According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcoholism is a disease that usually includes the following symptoms:
· Craving: A strong need, or compulsion, to drink.
· Loss of control: The inability to limit one’s drinking on any given occasion.
· Physical dependence: Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety, occur when alcohol use is stopped after a period of heavy drinking.
· Tolerance: The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol in order to “get high.”
Research from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has demonstrated that women in particular are at an increased risk of alcoholism. Katherine M. Keyes, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School comments on some of the contributing factors. She says, “Given that alcoholism among women is increasing, there is a need for specific public health prevention and intervention efforts. Further, results suggest the environment increases the risk for alcoholism. While genetics play a substantial role, the generational differences between those born before and after World War II indicate that factors in the environment such as policies, laws, social norms, availability, and broader social context also contribute substantially to the underlying risk for alcohol use disorders in the population.”
Alcoholism is not something to take lightly. The consequences are serious! If you are not sure if you suffer from alcoholism, click here to read and answer specific questions. If you feel that you are an alcoholic or are experiencing drinking-related problems, seek the help of a doctor or mental health care professional. Recovery is possible. Visit Alcoholism Recovery for more information.