What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is compulsive drinking that causes trouble in personal and professional life. But to understand this need for ‘repeated drinking’, we first need to understand that alcoholism is a drug thus an addiction to that drug. Alcohol lowers alertness and hampers perception and judgment. It reduces anxiety, feeling of guilt, and inhibitions. It amplifies one’s emotions, continued use of alcohol in the face of adverse consequences, and distorted thinking becomes an addiction in no time. When alcoholics drink, they can’t always predict how much they’ll drink or what its consequences will be.


What are the symptoms?

Here are some specific indicators that drinking has become a problem.

  • The compulsion to consume alcohol; it leads to inappropriate, unpredictable, and excessive consumption.

  • Frequent overdose

  • Increased tolerance for alcohol

  • Loss of control in terms of intake of alcohol

  • Irritability, nervousness, sleep disturbance

  • Blackouts ( periods of temporary amnesia)

  • Denial of the addiction


What is the treatment? Most addicts, if not all, need help. There are mainly four types of help available:-

1). Detox-De-Addiction Centres: Medical help to enable the body to ease off alcohol in a closely supervised environment.

2). Live-in Rehabilitation centers: Closely supervised and highly structured programs, which teach people to live without alcohol and establish new habits for a sober life.

3). Support groups: Organisations or groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, that gives vital support to recovering addicts as they learn to live without alcohol. There are support groups for families too.

4). Counseling: Individual and family counseling with trained professionals. When forced into treatment, an addict more often than not relapses. So the motivation to seek help must come from once own realization of the problem. Counseling can help built up this acceptance.


What are the Causes of Alcoholism?

  • Starting drinking at a very early age

  • Environment and surrounding

  • Ineffective emotion management like stress

  • Mental Disorder like depression

  • History of alcoholism in the family


It is important to know that there is no known cure for alcoholism. Like diabetes, it can be controlled through abstinence. Recovery is a process that needs lifelong commitment.