A dependence on alcohol, both physically and mentally, sometimes resulting in chronic disease and the loss of interpersonal, family and work relationships.
Causes of Alcoholism
Hereditary plays a significant role in alcoholism, especially with alcoholic or divorced parents. Personality also is a factor, with traits of dependency, anger, mania, depression or introversion. Physiological factors may predispose alcoholics with abnormal body chemistry. Societal and culture pressures also have strong influences.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism
Symptoms of early stages: little tolerance for anxiety, frequent use of alcohol at times of stress and the beginning of the day, hangovers are often, absences from work, and preoccupation with getting alcohol, hiding it and denial when others suggest drinking may be excessive. Symptoms of late stages: memory loss, frequent blackouts, delirium tremens, which include tremors, hallucinations, confusion, sweating, rapid heartbeat occurring most often during withdrawal, liver disease manifesting with yellowing of the skin and eyes, neurological impairment, which includes numbness and tingling of the hands and feet, declining sexual interest and potency, confusion, coma and congestive heart failure (shortness of breath and swelling of the feet).
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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