Alcoholism is drinking alcoholic beverages at a level that interferes with physical health, mental health, and social, family, or job responsibilities. Alcoholism is also a serious disease that can affect anyone, regardless of issues such as race or finances.
• Alcohol and caffeine are the two most widely abused substances in the world.
• Alcoholism is divided into two broad categories – abuse and dependence.
• About 5% to 10% of male drinkers and 3% to 5% of female drinkers could be diagnosed as alcohol dependent – this means about 12 million people in the United States alone.
The Effects Of Alcohol
Alcohol acts as a depressant on the central nervous system. This can lead to a decrease in physical and mental activity and at the same time an increase in anxiety and tension.
The Symptoms of Alcohol
Because alcohol is a depressant, drinking it can lead to a decrease in:
Even a few drinks can change behavior, slow motor skills, and decrease the ability to think clearly. Alcohol can impair concentration and judgment. Drinking a lot of alcohol can cause drunkenness (intoxication).
Symptoms of Alcoholism
- Abdominal pain
- Drinking alone
- Episodes of violence with drinking
- Hostility when confronted about drinking
- Lack of control over drinking — being unable to stop or reduce alcohol intake
- Making excuses to drink
- Nausea and vomiting
- Need for daily or regular alcohol use to function
- Neglecting to eat
- Not caring for physical appearance
- Numbness and tingling
- Secretive behavior to hide alcohol use
- Shaking in the morning
Alcohol withdrawal develops because the brain adapts to alcohol and cannot function well without the drug. Symptoms of withdrawal may include:
- Confusion or seeing and hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
- Death (rarely)
- Increased blood pressure
- Loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting
- Raised temperature
- Rapid heart rate
- Restlessness or nervousness