a physical withdrawal.

    Along those lines, if you hit the bottle really hard for a week, even if you werent much of a drinker before, you may notice a followup of a couple more edgy days, granted you wont likely be dealing w/ the DTs or anything like that in the short term. But you WILL most definately detect an unmistakable physiological difference from baseline.

    The suggestion that it would take numerous months or years of hard drinking is utter garbage. It just typically happens to take that long for most people because most people dont go from Zero to drunk 24/7 overnight.
     
  18. Mikeymc

    Mikeymc Silver Member

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    my roommate who is a doctor, says it really is based upon the frequency of ones drinking and the amount they are drinking as well...the alcohol of choice often can play an important role. More so psychologically, what are the triggers or the reason people are drinking. Hope that helps.

    As always,
    Very best wishes
     
  19. Dude101

    Dude101 Mercury Member

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    Would I risk getting addicted if I drink about 8 shots per week? I have a high tolerance though.
     
  20. sirmoonie

    sirmoonie Banned

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    It takes decades of daily large quantity drinking to get physically addicted to alcohol. Its not a concern for the great majority of even hard core drinkers.