Alcoholism Definition - Alcoholism Facts

What is alcoholism ?

Alcoholism is an addiction that can have serious consequences. The addict alcoholic beverage drink so much that the health, work and social life suffer.

Alcoholism may be viewed as a progressive disorder that usually develops gradually. One starts with an occasional drink for fun or relaxation, over time, the frequency of drinking occasions and eventually, the person in question (or its environment) to the discovery that one does not (or less) more can function without having drunk. Behaviors are increasingly influenced by the drink, and can lead to include dereliction of duty, neglect, quarrel and memory disorders.

 is an addiction that can have serious consequences Alcoholism Definition - Alcoholism Facts

Socially accepted drug

Alcohol is in many countries a socially accepted drug. Therefore alcoholism is not quickly recognized, and the boundary between enjoyable trips and kasus drinking vague. Many people, for example students, Drink years very much, but knowing if necessary to stay off the booze. Nevertheless, each year a number of students leaving the university as an alcoholic. Alcohol has obvious characteristics of a hard drug, because of the disadvantages such as addiction, aggression, vandalism and health effects.

Alcohol as national drug
Alcohol is sometimes called the "national drug" called "drug" because it has a clear impact on the psyche (mind); "National" because it is an accepted part of our culture. Alcohol is already very long drink. Nobody looks at it as a glass of drinking. It is accepted in Western society in almost all social groups.

Alcohol is often associated with socializing. That has been saved from childhood in the brains. This positive image, which often increases in the teens, usually conceals the negative aspects such as aggression, traffic accidents, vandalism and abuse under the influence of alcohol. The more you drink, the less they will be able to continue functioning normally. It will overestimate themselves and do things, often in groups, one would never do sober.

The social harm caused by alcohol is many times greater than that of all other drugs together.

Alcohol as poison and hard drug
Some dangers of physical damage (eg liver disease) and acute poisoning (drunk) are well known. Because of the social acceptance of alcohol is often forgotten that it was in fact a poison is where mind and body adjust slowly to go. For some, it ends so with alcoholism. It is said that alcohol addiction is a disease that mainly between the mind ', or is largely psychological. This indicates that drinking behavior is learned, acquired from other people drinking. Often there is a reason to drink more than others, but this does not necessarily have to be. How sick is an alcoholic, he or she continues to see something positive in the drink. The whole mind and body are set to drink alcohol. If a drinker stops but continues to hold a positive image of alcohol, the risk of relapse is very high, especially in the first few months.

Alcohol can be said to be a 'hard drug', there occurs clear habituation and use can lead to dependence. The characteristics of hard drugs are also applicable to alcohol, it distinguishes itself from other chemically not addictive substances. In terms of social, alcohol, unlike other hard drugs, a stimulant accepted by the majority of society.

Less well functioning prolonged drinking

People who drink a lot of long, will not function properly at work, in their relationships and also physically and mentally. Dismissal, unemployment, divorce and homelessness can result.

The organs of the human body such as the liver get it at a regular use of more than 15 drinks per week to endure heavy. The liver can get fat, or worse, may cause liver cirrhosis. The brains affected by alcohol; a neuronal disorder such as Korsakoff's syndrome could be the result. Other physical problems that can develop its excess iron in the body (hemochromatosis) and an increased risk of diabetes (diabetes). Diseases like pancreatitis and gastritis are clearly more common in alcoholics.

Stages in the development of alcoholism

Social drinker
Social drinker has few problems with alcohol and devotes little attention to it. A smoker has his drinking under control. For these people drinking alcohol of secondary importance. The interaction with other people at the party, the meal, the conversations are interesting, not drinking alcohol. However, he or she may have inadvertently drinking more than intended. This is because after consuming alcohol changes the way of thinking. A smoker can intention to take two beers, because they have to drive, but in some cases there will still be three times or more. There are also quite a few people who think they have their drinking under control, but still use excuses like "it's been an hour since I took the last one, so I can drive."

First stage
The first stage of alcoholism one experiences when one has problems related to alcohol consumption. One goes sometimes secretly drink, feel guilty about drinking and a lot of thinking. Family and friends begin to worry about the consumption of alcohol. Drinking until one is completely drunk, afterwards not remember, so-called black-out and increasing tolerance (need to drink more for the same effect) are the first signs of alcoholism. One begins to the company seeking to avoid the heavier drinkers and activities where alcohol is consumed. One gets problems at work, such as late or not performing tasks. Particularly sensitive people get severe anxiety and tension as withdrawal syndrome which only disappears after consuming several drinks. A tremor (shaking / trembling including the hands) is common, especially if one does not (more) eat plenty.

