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
Physical dependence— withdrawal symptoms, such
as nausea, shakiness, and anxiety
Tolerance — the need for increasing amounts of alcohol in order to
feel its effects
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...
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.
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.
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.