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Addiction to Alcohol/Alcohol abuse affected by time of month


I am a 33 year old woman who has had a problem with binge drinking since the age of 21. A couple of years ago I saw a therapist to deal with the underlying emotional issues causing me to abuse alcohol.  Since this process I have been able to control my drinking instead of being controlled by it.  Except during the premenstrual time of the month - right before my period comes I feel an overwhelming urge to drink which I almost always succumb to' It is the only time I can't resist alcohol. I have never suffered from pms, I don't get anxiety, depression or irritability- just a massive craving for alcohol.  This is frustrating because I can now resist alcohol at every time except this one. I wanted to know if you have ever heard of women with this problem and if you know of something I can do about this. Thank you.

Hi Laura,

I don't recall hearing of this problem, but I could see a physical or biochemical basis for it occurring.  

If you think of it this way, continued alcohol misuse trains and conditions the body and mind to accept it (alcohol) as a change agent -- for managing moods, alleviating shyness or social anxiety, dampening anxiety, and masking pain.  Substances have a highly predictive effect which we recognized consciously and unconsciously over time.

It could be that just before your monthly cycle, the registration of any sense of discomfort, or perceived sense of that discomfort, triggers an alcohol-use response.

I commend you for succeeding at managing your emotional difficulties prior to getting a handle on alcohol use. In your case, the basis for the emotional distress was resolved with therapy, and this translated into improved management of alcohol cravings.  Usually, we find it necessary to move someone into sobriety before we can adequately address their mental health issues.

It might be helpful for you to consult a substance abuse counselor, who might give you some new tools to manage cravings.  There are a lot of tools in the the abstinence "toolbox" that people can use for this purpose.  While you remain sober most of the time, I assume you are still vulnerable to heavy alcohol use at these particular times, and that you place yourself at risk in a number of ways with that misuse of alcohol.  Some caution is advised there.

Thanks for your question,

Addiction to Alcohol

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Peter L.


Any questions regarding addictive behavior, withdrawal symptoms, selecting treatment options, relapse prevention, defining abuse vs. dependence, self-help groups, denial and resistance, building motivation, physical health effects of alcohol, substitution of other addictive substances; holistic approaches to addiction recovery.


I have been a counselor, educator, and supervisor in the addiction field for 28 years. I hold alcohol and drug counselor certification and licenses in three states. I have experience with adolescents and adults, ranging from those who are experimental/casual users of alcohol to those with very progressed addictive disorders.

Masters Degree - Behavioral Science CADAC, LADC, LADC1

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