- A chronic disease in which a person craves drinks that contain alcohol and is unable to control his or her drinking. A person with this disease also needs to drink greater amounts to get the same effect and has withdrawal symptoms after stopping alcohol use. Alcoholism affects physical and mental health, and can cause problems with family, friends, and work.
- A disorder characterized by a pathological pattern of alcohol use that causes a serious impairment in social or occupational functioning.
- A primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial. Each of these symptoms may be continuous or periodic. (morse & flavin for the joint commission of the national council on alcoholism and drug dependence and the american society of addiction medicine to study the definition and criteria for the diagnosis of alcoholism: in jama 1992;268:1012-4)
- For most adults, moderate alcohol use is probably not harmful. However, about 18 million adult americans are alcoholics or have alcohol problems. Alcoholism is a disease with four main features:
alcoholism carries many serious dangers. Heavy drinking can increase the risk of certain cancers. It can cause damage to the liver, brain, and other organs. Drinking during pregnancy can harm your baby. Alcoholism also increases the risk of death from car crashes, injuries, homicide, and suicide.if you want to stop drinking, there is help. Start by talking to your health care provider. Medicines, counseling, and support groups may help you to stop drinking. nih: national institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism
- craving - a strong need to drink
- loss of control - not being able to stop drinking once you've started
- physical dependence - withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, or shakiness when you don't drink
- tolerance - the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to feel the same effect
- Temporary mental disturbance marked by muscle incoordination and paresis as the result of excessive alcohol ingestion.