What is Alcoholism?
Alcohol abuse is defined as having unhealthy or dangerous drinking habits, such as drinking daily or drinking too much at a time. Alcohol abuse can lead to problems in your personal life, professional life, or even legal issues. If you continue to abuse alcohol, it can lead to alcohol dependence, also known as alcoholism. This means that you are physically or mentally addicted to alcohol, which includes having a strong need, or craving, to drink.
Alcoholism is a long-term (chronic) disease. Alcoholism refers to a disease known as alcohol dependence syndrome, which is the more severe stage of a group of drinking problems that begins with binge drinking and alcohol abuse.
You may be an alcoholic if you suffer from three or more of the following problems within a year:
- You cannot quit drinking or control how much you drink.
- You need to drink more in order to get the same effect.
- You suffer from withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking. Symptoms of withdrawal include sweating, shakiness, and anxiety.
- You spend a great deal of time drinking and recovering from drinking.
- You have made attempts to quit drinking or to cut back on the amount you drink but have not been successful in doing so.
- You continue to drink despite it causing harm to your relationships and leading to physical issues.
Alcoholics will typically continue to drink in spite of all the problems it has caused in their lives. When a person suffers from alcoholism, they will often also suffer from at least three of seven other symptoms, including excessive use of alcohol, neglect of other activities, persistence of alcohol use, impaired control of alcohol consumption, large amounts of time spent in alcohol-related activities, tolerance of alcohol and withdrawal symptoms.
Genetics and Alcoholism
Alcoholism tends to run in families and a vast amount of scientific research indicates that genetics play a role in developing alcohol problems. Research also shows that a person’s environment and peer influences also have an impact on the risk an individual has of becoming alcohol dependent.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Alcoholism
Alcoholism diagnosis can be difficult, since it depends on the drinker being willing to honestly answer a series of questions about his or her drinking patterns and attitudes. Alcoholism is a treatable disease through therapy and possible medication management.
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism, please don’t hesitate to contact our team of addiction experts at A New Start, Inc. by calling 1.844.TALK.ANS. Our intensive outpatient program in West Palm Beach offers recovery therapies following drug detox on a part-time, yet intensive schedule. IOP treatment allows clients to continue working or attending school while receiving treatment and support from our program and team of specialists.