Alcoholism refers to excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages resulting in persistent social, psychological, and medical problems. Prevalence rates differ from country to country, and the true prevalence is not known. In the United States and northern European countries, it is estimated that 3–5% of men and 0.1–1% of women can be described as alcoholic at some time in their lives. “Alcohol dependence” is synonymous with alcoholism. “Problem drinking” and “alcohol abuse” are other terms which overlap with alcoholism, although they usually include larger numbers of individuals whose problems from alcohol are less severe and persistent.
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