What Are Some Facts About Alcohol Addiction?


Quick Answer

Alcohol addiction can be mental or physical. Its symptoms include the inability to quit or control drinking even when drinking is causing harm to relationships or physical health, increased tolerance for alcohol, withdrawal symptoms when abstaining from alcohol and interference between drinking behavior and other daily activities.

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What Are Some Facts About Alcohol Addiction?
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Full Answer

Psychiatrists class alcohol dependence or addiction as an alcohol use disorder according to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Alcohol use disorders are chronic medical conditions diagnosed when a patient's drinking causes distress or harm and are influenced by genetics and lifestyle factors. Treatment for addiction usually includes a period of detoxification followed by group therapy. Some patients benefit from medication that supports sobriety, and many participate in support groups after completing initial treatment.

Alcohol addiction is associated with liver disease and increases the risk of cancers of the digestive tract, liver and breast. Alcohol use disorders are the fifth leading cause of disability worldwide and have a negative impact on rates of motor vehicle crashes, assaults and rapes.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism considers men at risk for an alcohol use disorder if they consume more than four alcoholic drinks in the course of a day or 14 drinks during a week. Women are at risk if they consume more than three drinks per day or seven drinks per week.

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