Alcohol Addiction

Are you asking yourself how to stop drinking? Are you experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms? Or are you concerned that a loved one may be suffering from alcoholism? Alcohol addiction is a disease, which if untreated will worsen and can even be life-threatening. Most sufferers cannot stop drinking without assistance. Find out more about alcohol withdrawal symptoms, alcoholism and its causes and the signs of alcoholism.

Alcohol Facts and Figures

  • Globally, Europeans consume the most alcohol per head in the world. 
  • 1.6 million Spaniards (1.3 million men and 300,000 women) abuse alcohol.
  • An estimated 11% of UK citizens (men and women) suffered from alcohol use disorders (including alcohol dependence and harmful use) in 2010*.
  • An estimated 5.9% of UK citizens (men and women) suffered from alcohol dependence in 2010*.
  • Worldwide, 61.7% of the population aged 15 and older had not drunk in the last 12 months.

*WHO global status report on alcohol and health, 2014.

Effective Alcohol Treatment

Everyone deserves a meaningful life. We offer a proven and highly effective private alcohol treatment programme to help you stop drinking, and stay sober. Our unique, holistic approach, includes a successful combination of medical and psychological treatments, in group sessions or through personal coaching.

From the moment you register with us you are never alone. Our professional, dedicated team is here to help you to take back control, in a pleasant environment where you do not need to feel embarrassed or ashamed. We strongly believe in working together – loved ones can also be involved in the process through our relationship and family counselling.

Our residential treatment takes place in the peaceful surroundings of our modern, private clinics in Marbella, Spain. Treatment can be provided in English or Spanish. We look forward to helping you start a new and fulfilling life free of alcohol.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms

If we drink regularly or heavily, our body can get used to the alcohol. If we then stop drinking, this can lead to alcohol withdrawal symptoms. But are these serious and something we should be concerned about – for ourselves or a loved one? Find out how two of our former patients experienced alcohol withdrawal symptoms, before eventually seeking help to stop drinking. They now lead full and rewarding lives after following our successful alcohol addiction treatment.

“I got up very late. Then I started looking forward to – about four o’clock. Then it was about time to get my first drink. Apart from that, there was very little activity. My only activity, which I was really very good at, was cooking. Because in my kitchen I had organized a number of very brilliant places where I could always find something, or hide something. And I always invented dishes that took a long time to prepare, so I could stay in the kitchen until I relaxed a bit. Not every day was exactly the same… but they all followed the same pattern… Certainly when I was drinking my mood could become aggressive. Then I did the most terrible things.” Dave

Typical alcohol withdrawal symptoms

Toos suffered from many of the following typical alcohol withdrawal symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shakiness or trembling
  • Poor sleep and fatigue
  • Restlessness 
  • Irritability leading to aggression
  • Lack of appetite
  • Sweating
  • Depression

“I had a brutal hangover – the hangovers became terribly intense. There are times you even think you’re dying. I was often so drunk that I woke up with a start – because I forgot to breathe. I was in the early stages of an alcoholic coma. I was so intoxicated, so deeply under the influence, that my autonomous nervous system just stopped. I was afraid to go to sleep… A few horrible days went by. I was suffering from tremors, and sweating spells.” Rob

Serious alcohol withdrawal symptoms

Ben suffered serious alcohol withdrawal symptoms, which can be life threatening. Fortunately, Ben checked into a clinic to detox and sought help to overcome his alcohol addiction. It is important to seek immediate medical attention, even if symptoms may initially seem mild, since these can rapidly worsen. 

  • Racing heart 
  • Seizure
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever 
  • Liver failure

Do I need to stop drinking?

Do you or a family member need a drink to stop the shakes in the morning? Drinking to relieve alcohol withdrawal symptoms like shakiness, or any of the symptoms listed above, is a serious warning sign of alcoholism.

Take our alcohol self-test to find out more about the signs of alcoholism and whether you need to cut down, detox, or stop drinking altogether.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism, alcohol addiction or alcohol dependence is the most severe form of problem drinking. In addition to suffering from the signs of alcohol abuse, an alcoholic is also physically dependent on alcohol. This means that they can no longer control their drinking and experience withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop. 

