Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder or alcohol cravings, is a condition that causes a person to have a physical or emotional need to drink alcohol.
In the past, individual suffering from this condition was called “alcoholic.” But, this label is becoming increasingly unhelpful. Doctors now believe that an individual has an alcohol abuse disorder (AUD).
According to the World Health Organization, 3.3 million deaths each year are due to alcoholism.
Alcohol misuse disorder is long-term alcohol dependence.
Alta Centers defines alcohol use disorder as the inability to stop or control alcohol abuse despite adverse health, occupational, and social consequences.
The person suffering from this condition doesn’t know when or how to quit drinking. This person spends a lot of time thinking and talking about alcohol. They can’t control their drinking habits, whether it is causing financial problems, at home or work.
It is possible to have excessive or inappropriate drinking of alcohol, but not necessarily alcohol dependence.
In general, moderate alcohol consumption is not likely to cause any physical or psychological harm. AUD can develop if someone drinks more than the recommended amount or enjoys drinking socially.
It is not common for someone who has consumed excessive amounts of alcohol to be the first one to recognize this.
The following are signs and symptoms that can be associated with AUD:
- You can drink alone or in secret
- Limiting alcohol consumption is not possible
- You may experience blackouts and forget chunks of your time.
- If someone comments on your rituals, you can be annoyed or have a hard time understanding them.
- Hobbies that you used to enjoy are no longer appealing
- Feel the need to drink
- When alcohol is not available, it can make you feel irritable.
- Avoid storing alcohol in inconvenient places
- Drinking down drinks is a way to feel good
- Problems with your relationships, finances, or work due to drinking
- You will feel its effects more if you drink more alcohol
Some people may experience these symptoms, but they don’t depend on alcohol.
If alcohol is consumed more than any other activity, it can become a problem. Dependence can develop over many years.
Alcohol dependence can lead to many health problems. There are many effects that alcohol dependence can have on your health, as well as your social life.
Alcohol dependence can develop over the years or decades. Some people are more vulnerable than others and it can happen in a matter of months.
Consistent alcohol intake can disrupt the balance of:
- Gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) in the brain
GABA regulates impulsiveness while glutamate stimulates and stimulates the nervous system.
The brain’s dopamine levels rise after drinking alcohol. The drinking experience may be made more satisfying by higher levels of dopamine.
Drinking excessively can lead to a significant decrease in these brain chemicals over the long- or mid-term. This makes the body crave alcohol to feel good and avoid feeling ill.
Possible Risk Factors
Drinking excessively can also increase your risk factors:
- Genes: Some specific genetic factors may make some people more likely to develop alcohol-related problems later in their lives.
- Simple access: There seems to be a relationship between easy alcohol access — such as cheap prices — alcohol misuse, and alcohol-related deaths. One study showed a significant drop in alcohol-related deaths following a state’s increase in alcohol taxes. It was almost four times the effect of other prevention strategies like school programs or media campaigns.
- Stress: Alcohol misuse is linked to some stress hormones. If stress and a greater chance of eventually developing alcohol-related problems.