Warning: This article contains discussion of alcoholism which some readers may find distressing
We all remember the first time we had a few too many drinks.
In reality, it was more likely to have been something like a blue WKD which slowly introduced us to the British drinking culture that is, for better or worse, an integral part of the country's way of thinking.
In those moments, none of us think about what was a fun experience taking a sour turn later in life.
There are some obvious signs that you may have developed an alcohol addiction without even knowing it.
One of the most common warning signs is developing a functional tolerance to alcohol.
It's not something you'll even probably notice as it happens over time.
And it differs between individuals depending on how much they drink and how often.
So what is functional tolerance?
It's where you remain the ability to do day-to-day activities that you do in normal life while drinking or taking drugs.
The tolerance develops over consistent consumption over time, leaving a person in need of more of the stuff to feel the original effects.
From a scientific angle, it is when your central nervous system becomes used to a continuous presence of ethanol. The brain functions adapt, and so does behaviour, to the effects of ethanol.
There's a significant risk to developing a functional tolerance as it can result in organ damage, painful cravings, physical dependence, and potential overdose death from toxicity.
Experts at AddictionResource.net said: "Functional tolerance is particularly common with alcohol consumption, and there are a couple of possible reasons why.
"One potential reason is that alcohol is legal, easily obtainable, and often offered and expected in social situations.
"People who refrain from drinking are often judged more harshly for their behaviour than social drinkers are for their drinking behaviour.
"The effects of alcohol may be easier to hide simply because they are more socially acceptable.
"The term 'functioning alcoholic' has become commonplace to describe a person who is able to function normally while using alcohol without its impairing effects."
But the issue can be fixed and quicker than you might be thinking. Obviously the higher your tolerance the longer it takes to reverse it.
The key thing to bringing your tolerance down is going teetotal for a period of time.
AddictionResource.net experts say it is possible to reverse even a 'high' alcohol tolerance in as little as one month.
The most obvious way to lower your tolerance is to cut the booze out all together.
It's a big risk, though, to reverse your alcohol tolerance and then return to your previous ways.
Doing so risks even having a fatal overdose as your body cannot handle what it used to handle.
While another possibility is increasing your alcohol dependence.
If it gets worse, there is also the option of finding a rehab facility for alcohol addiction.
Please drink responsibly. If you want to discuss any issues relating to alcohol in confidence, contact Drinkline on 0300 123 1110, 9am–8pm weekdays and 11am–4pm weekends for advice and support.Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images