Alcoholism is a disorder whereby an individual develops an addiction to alcohol. Addiction to alcohol, or alcoholism, is characterized by compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcohol despite its negative physical and mental effects. There are a variety of risk factors including social environment, stress, mental health, age, ethnicity, and genetic predisposition. Alcohol damages almost every organ in the body, especially the brain. This cannot only affect the individual physically, but also mentally. People with alcoholism are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression and are also more likely to not receive treatment for such disorders, turning to alcohol as a coping mechanism instead. There are a variety of social problems arising from alcoholism.
Alcohol abuse is associated with increased risk of criminal offenses, including child abuse, domestic violence, rape, burglary, and assault. An alcoholic’s behavior and mental issues may also lead to marital conflict, divorce, or even domestic violence. There are many ways to seek help for alcoholism. Several tools are available for those who may suspect alcohol abuse, including self-reports, questionnaires (such as the CAGE questionnaire), and doctor diagnoses. Treatment for alcoholics varies greatly and management for the individual should be considered with professional help. Several approaches include an abstinence-based zero tolerance approach whereas other approaches seek promotion of harm-reduction. Sometimes medications such as Antabuse, Temposil, Naltrexone, and Campral are prescribed to an individual to reduce dependence and promote prevention of future abuse. It is important to note that detoxification (e.g., abrupt stopping of alcohol consumption) does not actually treat alcoholism. It is necessary to follow-up detoxification with appropriate treatment mechanisms to lower the risk of future relapse