What is an alcoholic? How to treat alcoholism

However, across a range of countries this share is much higher; across some countries in Eastern Europe nearly one-quarter of deaths are attributed to alcohol consumption. This chart is shown for the global total, but can be explored for any country or region using the “change country” toggle. When we look at national averages in this way there is not a distinct relationship between income and alcohol consumption.

What does alcoholism do to a person?

High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems. Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum. Weakening of the immune system, increasing the chances of getting sick. Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance.

A number of these therapies, including cognitive-behavioral coping skills treatment and motivational enhancement therapy, were developed by psychologists. Additional therapies include 12-Step facilitation approaches that assist those with drinking problems in using self-help programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous . It can be difficult to know whether or not to abstain from alcohol to support a loved one in recovery.

Factors affecting alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm

They can research https://ecosoberhouse.com/ to understand the underpinnings of the disorder, the signs of an overdose, and other important information. They can discuss co-occurring mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. They can seek help from peer support groups and mental health professionals as well. A few empirically validated practices can help identify strong treatment programs. Treatment centers should ideally have rigorous and reliable screening for substance use disorders and related conditions. They should have an integrated treatment approach that addresses other mental and physical health conditions.


Moderate drinking amongst people with alcohol dependence – often termed ‘controlled drinking’ – has been subject to significant controversy. Indeed much of the skepticism towards the viability of moderate drinking goals stems from historical ideas about ‘alcoholism‘, now replaced with ‘alcohol use disorder’ or alcohol dependence in most scientific contexts. A 2021 meta-analysis and systematic review of controlled drinking covering 22 studies concluded controlled drinking was a ‘non-inferior’ outcome to abstinence for many drinkers. The World Health Organization uses the term “alcohol dependence syndrome” rather than alcoholism. The concept of “harmful use” (as opposed to “abuse”) was introduced in 1992’s ICD-10 to minimize underreporting of damage in the absence of dependence.

What steps can I take to curb my drinking on my own?

In 2019, Belarus had the highest death rate with around 21 people per 100,000 individuals dying from alcoholism. For most countries this rate ranges from 1 to 5 deaths per 100,000 individuals. Heavy episodic drinking is defined as the proportion of adult drinkers who have had at least 60 grams or more of pure alcohol on at least one occasion in the past 30 days. An intake of 60 grams of pure alcohol is approximately equal to 6 standard alcoholic drinks. The map shows heavy drinkers – those who had an episode of heavy drinking in the previous 30 days – as a share of total drinkers (i.e those who have drunk less than one alcohol drink in the last 12 months are excluded). Short-term effects of alcohol abuse can be just as dangerous as long-term effects.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous is a decades-old treatment, but one that research shows is effective.
  • The physical dependency caused by alcohol can lead to an affected individual having a very strong urge to drink alcohol.
  • While work, relationship, and financial stresses happen to everyone, an overall pattern of deterioration and blaming others may be a sign of trouble.
  • If the sociological model were entirely correct, alcoholism should often be expected to disappear with maturation as is the case with many other symptoms of social deviance.