Published On: May 8, 2018662 words3.3 min read

Question:

Dear Doc

My question may seem a bit strange, but perhaps I am just looking for confirmation that I may have a problem. I am a 50 year old female. I can easily drink at least 3/4 of a bottle of wine a night, sometimes finishing the bottle.

Other alcohol does not “bother” me, but if I have wine in the fridge I “need” to drink it. We have whiskey, rum, etc but that does not affect me. Also I can never just have one glass of wine. If I have one it always leads to more. I also find that when I wake up in the morning I am adamant that I am not going to drink that evening, but by the time I get home from work I look for excuses to have a glass of wine always saying that “tomorrow I won’t have any”.

Is it possible to be addicted to wine? I have joined Tribe Sober and am going to try to do 30 days alcohol-free, but it is quite a depressing thought. Today is my first day. I also find that I tend to take Adcodol’s (up to 3 per day) which tends to relax me at work or if I feel a bit uptight. Could I also be addicted to Adcodol? Am I causing myself harm by drinking as I do and by taking the Adcodol’s?

I have been trying to lose weight also for some time now. I need to lose between 8 and 10 kg. Could the wine be contributing to my weight?

Answer:

The absolute volumes of alcohol that one should consume varies from regulatory authority and country. The US guidelines are not more than 3 per night for women and not more than 7 per week. That is roughly 1 1/2 bottle of wine per week.

You are exceeding this amount , but what seems to distress you is the drive to drink and the thought of giving it up seems daunting. It is completely possible to have formed some sort of dependency on alcohol. Yearning for one form of alcohol and rebuffing your less favourite drink is a story many people will tell you.

This is a complex condition with the first step being realising there is a problem. My approach is more to try and find a solution rather than labeling yourself and using it as another way to punish yourself. As a society we have a very ingrained alcohol culture – we fall into this trap and before we know it, we are stuck.

The Adcodol has an ingredient called Codeiene Phosphate which is addictive. I think you might be self-medicating a mood disorder with significant anxiety. Stopping the alcohol and the Codeine will help but you must address your anxiety. Your healthcare practitioner(GP) must screen you too to see if you do not also suffer from depression. These can be treated with medication taken under the care of a professional.

You must also discuss the way to go off the medication and the wine, as you might initially feel more anxious while the wine is leaving your body. As soon as the medication and the alcohol is out of your system, you will see a significant improvement in your mood, as well as your anxiety.

Alcohol contains large amounts of sugar that messes with our insulin levels and is also empty calories that can add to weight gain. Alcohol also increases appetite to manage the slump in the morning after consuming alcohol. The decreased inhibition that happens while consuming alcohol also makes us eat more.

I would not focus on the weight loss initially. My approach would be to see your GP, discuss going off the alcohol and the Adcodol, and use any medication that they might deem appropriate. Take it one day at a time, nurture yourself and focus on healthy foods, not weight loss.

You have taken the first step in the right direction. Enjoy this journey.

Dr M (Tribe Sober Doctor).

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