Physical dependence on alcohol to the extent that stopping alcohol use will bring on withdrawal symptoms. In popular and therapeutic parlance, the term may also be used to refer to ingrained drinking habits that cause health or social problems. Treatment requires first ending the physical dependence, then making lifestyle changes that help the individual avoid relapse. In some cases, medication or hospitalization are needed. Alcohol dependence can have many serious effects on the brain, liver, and other organs of the body.
* * *
Chronic alcohol abuse, dependence, or addiction; chronic excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages resulting in impairment of health and/or social or occupational functioning, and increasing adaptation to the effects of alcohol requiring increasing doses to achieve and sustain a desired effect; specific signs and symptoms of withdrawal usually are shown upon sudden cessation of such drinking. SYN: alcohol addiction.
- acute a. a temporary deterioration in mental function, accompanied by muscular incoordination and paresis, induced by the rapid ingestion of alcoholic beverages. SYN: intoxication (2).
- chronic a. a pathologic condition, affecting chiefly the nervous and gastroenteric systems, associated with impairment in social and occupational functioning, caused by the habitual use of alcoholic beverages in toxic amounts.

* * *

al·co·hol·ism 'al-kə-.hȯ-.liz-əm, -kə-hə- n
1) continued excessive or compulsive use of alcoholic drinks
2 a) poisoning by alcohol
b) a chronic progressive potentially fatal psychological and nutritional disorder associated with excessive and usu. compulsive drinking of ethanol and characterized by frequent intoxication leading to dependence on or addiction to the substance, impairment of the ability to work and socialize, destructive behaviors (as drunken driving), tissue damage (as cirrhosis of the liver), and severe withdrawal symptoms upon detoxification

* * *

the syndrome due to physical dependence on alcohol, such that sudden deprivation may cause withdrawal symptoms - tremor, anxiety, hallucinations, and delusions (see delirium tremens). The risk of alcoholism for an individual and its incidence in a society depend on the amount drunk. Countries such as France, where heavy drinking is socially acceptable, have the highest incidence. Usually several years' heavy drinking is needed for addiction to develop, but the range is from one to 40 years. Alcoholism impairs intellectual function, physical skills, memory, and judgment: social skills, such as conversation, are preserved until a late stage. Heavy consumption of alcohol also causes cardiomyopathy, peripheral neuritis, cirrhosis of the liver, and enteritis. Treatment is usually given in a psychiatric hospital, where the alcoholic is first 'dried out' and then helped to understand the psychological pressures that led to his heavy drinking. Drugs such as disulfiram (Antabuse), which cause vomiting if alcohol is taken, may help in treatment.

* * *

al·co·hol·ism (alґkə-hol-iz-əm) a disorder characterized by a pathological pattern of alcohol use that causes a serious impairment in social or occupational functioning. In DSM-IV it is covered by alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Игры ⚽ Нужна курсовая?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alcoholism —    Alcoholism remains one of Russia’s main social problems, often bemoaned as “Russia’s curse.” The habitual consumption of large quantities of spirits impedes economic growth and cultural development, as well as having an especially pernicious… …   Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation

  • Alcoholism — • The term is understood to include all the changes that may occur in the human organism after the ingestion of any form of alcohol Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Alcoholism     Alcoholism …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • alcoholism — (n.) disease of alcohol addiction, 1852, from ALCOHOL (Cf. alcohol) + ISM (Cf. ism), or else from Mod.L. alcoholismus, coined in 1852 by Swedish professor of medicine Magnus Huss (1807 1890) to mean what we now would call alcohol poisoning. In… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Alcoholism — Al co*hol*ism, n. [Cf. F. alcoolisme.] (Med.) A diseased condition of the system, brought about by the continued use of alcoholic liquors. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • alcoholism — index dipsomania, inebriation Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • alcoholism — [n] alcohol abuse addiction, alcohol addiction, alcohol dependence, crapulence, dipsomania, drunkenness, methomania, problem drinking, substance abuse, vinosity; concepts 20,316,709 …   New thesaurus

  • alcoholism — ► NOUN ▪ addiction to alcoholic liquor …   English terms dictionary

  • alcoholism — [al′kə hôl΄iz΄əm, al′kəhäl΄iz΄əm] n. 1. the habitual or compulsive consumption of alcoholic liquor to excess 2. a chronic diseased condition marked by psychological and nutritional disorders, caused by the compulsive consumption of and dependence …   English World dictionary

  • Alcoholism — Classification and external resources …   Wikipedia

  • alcoholism — /al keuh haw liz euhm, ho /, n. Pathol. a chronic disorder characterized by dependence on alcohol, repeated excessive use of alcoholic beverages, the development of withdrawal symptoms on reducing or ceasing intake, morbidity that may include… …   Universalium

  • Alcoholism —    (See also Substance Abuse.)    Since the beginning of modern times, medicine has considered alcoholism a disease rather than a moral failing. In the nineteenth century, with the advent of inexpensive, industrially distilled alcohol, alcoholism …   Historical dictionary of Psychiatry

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”