Like many drugs and other addictions, there are a number of misconceptions about alcoholism and alcohol rehab. These can be unhelpful and confusing.

Here we aim to tackle some of the myths around alcoholism and alcohol rehab.

Alcoholics do not have any willpower

Some people mistakenly believe that alcoholics are simply weak-willed and just can’t control themselves. However, research shows that there is a lot more to it than this. Prolonged heavy drinking can actually cause changes in the brain and in addition the body can become physically dependent on alcohol. Some alcoholics experience withdrawal symptoms when they don’t drink – these can include shaking, vomiting, sweating and hallucinating. Alcohol detox and alcohol rehab can help people to get through these symptoms with the help of supervised medication.

You must drink everyday to have a problem with drinking

There is a common misunderstanding that alcoholics are drunk everyday. However, binge drinking can be just as dangerous. Some alcoholics binge drink regularly or go on ‘benders’ but they might not be drinking every single day.

Binge drinking at the weekend may start as alcohol abuse but can certainly lead to alcohol addiction and is still very dangerous for health and wellbeing.

In addition, some alcoholics may not always appear to be drunk – regular heavy drinking can lead to building up a tolerance where more and more alcohol is required for the effects to be felt. Heavy drinkers can often drink a surprising amount of alcohol without showing any signs of being drunk.

Someone with a job can’t be an alcoholic

Some people believe that there’s no way a ‘real alcoholic’ could hold down a job and other responsibilities. However, this isn’t true. It is possible to be a “high-functioning alcoholic” and still manage to make it to work each day.

Drinks after work, ‘liquid lunches’ and staff nights out can all make things hard for a problem drinker and indeed some people drink to escape from the pressures and stresses of the workplace.

I’m not an alcoholic because I can stop drinking whenever I like

Merely having to justify your drinking in this way may signify that a problem is brewing. If you think that your drinking may be developing into an addiction it’s a good idea to try and cut down and seek help. Alcohol treatment is available such as prevention programmes which help you analyse your drinking and pinpoint any drinking triggers.