Alcoholism


Head | Neurology | Alcoholism (Disease)


Description

Alcoholism is a term used for alcohol problems, and usually means drinking alcoholic beverages in a compulsive and uncontrolled way, because of certain factors such as the drinkers health, personal relationships, and social standing. Medically, it is considered a disease, specifically a neurological disorder.

Alcoholism or alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse are two different forms of problem drinking. Alcoholism is when a person has signs of physical addiction to alcohol and continues to drink, despite problems with physical health, mental health, and social, family, or job responsibilities.

Alcohol may control the entire life of a person life and relationships. Alcohol abuse is when somebody is drinking leads to problems, but not physical addiction.

Symptoms of alcohol dependence include: memory lapses after heavy drinking, needing more and more alcohol to feel drunk, alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you havent had a drink for a while, alcohol-related illnesses such as alcoholic liver disease.

Causes and Risk factors

There is no known cause of alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Research suggests that certain genes may increase the risk of alcoholism, but which genes and how they work are not known.

An increased risk for alcohol abuse and dependence is having a parent with alcoholism. Also more likely to abuse alcohol or become dependent if someone is: a young adult under peer pressure, having depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia, having easy access to alcohol, having low self-esteem, having problems with relationships.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Completely stopping the use of alcohol is the ideal goal of treatment. This is called abstinence. A strong social network and family support are important in achieving this....