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What is alcoholism?

A person has a drinking problem if he or she repeatedly drinks to excess to relieve life's pressures. Eventually overdrinking leads to health and social problems. A drinking problem becomes alcoholism when the person develops a physical dependence (addiction) or a psychological dependence on alcohol. An alcoholic has a strong craving for alcohol and is unable to limit the amount that he or she consumes, thus developing a high tolerance for alcohol. In addition, an alcoholic suffers from withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, tremors, and anxiety, along with blackouts and personality changes if or when they do not (or are not able to) drink.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.