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Alcoholism is a chronic condition that involves a preoccupation with alcohol and impaired control over alcohol intake. It is often a progressive disease which eventually can be fatal.

As with all addictive behavior problems, it is very difficult for a person to acknowledge the existence of a drinking problem. This means that people suffer for many more years than it is necessary. Although, we are talking about physical dependence, there are many genetic, psychological and social factors that contribute to this addiction.

Alcohol addiction is defined as having at least 3 of the following signs:

  • a tolerance for alcohol (needing increased amounts to achieve the same effect),
  • withdrawal symptoms,
  • taking alcohol in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than it was intended,
  • having a persistent desire to decrease or the inability to decrease the amount of alcohol consumed,
  • spending a great deal of time attempting to acquire alcohol, and finally,
  • continuing to use alcohol even though the person knows there are reoccurring physical or psychological problems being caused by the alcohol

Incidence of alcoholism

Most of the adults in the UK drink alcohol moderately and on a social basis. About one in five men and one in seven women drink more regularly than the Department of Health suggests is strictly safe for good health.  According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, almost 18 million Americans have problems with alcohol abusing. Each year more than 100,000 Americans die of alcohol-related causes. Alcohol is a factor in nearly half of all U.S. traffic deaths. Some researches indicate that about 15% of the population in the United States are problem drinkers, and approximately 5% to 10% of male drinkers and 3% to 5% of female drinkers can be diagnosed as alcohol dependent (12.5million people).

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