No harm in hanging out with the boys. After all, they say a little wine is good for the soul.

But once we habitually cross the social drinking boundary, many things may start to go wrong and the scary part is that sufferers are hardly able to admit when they lose control.

Issues of drugs and alcohol abuse cannot be overemphasized because of the negative effects it has on the mind.

Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Wale Ojediran provided deep insight into how alcohol damages your mental health with emphasis on the brain chemistry.

He likened the human brain to a “finely made soup that contains a well-balanced mixture of ingredients” but is being tampered with by addition of extra ingredient.

“Now when someone starts taking alcohol (or other psychoactive substances) repeatedly, the individual constantly takes a substance that affects the neurochemistry of the brain.

“Initially the brain can cope by adjusting for the alterations but over time the brain gets overwhelmed and makes some long-term plans to accommodate this constant intrusion.


Having understood this, it becomes important to now look at some of the warning signs of Dependence (Addiction) apart from withdrawal symptoms.

These are everyday signs. You only need to be true to yourself in order to know how much at risk you are.

1. Tolerance

There comes a time when it doesn’t matter anymore how much of it you take, you just keep going and it keeps having the same effect.

When you realize you have started taking more of the substance or other similar substance to achieve the same effect or high, there is a problem.

2. An Irresistible Urge To Take The Substance

This explains why someone will drink in the morning and keep some whiskey handy at work even though they know this is wrong, they just cannot help it.

When you become helpless in face of a desire to drink, it is a warning sign that you are already becoming an addict.

3. Neglecting Other Pleasures

There is a reason why drug users end up looking haggard and impoverished.

When you get to a level whereby you start neglecting other sources of pleasure like sex, food or other life's conveniences just for the substance, then there is trouble.

No normal person should prefer to go hungry just get alcohol.

4. Continuous use despite overt evidence of harm to the social life

There must be times when your consumption of alcohol has led you to misbehave or make silly mistakes.

Such can come in the form of job loss, accidents and relationship problems. You will agree these are issues that every sane person wants to prevent.

But if after any of such experiences you still cannot bring yourself to a point where you say no to alcohol, you need help.

Please note that a little use of alcohol now and again can spiral out of control into the realm of dependence (addiction); more so for someone with a family history of addiction. For such, the descent is steeper.

And if you find yourself or a loved one trapped in this condition, don't beat yourself up over it, kindly get professional help as soon as possible, you will be glad you did.