Central Stadium
The middle stage of alcoholism is characterized by an increasingly unmanageable life situation. However, the alcoholic continues to deny that there are problems. There is more and more drunk than intended. There is drunk to suppress guilt or feelings of depression and discomfort. And in the morning to prevent or lessen a hangover and withdrawal symptoms such as tremors and severe anxiety. A doctor will suggest that alcohol consumption should stop. The person will try, but often without success. There is often talk of job loss, medical problems and family problems.

Advanced stage
In the late stages of alcoholism is the daily life entirely uncontrollable. Medical problems such as liver damage, pancreatitis, nerve and muscle damage, high blood pressure and internal bleeding may be the result. The heart and brains are affected, resulting in heart attack or stroke. Also, there is an increase in depression, insomnia, and suicidal tendencies. Psychiatric disorders such as paranoia can occur, which otherwise generally disappear if one is detoxed from alcohol. Seizure at the sudden withdrawal of alcohol may occur in alcoholics. Some alcoholics are violent shaking awake and spent the night in a glass with gin ready example because they put the quake morning the bottle no longer able to get open. Only after drinking one to three glasses come trembling to rest again and the alcoholic must often back on the road to the liquor store. The next day the whole ritual repeats itself again. Often heavy alcoholics only one or two hours a day of fun of the alcohol. The rest of the day, they are engaged to prevent the withdrawal symptoms and to maintain itself and to hide from the outside world. Often there is little contact with family or friends and is one behind the closed curtains or in the pub to 'drink'. Sometimes neglects the alcoholic himself or comes up on the streets. These are often the people as "alcoholic" are seen while there are many more alcoholics who try to keep it hidden and often have decent shelter and clothes. For persistent alcoholism it ends finally in disorders such as cirrhosis of the liver is often ending in death. Also, Korsakoff's syndrome, also known as alcohol dementia is common in severe alcoholics. This mainly affects short-term memory. Sometimes one forgets that one can drink alcohol and more people are comfortable with korsakov to oversee a beer or another alcoholic drink without consequences.

How much

Drinking three beers a day is not seen as alcoholism. But it can be a stage on the road to addiction. On average, one in twelve people who drink alcohol become addicted.

As standard for harmful true 21 standard drinks per week for men and 15 drinks per week for women. The condition is that during this week two days no alcohol is consumed. Drink one more, then it will have harmful effects. The reason for the different standards for men and women is the construction of the body. A woman's body contains more fat and less muscle. Muscle tissue contains more water than fat, so men have relatively more fluid in the body than women. Because alcohol diluted in the body by the inherent moisture is, one and the same intake of alcohol leads to a higher concentration of alcohol in women than in men of the same weight. Partly because a woman gets drunk faster on average.

There are several reasons why someone can become addicted:
  • Personal reasons: such as character structure, sensitivity to stress, personality disorders, parenting, problems at home or at work.
  • Medical reasons: to temporarily forget chronic pain and / or relieve.
  • Influence environment: the easier alcohol is handled and / or the easier the more alcohol is available sooner alcohol can lead to abuse and eventually to addiction.
  • Heredity: alcohol problems arise from a combination of factors. Heredity may play a role. Most children of parents with alcohol problems get himself no alcohol problems. They do have more risk of these problems than other children. By heredity they usually run a little more risk. But heredity is not the only reason somebody gets alcohol problems. The character of a person and how he deals with problems also affect. In addition, the environment plays a role, for example, or drink a lot of friends.
  • Do not have to always involve There are a specific cause. Alcohol is a toxic substance whose use in many countries socially accepted. A person who does not have more or fewer problems than the average person and without specific capabilities can also become addicted in principle. One gets accustomed to drinking alcohol, i.e., which increases the tolerance in the course of the years. It turns out then that one serious effort to hold the alcohol and has adopted addicted, physically and mentally. The problems arise in such a case only after a few drinks until many years without there really was an external reason to drink too much or more to go.


There is evidence that susceptibility to alcoholism (and other addictions) is partly hereditary. For example, twin studies show that genetic factors play a role in terms of use and dependence, and problems related to alcohol. Alcohol is a GABA-agonist and appears to activate dopaminergic pathways in the limbic system and prefrontal cortex. According to some researchers would lower dopamine levels in the brains of alcohol susceptible individuals can lead to increased consumption of alcohol, as a form of compensation. Also, molecular genetic studies have focused on the role of dopamine (D2) -receptorgen, also referred to as the DRD2 gene. However, studies of adults have not been able to find a clear association between the DRD2 gene and alcoholism. However, recently found that adolescents who were carriers of the DRD2A1 allele consumed significantly more alcohol than adolescents who did not. However, the link was only found in families where the parents are tolerant drafted with respect to alcohol use by their children. Apparently, so the interplay or interaction between education and heredity determine alcohol abuse genetically vulnerable children are drinking alcohol earlier and in greater quantities when they have permissive parents.

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