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What Is Alcoholism?

Posted in Alcoholism

It’s the phrase few alcohol abusers are willing to say: I am an alcoholic. The two most common reasons for denial are 1) a basic misunderstand of what defines alcoholism and 2) the knowledge that if they are indeed an alcoholic, the only solution is to stop drinking. Most alcoholics drink alcohol. Most drink alcohol until it destroys relationships and causes permanent physical changes such as liver or brain damage.

What does it mean when alcoholisms is called a progressive disease? It means the problem only gets worse with continued drinking over time.

Early alcohol abuse might mean a few “blackouts.” Blackouts are lost periods of time. For example, you might find out you did or said something at a party that you cannot remember. Often people laugh when they hear about their behavior, but there is always a feeling of discomfort: Why can’t I remember doing that?

Early abuse might also mean hangovers. At first the hangover might be just a headache in the morning, a strong thirst, and a sensitive stomach.

As alcoholism progresses, the consequences become more troublesome. Blackouts might last longer – you forget most of the night before. You don’t remember driving yourself home. Your hangover lasts all day. Eventually you discover that a beer helps your hangover. You get a DUI. You show up at work looking like you have the flu. You start to have digestive problems such as ulcers or diarrhea. As time goes on, you start trying to control your drinking.

Generally before an alcoholic admits the problem, they try to find ways to control the problem. They make rules: I will only drink on weekends; I won’t drink at home; I won’t drink at business lunches; I will only drink wine or beer.

However, an alcoholic has one basic problem: Once he or she has that first drink, reason and control elude them.

Unfortunately, most alcoholics do not get the help they need. They die from their disease.

You might be an alcoholic if:

  • You crave alcohol
  • You set rules about your drinking, but break the rules

But the best description of an alcoholic:

  • An alcoholic is someone who, when he or she drinks, bad things happen.