Alcohol Addiction: Definition
Alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, is a chronic, progressive disease that includes problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to drink despite negative consequences, having to drink more to get the same effect or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.
It is possible to have a problem with alcohol, even when it has not progressed to the point of alcoholism. Problem drinking means you drink too much at times, causing repeated problems, but you are not completely dependent on drinking.
Alcohol Addiction: Facts
Alcohol addiction has little to do with what kind of alcohol you drink, how long you have been drinking, or even exactly how much you drink.
Vulnerability to alcoholism can be inherited, but doctors still do not know what causes alcohol addiction.
Alcohol addiction affects people from every type of background, but here are several characteristics that can increase the risk that a person will develop alcoholism. These are known in the scientific community as “risk factors.”
“Binge Drinking” defined as five or more drinks in a sitting for men and four for women, can increase chances of developing alcohol addiction.
Alcohol addiction is a disease, which is why most alcoholics can’t stop using “willpower”
Alcohol addiction: Signs of a problem
There are some simple signs to understanding addiction and determining if you are an alcoholic:
- Does your drinking cause problems in your life?
- These can be legal, financial, moral, or spiritual.
- Do you make promises to yourself or others about quitting or cutting down on drinking and then break them?
- Do you lie about drinking or try to hide the amount you drink?
- Do you avoid social situations that don’t involve alcohol?
- Do you have a high tolerance for alcohol?
- Do you ever use alcohol first thing in the morning to get rid of hangover symptoms or avoid the shakes?
- Have you ever “blacked out” or forgotten things you did while you were drunk?
Alcohol Addiction: Intervention
Sometimes when an alcoholic’s problems reach a crisis stage, the family must seek a professional intervention. An intervention comes down to confronting the alcoholic with how his or her drinking has affected the people around them. The alcoholics friends, families, and employers tell the alcoholic how his or her drinking has become a problem in their lives.
Interventions should be carefully planned and developed by a professional substance abuse counselor. If they are done haphazardly, they can be counterproductive. The goal of an intervention is to get the alcoholic to go into a treatment program.
Alcohol Addiction: Treatment
Alcoholism is a treatable disease and there are many programs available to help and support an alcoholic that has decided to get help. Thousands of facilities in the United States offer alcohol and drug rehabilitation and treatment services, ranging from short-term residential or in-patient hospitalization to long-term, outpatient counseling and therapy. The goal of these facilities is to help the alcoholic learn how to remain sober and resist the urge to drink.