Alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, as it is referred to by the American Medical Association, is an addictive dependence on alcohol that is usually characterized by the following symptoms:
• Craving for alcohol or a strong need to drink.
• Loss of control or the inability to stop drinking.
• Withdrawal symptoms such as delirium tremens (DTs).
• Increased tolerance to alcohol (requiring larger amounts to achieve the desired effect).
Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive and potentially fatal disease. It is classified as a chronic disease because currently there is no known cure for alcoholism. It can however, be successfully treated.
Alcohol addiction is deemed a progressive illness because the physical and emotional toll of alcoholism becomes elevated as time goes on, what starts out as a mild hangover following a social night out with friends can easily progress into alcohol dependency. Many times, the progression is so slow and subtle that it is often difficult to perceive. This disease is also fatal!.
A person with an alcohol addiction will look confused, unable to think logically and delusional. One of the psychological symptoms that go hand in hand with alcoholism symptoms is denial. An alcoholic will continue to be in denial about their addiction. They do not want to admit that it is alcoholism that brought them to this situation.
Alcohol addicts will show a rapid decline of health. This is caused by damage to organs due to excessive alcohol consumption. Alcoholism, left untreated, often results in liver disease, internal bleeding and ulcers, heart disease, car accidents or emotional problems leading to suicide, cirrhosis, hepatitis, respiratory infections, pancreatitis and brain damage. There is also associated weight loss as a result of malnutrition, which interferes with digestion and nutrient absorption.
Even in stages less advanced than these, alcoholism can create many social problems for the addicted. Such problems include marital conflict or divorce, legal problems stemming from drunk driving or public intoxication, loss of employment, and often loss of respect from one’s peers and colleagues.
Many who do not understand alcoholism see such problems as self-imposed or something that is easily avoidable. Those of us in the treatment profession know better. The good news it that alcohol addiction & alcoholism can be treated by detox methods to cleanse and detoxify the system and successfully so.