Dependence On Alcohol

Alcoholism is a chronic illness showing recognizable symptoms and signs in direct relation to its severity. Experts estimate that alcohol abuse costs the US over $25 billion per year.

An alcoholic is identified by severe dependence or addiction and a pattern of behavior associated with drinking:

  1. Frequent intoxication is obvious and destructive; it interferes with the ability to socialize and work.
  2. Drunkenness may lead to marriage failure and work absenteeism.
  3. Alcoholics may seek medical treatment; they may suffer physical injury and may be apprehended for driving under the influence.
  4. Eventually, alcoholics may be hospitalized for delirium tremors or cirrhosis of the liver. Incidence of alcoholism among women, children, adolescents, and college students is increasing.

Males outnumber female alcoholics 4:1. It is generally assumed that 75% of American adults drink alcoholic beverages and 1 in 10 will experience some problem with alcoholism. Families of alcoholics tend to have a higher incidence of alcoholism. Genetic or biochemical defects leading to alcoholism are suspected but have not been clearly demonstrated although a higher incidence of alcoholism has been consistently reported in biological children of alcoholics as compared to adoptive children. Social factors affect patterns of drinking and consequent behavior. Alcoholics frequently have histories of broken homes and disturbed relationships with parents.