Alcohol abuse occurs when a person engages in excessive drinking that results in health or social problems. Alcohol may continue to be abused despite serious adverse health, personal, work-related and financial consequences. Alcohol abusers, however, may not fully lose control over the use of alcohol and progress to alcoholism. A person afflicted with alcohol dependence may experience alcohol withdrawal with symptoms such as anxiety attacks, confusion, insomnia, sweating, increased pulse rate and temperature, tremors or severe depression.
Most experts believe that it is possible to have a problem with alcohol, but not display all the characteristics of alcoholism. For instance, alcohol abuse does not necessarily involve alcohol dependence, which is the need for repeated doses of alcohol to maintain a certain feeling of well-being.
Most experts believe that steady drinking over time may produce a physical dependence on alcohol. Drinking over 15 drinks a week for men or 12 drinks a week for women increases the risk of developing dependence on alcohol. However, drinking by itself is just one of the risk factors that contribute to alcoholism.
Alcoholism is a chronic, often progressive disease that is a result of uncontrollable alcohol dependence. It is thought to develop as a result of a combination of individual genetic, psychological and social factors. Other risk factors may include:
- Age: People who begin drinking at an early age (by age 16 or earlier) are at a higher risk of becoming an alcoholic.
- Genetics: Genetic makeup may cause imbalances in one or more of several brain chemicals and increase risk of alcohol dependency.
- Gender: Men are more likely to become alcoholics or abuse alcohol.
- Family history: The risk of alcoholism is higher for people who had a parent or parents who abused alcohol.
- Emotional disorders: Those with severe depression or anxiety may have a greater risk of abusing alcohol. Adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder may also be more likely to become dependent on alcohol.
You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.Alcohol abuse occurs when a person engages in excessive drinking that results in health or social problems. Alcohol may continue to be abused despite serious adverse health, personal, work-related and financial consequences. Alcohol abusers,... More
With alcohol abuse, a person continues to drink even though it causes significant problems in his or her life. Alcohol abuse is characterized by a pattern of continuous and heavy alcohol use, becoming intoxicated on weekends or having drinking binges in between periods of not drinking.
Signs of alcohol abuse include having problems at home (such as arguments about drinking), at work (such as absences or decreased work performance) or with the law (such as arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol). Over time, health problems such as high blood pressure, liver problems or digestive problems usually develop.
Health professionals make a clinical distinction between people who have problem drinking (alcohol abuse) and people who are addicted to alcohol (alcohol dependence). Unlike in alcohol dependence, alcohol abuse does not usually involve withdrawal symptoms, an increased tolerance of alcohol or a compulsion to use alcohol. But, alcohol abuse can develop into alcohol dependence.
The causes of alcohol abuse and dependence involve genetic, physical, social and emotional factors.
The best treatment for alcohol abuse is to stop drinking. Education and support can be provided by many sources, including a counselor, health professional or a support organization, such as Alcoholics Anonymous.With alcohol abuse, a person continues to drink even though it causes significant problems in his or her life. Alcohol abuse is characterized by a pattern of continuous and heavy alcohol use, becoming intoxicated on weekends or having drinking... More