Alcoholism is an individual’s dependence on liquor or any beverage containing alcohol to satiate a particular craving. Whether it is the feeling of intoxication or to get numb from emotional stress, there are various reasons why an individual revels in this addiction.
- The American Medical Association (AMA) says alcoholism is a chronic disease with genetic, environmental, psychological factors influencing its progress and manifestations. As a disease, it is considered a United States’ epidemic.
- Data show that alcoholism has become so prevalent in American society that is has caused numerous deaths, ranking it as the third leading cause of preventable death (next to smoking and obesity).
- Each year, around 85,000 people die due to alcoholism with 30% of these caused by homicides and 20% caused by suicide cases.
- Alcoholism is involved with vehicular accidents as well as domestic abuse, social violence, and other criminal deeds.
Causes of alcoholism often include environmental influence or biological tendencies.
An individual, who was raised by alcoholic parent/s or is surrounded by alcoholics, is likely to become one in the long run especially when problems happen all at the same time. It may also prove true to an individual who, as a child, was adopted by a non-alcoholic family, but was originally born in an alcoholic family.
Its effects often lead to the most damaging factors that would affect one’s health and life in general. Some of the complications may include poor nutrition, memory loss, high blood pressure, difficulty with balance, trouble in walking, diseases in the liver such as hepatitis, heart rhythm disturbances, and muscle weakness.
Also, anemia, decreased defence against infections, low blood sugar, clotting disorders, gastrointestinal irritation and inflammation, problems with pancreas, high fat content in the blood, reproductive fertility interference, weakened bones, anxiety, sleep disturbances, depression, and increased risk of cancers in the esophagus, liver, and breasts are common.
The effects range from physical consequences to mental and emotional ones.
While alcohol is a drink that knows no specific gender, studies have shown that men are more likely to become alcoholics than women. Cases have also revealed that among the number of adults admitted to hospitals, those with alcohol addiction cover 20% of the total.
Characteristics of alcohol addiction include a prolonged period of frequent alcohol use, the inability to take full control once it progresses, and physical dependence. The dependence often shows through the withdrawal symptoms the moment the addicted person stops the use of it, tolerance or the need to use more alcohol to achieve the same effects, and a variety of social problems which would lead to legal cases rooted by this addiction.
But as a disease, it can be treated in rehabilitation centers, life groups, or a fellowship with other alcoholics. Proper consultation also works effectively to combat this disease and help the individual suffering from this addiction cope with life during and after the treatment.
Alcohol addiction will also be overcome by learning preventive measures once cravings come once again. Listening to other people’s advices can be very helpful as well.