What is Alcoholism?
The definition of alcoholism can be described as a chronic illness, which is marked by uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages that interferes with physical or mental health, and social, family or occupational responsibilities. This dependence on alcohol has only been diagnosed as a medical disorder recently in the medical field. Like many other diseases, it has a predictable course and is influenced environmentally and sometimes genetically. The disease can also be called progressive and fatal which means that the disease can persist over a long period of time, bodily changes progress as the drinking continues and can cause premature death through overdose, suicide, motor vehicle crashes and complications of the brain, liver, heart, and other organs. Alcoholism can be detected by four basic symptoms, they are tolerance which is the increasing need to drink excessive amounts to feel its affects, also impaired control which is the problem of not being able to stop oneself from drinking at any given time. Craving is another symptom characterized by a strong compulsion to drink, and the last one is physical dependence which shows withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, sweating, nausea or shakiness. Some other common minor symptoms would be solitary drinking, making excuses to drink, episodes of violence while under the influence, unexplained mood swings, neglect of physical appearance, and hostility when confronted about drinking. Also, one can have what is called preoccupation of alcohol which means excessive focused attention given to the drug, its effects and its use.
Causes of Alcoholism
There is no definite cause of alcoholism, however, many factors can play a role in the development of the disorder. In a family with an alcoholic parent, a child is more likely to become an alcoholic than a child without an alcoholic parent. Alcoholism can be inherited genetically from parent to child. An alcoholic disorder can occur if one or both parents drank alcohol at the time of conception or the mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. A women drinking during pregnancy can also cause several other complications besides a drinking disorder. In a study done it concluded that if one person in a family was an alcoholic that nine out of ten times alcoholism will be reported in two or more family members. Environmental causes can occur such as the influence of friends, the easy availability of alcohol, the social acceptance of alcohol and a life containing high stress levels. Also alcoholism can occur when his or her parents did not teach or treat their child right causing frustration and anxiety to the child later in life. Or the family teaches the child to drink such as if the father drinks then the child follows the example set by his father. That child can learn from observation that alcohol may be used to cope with problems such as fatigue, stress and depression. Also the values of a family can include the encouragement or acceptance of alcohol which both promote drinking. Psychological factors also include in this such as a need to be relieved of anxiety, conflicts within a relationship which are unsolved, or a low self-esteem.
Phases of Alcoholism
There are four phases of alcoholism which take a period of five to seven years to develop. Some of these stages can be skipped or not gone in the same order depending on the person. The first stage is called the warning stage. It happens when the user consumes alcohol as a form of relief for tension to make them feel better. The persons drinking habits can increase from often to daily or regularly in which he or she will seek more reasons and occasions to drink. Lastly during this stage a tolerance is built from the larger consumption of alcohol. The second stage is dangerous to the person. The drinker has larger quantities of alcohol to obtain relief. More frequent and deeper intoxication are part of this phase. Drinking alone, blackouts and gulping alcohol are symptoms to stage two. The third stage of alcoholism is the most crucial phase of all. The drinker loses all control of the amount of alcohol that was intended to be consumed. Withdrawal from social environment, neglect of responsibility, and the hiding of alcohol occur during phase