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Alcoholism
What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is the most serious form of problem drinking, and describes a strong, often uncontrollable, desire to drink. Sufferers of alcoholism will often place drinking above all other obligations, including work and family, and may build up a physical tolerance or experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop.

Alcoholism is sometimes known as alcohol addiction or alcohol dependence. It’s slightly different to ‘harmful drinking’ which is an occasional pattern of drinking which can cause damage your health.

An example of harmful drinking is drinking too much at a party, and risking a fall or argument. This pattern may develop into alcoholism if that kind of harmful drinking becomes a habit and happens on a regular basis.

alcoholism

To be diagnosed with alcoholism, individuals must meet any two of the below criteria within the same 12-month period:

  • Using alcohol in higher amounts or for a longer time than originally intended.
  • Being unable to cut down on alcohol use despite a desire to do so.
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of alcohol.
  • Cravings, or a strong desire to use alcohol.
  • Being unable to fulfill major obligations at home, work, or school because of alcohol use.
  • Continuing to abuse alcohol despite negative interpersonal or social problems that are likely due to alcohol use.
  • Giving up previously enjoyed social, occupational, or recreational activities because of alcohol use.
  • Using alcohol in physically dangerous situations (such as driving or operating machinery).
  • Continuing to abuse alcohol despite the presence of a psychological or physical problem that is probably due to alcohol use.
  • Having a tolerance (i.e. needing to drink increasingly large or more frequent amounts of alcohol to achieve desired effect).
  • Developing symptoms of withdrawal when efforts are made to stop using alcohol.

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