Alcoholism is a chronic disease with genetic, psychological, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations, that makes your body dependent on alcohol.
The individual becomes preoccupied with alcohol. He or she becomes obsessed with alcohol and is unable to control how much to drink. This leads to serious problems with relationships, health, work and finances.Left untreated, alcoholism can be fatal.
Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence, is a disease that includes the following four symptoms:
- Craving—A strong need, or urge, to drink.
- Loss of control—Not being able to stop drinking once drinking has begun.
- Physical dependence—Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety after stopping drinking.
- Tolerance—The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to get "high."
Do I have a problem with alcohol?
You definitely need to pull up your socks if:
- You drink alone or in secret.
- Your are unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
- Your cannot remember conversations or commitments.
- You make a ritual of having drinks before, with or after dinner and becoming annoyed when this ritual is disturbed or questioned.
- You lose interest in activities and hobbies that used to bring pleasure.
- You feel a need or compulsion to drink.
- You get irritable when your usual drinking time nears, especially if alcohol isn't available.
- You keep alcohol in unlikely places at home, at work or in the car.
- You gulp drinks, ordering doubles, becoming intoxicated intentionally to feel good or drinking to feel "normal".
- You are having legal problems or problems with relationships, employment or finances.
- Your are building a tolerance to alcohol so that you need an increasing number of drinks to feel alcohol's effects.
- You start experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms — such as nausea, sweating and shaking — if you don't drink.
What is the difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence?
Although similar in symptoms, alcohol abusers don't feel the same compulsion to drink and usually don't experience physical withdrawal symptoms when they don't drink. On the other hand dependence on alcohol also creates a tolerance to alcohol and the inability to control drinking.
What is the end result of this malady?
Alcohol causes premature death through overdose; organic complications involving the brain, liver, heart, and other organs; and by contributing to suicide, homicide, motor vehicle crashes, and other traumatic events.
Can Alcoholism be treated?
Although many people assume otherwise, alcoholism is a treatable disease. Medications, counseling and self-help groups are among the therapies that can provide ongoing support to help you recover from alcoholism.
What are the drugs for treating alcohol?
Certain medicines have been shown to help people with dependence reduce their drinking, avoid relapse to heavy drinking, and achieve and maintain abstinence. One of these drugs Disulfiram discourages drinking by making the person taking it feel sick after drinking alcohol. Naltrexone acts in the brain to reduce craving for alcohol after someone has stopped drinking. But all said and done no single medication is available that works in every case and/or in every person.
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