Alcoholism: Definition, Symptoms, Traits, Causes, Treatment

If you or someone you know has two of the symptoms in a 12-month period, they’ll be diagnosed with AUD. Close to 88,000 people in the U.S. die from alcohol-related causes every year. Only smoking, poor diet, and lack of physical activity kill more. Long-term alcohol use can affect bone density, leading to thinner bones and increasing your risk of fractures if you fall. Ulcers can cause dangerous internal bleeding, which can sometimes be fatal without prompt diagnosis and treatment. Over time, alcohol can cause damage to your central nervous system.

No matter how hopeless alcohol use disorder may seem, treatment can help. If you think you might have a problem with alcohol, call SAMHSA or talk to your healthcare provider. They can help you cope, make a treatment plan, prescribe medications and refer you to support programs.

What are the risk factors?

If the individual is unable to consume their regular frequency and quantity of alcohol, they may begin to exhibit alcohol withdrawal symptoms including tremors, nausea and excessive perspiration. Anyone with diabetes increases their odds of health complications when they drink too much. The risk of low blood sugar is higher due to heavy drinking because alcohol interferes with the body’s release of glucose. Patients commonly use a psychiatric disorder to deny alcohol abuse. Unless strong evidence indicates that the psychiatric disorder clearly precedes the alcoholism or is present during a long period of sobriety, the best plan is to proceed as if alcoholism is the primary diagnosis.

As a result, they eventually need to drink more to notice the same effects they once did. Over time, drinking can also damage your frontal lobe, the part of the brain responsible for executive functions, like abstract reasoning, decision making, social behavior, and performance. Slurred speech, a key sign of intoxication, happens because alcohol reduces communication between your brain and body.

Self-testing: Do I misuse alcohol?

Alcohol use disorder (sometimes called alcoholism) is a medical condition. It involves heavy or frequent alcohol drinking even when it causes problems, emotional distress or physical harm. A combination of medications, behavioral therapy and support can help you or a loved one recover. Genetic, psychological, social and environmental factors Alcoholic ketoacidosis Wikipedia can impact how drinking alcohol affects your body and behavior. Theories suggest that for certain people drinking has a different and stronger impact that can lead to alcohol use disorder. If your pattern of drinking results in repeated significant distress and problems functioning in your daily life, you likely have alcohol use disorder.

Data from adoption studies on daughters of persons with alcohol problems are less clear. Daughters might be at increased risk if the biological mother has alcoholism. A recent twin study in women found higher concordance in monozygotic twins than in dizygotic twins.

Support Your Recovery

If the sociological model were entirely correct, alcoholism should often be expected to disappear with maturation as is the case with many other symptoms of social deviance. Alcoholism is a chronic health concern just like heart disease or high blood pressure. It can be caused by multiple factors including genetic, social, psychological, and environmental risks. While it can’t be cured, AUD can be managed with proper treatment, including detox, counseling, medication, and support groups.

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