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MAIN Arrow to HealthHealth Arrow to DiseaseDiseases & Conditions Arrow to AlcoholismAlcoholism Arrow to Alcoholism Stats, Facts, ResearchStats, Facts & Research

Although there are tons of facts and information on the topic, the questions most commonly asked about alcoholism and alcohol abuse include:

How do I know if I'm an alcoholic?

According to the Centers for Disease Control the three most the three most common signs or symptoms of alcoholism include: 1.) A strong craving for alcohol. 2.) Continued use despite repeated physical, psychological, or interpersonal problems. and 3.) The inability to limit drinking. In practice, this usually breaks down to a cluster of four distinct symptoms:

Craving — a strong need, or compulsion, to drink
Impaired control — the inability to limit one's drinking on any given occasion.
Physical dependence— withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, shakiness, and anxiety
Tolerance — the need for increasing amounts of alcohol in order to feel its effects

diagram illustrating the harmful effects of alcohol on brain, heart, liver and other organs

Is alcoholism really a disease?

While there is still ongoing debate about whether or not to classify alcoholism as a voluntary choice or a disease, the US medical and legal establishment has concluded that the overuse of alcohol may indeed be classified as disease. A malfunction in the neurotransmitters in the brain of alcoholics is usually pointed to as a physical condition and the official NIAAA position on alcoholism is that "the craving that an alcoholic feels for alcohol can be as strong as the need for food or water. An alcoholic will continue to drink despite serious family, health, or legal problems." They also add that " like many other diseases, alcoholism is chronic, meaning that it lasts a person's lifetime; it usually follows a predictable course; and it has symptoms."

Is there an alcoholism "gene"?

Research shows that alcoholism can indeed be inherited. If either of your parents suffered from alcoholism, your chances are likely increased that you will develop a drinking problem, as well. While research is ongoing, scientists also point to environment, lifestyle, and other factors that come into play. While your genes may not be your destiny, awareness of the probability of inheriting the disease may be helpful in curtailing your drinking habits before they become a problem.

Is there a cure for alcoholism?

No, not yet. But there is treatment available in the form of counseling and alcoholism support, as well as drugs now being used to help with cravings or withdrawal symptoms such as naltrexone, acamprosate and disulfiram.

More facts & information about alcoholism around the Web:

Around the Web, get an online education in alcoholism by the numbers with studies on alcohol's effects on fetal development, the elderly, men vs. women -— plus more on teen drinking habits, college binge drinking, drunk driving, alcohol-related crime statistics and recent research on alcoholism's economic costs...

 


Fast Stats - Alcohol Use
- This is a quick overview and downloadable PDF files offering official data from the National Center for Health Statistics on alcohol use in the U.S. by adults and teens, mortality rates from alcohol abuse, facts on chronic liver disease and cirrhosis.

College Drinking Prevention - Related Research - Find links to major publications, statistics, databases and studies on U.S. college age drinking and abuse from CollegeDrinkingPrevention.gov.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Here's a comprehensive list of the U.S. organization's pamphlets and brochures available for viewing in PDF format with links to related databases, current clinical trials, FAQ.

The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - Information and research on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders including a searchable database of related journal articles, a U.S. national and state directory of referral services, an extensive list of related links, calendar of events.

Institute of Alcohol Studies - Extensive U.K. information on alcohol-related issues in Great Britain and the EU, covering binge drinking, drinking and driving, workplace issues, related crime statistics, and more.


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