Conditions InDepth: Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Alcohol abuse is the desire for alcohol even when there are alcohol-related work, legal, health, and family problems. Alcohol abuse can progress to alcohol dependence or alcoholism. Alcoholism is a condition in which a person becomes physically dependent on the effects of alcohol and drinks to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Factors that contribute to alcohol abuse and alcoholism include:

  • Genes
  • Brain chemicals that may be different
  • Social pressure
  • Emotional stress
  • Pain
  • Depression and other mental health problems
  • Problem drinking behaviors learned from family and friends
It is estimated that nearly 17.6 million people in the United States abuse alcohol or are alcoholics. More men than women are alcohol dependent or have alcohol problems. Alcohol problems are highest among young adults, age 18 to 29, and lowest among adults age 65 and older.
Organs That Can Be Damaged by Alcoholism
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Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Alcoholism can increase your risk of the following:What are the risk factors for alcoholism?What are the symptoms of alcoholism?How is alcoholism diagnosed?What are the treatments for alcoholism?Are there screening tests for alcoholism? How can I reduce my risk of alcoholism?What questions should I ask my doctor?What is it like to live with alcoholism?Where can I get more information about alcoholism?

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