Alcoholism is a chronic disease. This means that once someone has developed an addiction, they will remain addicted for the rest of their lives. For example, someone who develops alcohol dependency during a burnout will remain an alcoholic, even after the burnout has been successfully treated. While alcohol addiction cannot be cured, it can be managed. Recovery requires support from family, friends and professionals alike. Find out about our effective treatment programme.

What are the causes of alcohol dependence?

People often think that there must be a cause for their addiction and that once the underlying problem is solved, the addiction will also be cured. Unfortunately this is not the case, though facing any underlying problems will help to stay alcohol-free over the longer term. It is not necessary to understand the cause of alcohol dependence before treating the condition – a fire has to be put out even though the cause is unknown. Similarly, potential causes should not be used as an excuse for continuing to abuse alcohol.

Is alcoholism genetic?

It has long been acknowledged that genetic factors play an important role in alcohol addiction. If you have a parent, brother or sister who has suffered from alcoholism, you are three to four times more likely to become an alcoholic yourself. This does not mean that you will develop an alcohol addiction. Nor does it mean that you cannot recover if you do.

What are the other risk factors?

Any combination of a variety of genetic, psychological and environmental factors can all play a role in whether someone goes on to develop an addiction to alcohol.


  • Personality traits such as low self-esteem
  • Stress and anxiety 
  • Mental health problems such as depression


  • Adverse upbringing 
  • Easy availability of alcohol
  • Cultural acceptance
  • Employment – certain groups are at higher risk, unemployment is also a risk
  • Role modelling – family, friends, community, idols

Am I an alcoholic?

If your life revolves around your use of alcohol, which has become self-destructive or dangerous to others, and is causing serious problems at home, work or financially, then you should seek help.

Take our alcohol self-test to find out more about the signs of alcoholism and whether you need to cut down, or stop altogether.

Signs of alcoholism

Did you know that you – or a loved one – does not have to drink all day to suffer from alcohol abuse or to have an alcohol addiction? In fact, you do not even need to drink every day or in extreme amounts to develop alcoholism or to have a problem with alcohol for which you should seek help.

What is the difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction?

It is ultimately a matter of degree. Alcoholism or alcohol dependence is the most severe form of problem drinking. An addiction to alcohol can develop suddenly after a stressful event, or gradually over many years. 

If you abuse alcohol, you still have some ability to control or limit your drinking. However, alcohol abuse can also be self-destructive and dangerous – to you and those around you. Further, it is a high risk factor for eventually developing an addiction to alcohol. Even if you are not (yet) addicted to alcohol, it may be just as essential to seek help for alcohol abuse as for alcoholism.

What are the signs of alcoholism?

“I knew I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t cut down. I could only drink more – and I wanted more… Towards the end of my addiction, I started drinking as soon as I woke up. Then I felt better, and I just kept drinking – until I fell asleep again. That’s what my days were like. I was mainly planning, and getting up the courage to get myself some more booze…” Ted

One of the main signs of alcoholism is that you continue to drink even though your drinking is causing increasing problems to all aspects of your life. Typical symptoms of alcoholism are:

  • You cannot stop drinking when you try.
  • You develop withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop drinking.
  • You have cravings for alcoholic drinks.
  • You cannot control how much you drink.
  • You have to drink more to get the effect you want.
  • You spend a lot of time drinking or recovering from drinking.
  • You don’t manage to do what you should at work, at home or for your studies because of your drinking.
  • You drink again and again, even when it puts you or others in danger.

What are the effects of alcoholism and alcohol abuse?

“You’re focused entirely on yourself. All your relationships fail… You see your career getting bogged down. Physically, you’re not in great shape either… Anyway, you notice all of these things… your disconnectedness from your passion, basically. That’s a very serious thing. And your instrument shows this very clearly. Your skill on the instrument is an enormously strong indicator.” Ben, musician

The harmful use of alcohol can have a serious impact on your career, finances, relationships and your health. Long-term heavy drinking can lead to alcoholism, which is a chronic disease, liver cirrhosis, some cancers and heart disease. 

