What is alcoholism?
Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence, is a disease that includes the following four symptoms:
· Craving--A strong need, or urge, to drink.
· Loss of control--Not being able to stop drinking once drinking has begun.
· Physical dependence--Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety after stopping drinking.
· Tolerance--The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to get "high."
How can you tell if someone has a problem?
Answering the following four questions can help you find out if you or a loved one has a drinking problem:
· Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
· Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
· Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
· Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?
One "yes" answer suggests a possible alcohol problem. More than one "yes" answer means it is highly likely that a problem exists. If you think that you or someone you know might have an alcohol problem, it is important to see a doctor or other health care provider right away. They can help you determine if a drinking problem exists and plan the best course of action.