What is the Definition of Alcoholism?
by Terry Heick
While TeachThought articles on alcoholism aren’t exactly on the mark, our mission is social improvement through innovation in education (through the growth of innovative teachers). Over the years we have explored socio-cultural issues such as gender, race and poverty, sexuality, child abuse and disaster preparedness.
What is the Definition of Alcoholism? Simply put, alcoholism has a problem with drinking.
Of course there are many restrictions. Who can decide what is a problem? What are the different types of “problems”? What about a “functional alcoholic”? Everything has to do with the effect of drinking on you.
If the overall impact on you – physical, psychological, medical, social, professional, and otherwise – is negative and you either fail to stop or try to stop and cannot, you may have an alcoholism problem.
But read a little more about it and you will see the limits of it as any kind of statement of the definition of alcoholism. It is so much lacking and sometimes the best way to understand what it means to be an alcoholic is to listen to how an alcoholic talks about it (even if you say “ex-alcoholic” as you will find is inaccurate) . I recently looked for another article about races in the US and saw this in the recommended videos.
What I found was Dick Van Dyke, who explained alcoholism better – and more authentically – than I explained earlier.
Why do people drink alcohol?
Why do people drink alcohol? It depends on. This is a hopelessly complex topic. Why do people create art? Why do people love? Why do you hope? Why do people suffer?? Why do they do that? avoid Suffer? Why do they sometimes avoid suffering in a healthy way and sometimes suffering in an unhealthy way? And if suffering is inevitable, why are there differences in the way they deal with this suffering?
In general, however, it could be simple: alcohol gives people the opportunity to change their feelings – either to not feel something or to feel something that they otherwise find deficient.
While Van Dyke never offers a clear definition of alcoholism, he etches a very clear one shape for what and how and why people consume alcohol: feelings. In “The Art of Everyday Life” Wendell Berry quoted the loss of human community and the need to feel “whole”.
“People use legal and illegal drugs because their lives are excruciatingly painful or boring. They hate their work and find no peace in their free time. They are alienated from their families and neighbors. It should tell us that drug use in healthy societies is solemn, sociable, and occasional, while it makes us lonely, shameful, and addictive. We seem to need drugs because we lost each other. “
Wendell Berry in “The Art of Everyday”
People drink because life is difficult and cognitive behavior can cause enormous suffering that only deepens the challenge. Alcohol is a legal way to avoid some of these challenges, at least for a short time. Obviously there are drawbacks and for many, no real benefits at all. Becoming an alcoholic can be such an invisible process with such an urgent and intense gravity that it feels inevitable – and worse, a potentially lifelong struggle as an alcoholic.
What is alcohol disorder?
According to the Mayo clinicIt’s not just about the amount of alcohol, it’s also about how that alcohol works in your life.
“Alcohol consumption disorder (which includes a level sometimes referred to as alcoholism) is a pattern of alcohol consumption that is about controlling drinking, dealing with alcohol, and continuing to use alcohol, even if it has problems causes and needs to drink more to achieve the same effect or withdrawal symptoms if you lose weight quickly or stop drinking … If your drinking pattern leads to repeated significant stress and dysfunction in your daily life, you are likely to have an alcohol consumption disorder. It can range from easy to difficult. Even a minor disruption can escalate and lead to serious problems. Therefore, early treatment is important. “
Alcoholism is a chronic disease that is characterized in part by alcoholism. On a functional level, it is the inability to control your drinking due to alcohol (physical and psychological) addiction.
What are the warning signs for alcoholism?
Some of the most common warning signs of alcoholism are:
Drink constantly over a long period
Gradual increase in the amount of alcohol consumed (or “harder” alcoholic beverages)
Feelings of isolation (and often behavior changes that deepen those feelings)
Change in social habits (friendships, relationships, relaxation, etc.)
What are the symptoms of alcoholism?
Symptoms of alcoholism include:
Persistent loss of appetite and other healthy habits
Deepening feelings of isolation and depression
Reduced ability to prioritize the most important things in your life (i.e., executive brain function)
Drink instead of pursuing activities that used to bring you luck
Continuous increase in the amount of alcohol (or drinks with a higher alcohol content)
Increase the amount of alcohol consumption to achieve the desired effect
Think about drinking or plan your next drinking lesson habitually
Continued alcohol consumption also in view of the harmful effects of alcohol
Mental health changes when you drink or when you stop drinking
The physical withdrawal symptoms when drinking are quickly reduced or discontinued.
Reduced internal organ function (e.g. liver and pancreas function)
The difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction
How we see alcoholism – in terms of medical treatment and as a culture – changes over time. Terms such as “drunkard”, “wino” and “drunk”, “exuberant” and others are not only hurtful but also misleading. A verywellmind.com explains: “Until recently with the publication of the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Guide to Mental Disorders (DSM)Substance problems have generally been divided into abuse and addiction. The DSM-5 combines these categories into a single substance disorder, measured on a continuum from mild to severe. This change was made to update the idea that abuse was a mild and early stage of the disease and addiction was a more serious manifestation. In reality, abuse can often be very serious. “
Indeed, that World Health Organization doesn’t even like the term “alcoholic” or “alcoholism” but prefers “alcohol addiction syndrome”. Wikipedia continues by clarifying some of the differences between alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction:
“Alcoholism, also known as Alcohol Consumption Disorder (AUD), is generally any drinking alcohol that leads to mental or physical health problems. The disorder was previously divided into two types: alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction. In the medical context, alcoholism occurs when two or more of the following conditions exist: a person drinks large amounts of alcohol over a long period of time, has difficulty in breaking down, acquiring and drinking alcohol, takes a long time, alcohol is highly desirable, Consumption means that responsibilities are not fulfilled, consumption leads to social problems, consumption leads to health problems, consumption leads to risky situations, withdrawal occurs when stopping and alcohol tolerance has occurred during consumption. “
In summary, alcohol addiction sounds like it sounds: an unhealthy addiction to alcohol – usually to deal with emotional problems or situational circumstances. And because of the long-term physiological effects of alcohol, for many, alcohol addiction is just a predecessor to alcohol abuse.
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