“I’ve really hurt people. Certainly when I was drinking my mood could become aggressive. Then I did the most terrible things. Even today, I still blush with shame when I think about it. It makes me wonder. What… What kind of devil did you have inside?” Dave

Of course alcoholism and alcohol abuse also put an enormous strain on family, friends and colleagues, and ultimately have an impact on society. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to injuries from violence and road accidents. Most countries in Europe have adopted policies, strategies and plans to reduce alcohol-related harm.

Do I drink too much alcohol?

Take our alcohol self-test to find out more about the signs of alcoholism and whether you need to cut down, or stop altogether. Find out how we can help you to stop drinking alcohol and overcome problem drinking.

Women and alcohol

Women are drinking more 

  • Recent studies reveal that women are drinking more alcohol.
  • The gender gap between men and women’s alcohol’s consumption has closed.
  • In the UK, women in managerial and professional positions drink more than women in routine or manual jobs.
  • The number of women admitted to hospital in the UK for alcohol-related problems rose by over 30% in the period 2008/9 to 2014/15.
  • In Spain, alcohol consumption among women is also increasing, particularly among professional women, where the consumption of alcohol is in some cases worryingly high.

Why do women turn to alcohol?

According to a recent study by Drinkaware, three in five Brits are turning to alcohol to cope with the stresses of everyday life. Women usually start drinking because of stress or emotional problems such as anxiety, loneliness or depression. Some of the factors that can lead a woman to develop a problem with alcohol include:

  • Successful women with a professional career may start drinking to relieve stress at work, home, or both;
  • Feeling overwhelmed at having to balance work with the demands of family life and raising children;
  • Not having children leading to depression;
  • The transition between youth and adulthood;
  • Losing their job;
  • Losing a loved one;
  • Divorce.

Alcohol can help relieve the stress women experience in trying to cope with the many simultaneous competing demands on them, or to numb the emotions associated with a loss or difficult situation. A woman who tries to be the perfect mother, daughter, sister, friend, and employee can end up reaching for the bottle to manage all the conflicting demands and responsibilities associated with her many roles. 

Abuse or trauma can lead to addiction

Over half the women treated for alcoholism at our clinic in Alicante suffered physical or sexual abuse in childhood or other trauma. Find out more. Research also indicates that 70% of women who report abusing drugs have a history of physical or sexual abuse. 

Why women should not hide a problem with alcohol!

“My only activity, which I was really very good at, was cooking. Because in my kitchen I had organized a number of very brilliant places where I could always find something, or hide something. And I always invented dishes that took a long time to prepare, so I could stay in the kitchen until I relaxed a bit.”

Often, women hide their problem with alcohol, until it is discovered by family and loved ones, and can no longer be ignored. As a result it may be several years before the problem is diagnosed, and action taken. However, many of the effects of alcohol pose a greater risk to women’s physical health at lower consumption levels than men.

Some alcohol-related physical impacts only affect women. Many studies have shown that alcohol is a major factor in breast cancer. Heavy drinking is known to be a possible cause of infertility. Drinking during pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby, with the risks increasing with the amount of alcohol consumed.

Let us help you overcome a drinking problem

When it comes to finding solutions to alcoholism, at our treatment facility we believe that we have to go one step further. We understand that everyone is unique and we work with each person as an individual. Our professional, caring staff help our patients to understand how their relationship with alcohol became problematic in order to take back control and regain a meaningful and rewarding life.

By failing to accept their own limits, women often abuse alcohol to hide problems, worries, and emotions, rather than recognising or accepting that they need help. We help women accept their own limits, and to accept loss. We help you go through the emotions that are part of this process and which are essential in guiding us to where we want to be and where we want to go.

If alcohol is affecting you and you think your drinking has gotten out of control, you are not alone. There is no need to feel ashamed. Get in touch with our team and let us help you take back your life from alcohol addiction.

A tailored treatment package just for you We create unique bespoke addiction recovery packages