Alcoholism and heavy drinking aren't necessariily the same thing. Yes, alcoholics drink heavily, but not all heavy drinkers are alcoholics.
Here is widely accepted information about alcoholism, its symptoms and causes.
1. Alcoholism or “alcohol dependency” is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite alcohol-related problems.
- Craving – This can lead the person looking for their next watering hole, or even carrying drink around with them – there is an urgency and a desire to get their next fix. That’s when you know dependency has reached its height.
- Dependence – Symptoms of withdrawal include sweating, nausea, anxiety, and trembling, these begin when alcohol use has ceased after a period of heavy drinking. The first drink will always relieve these feelings until the next time.
- Tolerance – There is a need for increasing amount of alcohol to feel its effects.
3. Alcoholism as a disease
- Alcoholism is a chronic disease which leads to a strong need to drink despite the negative consequences of doing so.
- Alcohol dependency is influenced by environmental factors such as friends and peer-pressure, stress, and the ease with which alcohol can be obtained;
- Certain people are more susceptible to become alcohol dependent. More men than women suffer from alcoholism, and young adults aged 18 to 29 experience the highest rates of alcohol-related problems.
- Alcoholism tends to run in families and researchers are on their way to finding the genes that make certain people vulnerable to the disease. However, alcoholism running in a family does not necessarily mean that a child will grow up to develop alcohol dependency, whilst a person with no history of alcoholism can become dependent on alcohol.