Alcohol addiction or dependence is a chronic disorder characterized by compulsive, persistent, and excessive consumption to the extent that the individual's wellness, interpersonal and economic functioning is impaired. It has four symptoms namely craving, physical dependence, loss of control, and tolerance. Craving is a strong urge or need to consume it and loss of control is the inability to control the amount of intake. Tolerance can be explained as the want for increased amount every time to feel the effect. It is important to learn of the alcoholism facts to prevent dependence on this destructive beverage.
Factors that lead to alcoholism could be inherited, environmental, psychological or social. Often it remains undetected for years. It does not depend on the kind of alcohol an individual consumes but it depends on the quantity, long period of addiction and the uncontrollable need of it. Some individuals are able to recover from it easily while there are others who may require medical assistance.
Alcoholism has an immediate effect on the liver. The effects appear within 10 minutes of consumption and are at their peak for about 40-60 minutes. Since it remains in the blood stream until the liver metabolizes it, continuous and increased consumption of it strains the liver and increases the danger of liver breakdown. Alcoholism in pregnant women leads to birth of infants with fetal alcohol syndrome in which case the infants suffer from mental retardation and irreversible physical abnormalities.
Excessive alcohol dependence often leads to short-term effects including vertigo, nausea, vomiting, slurred speech and impaired judgment and coordination. Prolonged and excessive use can lead to depression, heart failure, liver cirrhosis, and damage to vital organs, high blood pressure, sexual dysfunctions and even brain and nervous system damage.
Various researches indicate that this disease affects alcoholism facts that 53% of the men and women in the US report that one or more of their close relatives. Fifteen percent of the population in US constitutes problem drinkers, which means that 14 million persons are affected by it in the US alone.