Alcoholism: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a broad term for problems associated with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinkers health, personal relationships, and social standing. It is medically considered a disease, specifically an addictive illness.


Recovery Time

Alcohol recovery programs usually last from 30 days to about six weeks and patients who complete the program are given the liberty to once again get back to their normal lives.
Stages of recovery program
  • Realize the problem
  • Learn about recovery
  • Seek medical treatment
  • Relapse prevention
  • Maintenance


  • A doctor who suspects you have an alcohol problem will ask you several questions regarding drinking habits, medical and family history.
  • There are no specific tests to diagnose alcoholism, but you may need other tests for health problems that may be linked to your alcohol use.
  • Blood alcohol level
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Liver function tests

FAQs prepared by doctor

Q1 .  What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism / Alcohol addiction / dependence / Abuse are the terms used to denote the physical and mental dependence on alcohol and the associated risk to the concerned person, his family and the society.

Q2.  How will I get Addicted to Alcohol?
Although a small amount of alcohol intake is beneficial to heart, continued excessive drinking negates the beneficial effects and leads to deterioration of health. In due course the body becomes tolerant to alcohol and more and more of alcohol is needed to achieve the same level of intoxication leading to addiction.

Q3.  How do I know I am addicted to Alcohol?
You are termed addicted to alcohol if you drink excessively every day and alcohol withdrawal symptoms are noted on cessation of alcohol intake. 

Q4.  What are the adverse effects of Alcohol addiction?
Continual heavy drinking over a long period of time affects the liver causing cirrhosis and liver failure. Other adverse effects are Peptic ulcer, Pancreatitis, Wernicke?s encephalopathy – Thiamine deficiency (if food intake is less) and Delirium tremens (which may be fatal).
It also causes instability in financial and interpersonal relationship.
If a pregnant woman consumes alcohol it affects the foetus causing Foetal alcohol syndrome.

Q5.  What is the treatment for Alcohol Addiction?
People with Alcohol addiction are advised to take treatment in Alcohol De-addiction Centres, where they would be given a combination of Psychological, Behavioural and Medical therapy to reduce physical and mental dependence on alcohol. 

Alcohol, alcoholism, addictive illness, drinking problem, Alcoholism doctor question answer, Alcoholism facts,