Alcohol is considered one of the oldest and most common recreational substances. While alcohol consumption is generally socially acceptable, there are often restrictions on its usage (for example drinking and driving, public drinking or underage drinking).
Defining alcohol addiction
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial.
Here is an infograph detailing the continuum of alcohol use (text continues following the image).
In the short term, alcohol lessens inhibitions, slurs speech, decreases muscle control and can lead to dizziness, nausea, vomiting, hangovers, and blackouts.
In the long term, alcohol can cause liver damage, brain damage (e.g. Korksakoff's Syndrome), and/or cancer.
Withdrawal from alcohol can cause anxiety, irregular heartbeat, tremors, seizures, hallucinations, and/or a life threatening condition called Delirium Tremens. In addition, nearly half of fatal motor vehicle accidents are associated with alcohol abuse.
Chabad Lifeline is here for anyone affected by alcohol dependency. Contact us with any questions.