Alcohol abuse; Alcohol addiction; Alcohol dependence; Problem drinking; Substance abuse
The term “alcoholism” has a variety of definitions. For some, it is a disease that makes a person dependent on alcohol and causes an obsession with alcohol and inability to control how much they drink even though their drinking causes serious problems in their relationships, health, work, and finances. Others do not define it as a “disease” per se but rather a “condition,” behavioral in nature, which results in continued consumption of alcohol despite health problems and negative social consequences. For some, the definition must include the concepts of addiction and physiological withdrawal mechanisms, while for others, these are consequences of drinking.
It is common for laypeople to equate any kind of excessive drinking with alcoholism. Those in the mental health fields see that disorders related to alcohol use lie along a continuum of severity that mayinclude physical...
References and Readings
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2005). Helping patients who drink too much: A clinician’s guide, updated 2005 edition. http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/Publications/EducationTrainingMaterials/guide.htm.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Etiology and natural history of alcoholism. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/social/module2etiology&naturalhistory/module2.html.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and SAMHSAs National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information. http://ncadistore.samhsa.gov/catalog/facts.aspx?topic=3.