Alcoholism: A definition

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From the Mayo Clinic Website: 


By Mayo Clinic staff

Alcoholism is a chronic and often progressive disease that includes problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect (physical dependence), or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking. If you have alcoholism, you can’t consistently predict how much you’ll drink, how long you’ll drink, or what consequences will occur from your drinking.

It’s possible to have a problem with alcohol, even when it has not progressed to the point of alcoholism. Problem drinking means you drink too much at times, causing repeated problems in your life, although you’re not completely dependent on alcohol.

Binge drinking — a pattern of drinking where a male consumes five or more drinks in a row, or a female downs at least four drinks in a row — can lead to the same health risks and social problems associated with alcoholism. The more you drink, the greater the risks. Binge drinking, which often occurs with teenagers and young adults, may lead to faster development of alcoholism.

If you have alcoholism or you have a problem with alcohol, you may not be able to cut back or quit without help. Denying that you have a problem is usually part of alcoholism and other types of excessive drinking.


7 thoughts on “Alcoholism: A definition

    Lilly said:
    August 12, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    I am still smiling about my superheroine avatar. You rock 🙂

    I have read sooooo many definitions of alcoholism over time and done all those quizzes, trying to determine if I “really” am an alcoholic or not. At some point I thought, “Well, the main thing is that it causes me problems and makes me feel like shit and therefore it’s a problem so maybe the definition doesn’t matter anyway”. But then some time will go by and I’ll find myself looking at those quizzes and definitions all over again.

    One I found useful, can’t recall where I first saw it, referred to the 3 Cs: Control, Cravings and Consequences, which kind of hit home for me.

    This is also useful if you haven’t seen it already:

      carrieonsober said:
      August 12, 2013 at 11:23 pm

      Preoccupied with alcohol. That’s a great way to sum it up for me!! I was totally preoccupied with it…sounds so innocent, but that very thing can zap all of the quality from your life. It ain’t worth that!

    Christina said:
    August 13, 2013 at 4:55 am

    Great post. I so understand what you are saying! I asked my self the same question, that s the reason i named my blog alcoholic or not. As long as booze creates problems in your life (low self esteem, blackouts or worrying of never having enough) it means that it has to get out of your life. xxoo C.

    Facingmenow said:
    August 13, 2013 at 5:21 am

    Hi MJ- I’m a newbie to your site, and I love it! I’m 15 days sober and my eyes are slowly opening to so many things. In the past, I would have scoffed at that definition or a quiz that identified me as an alcoholic. I still can’t say it out loud, but in my heart, I KNOW there is a problem that needs to be dealt with. The sober blogging community is my rock. I am so grateful that there are other people on this journey. It feels so less lonely than it did 15 days ago. I’m part of Belle’s TEAM 100 too, so I am rooting for you! Take care! FMN

      Maya June responded:
      August 13, 2013 at 9:30 am

      I am so glad you are here! I felt the same way! It took me about 30 days to say it to anyone other than my husband. If you are looking for additional support, sign up for the Booze Free Brigade on Yahoo. It is an amazing community of folks doing exactly what you and I are trying to do. Please, keep commenting and reaching out. This community is awesome and is my rock as well. Here are some helpful links. Sorry if any of the below info is redundant.
      Link to the BFB:

      Other amazing blogs:

      Very best,

        cheryl miller said:
        August 13, 2013 at 10:59 am

        i too am a newbie with only 2 days but i am a bfb member–and they are an astounding group of women. so supportive, non judgemental and willing to give lots of advice to help stay sober. (this aint my first rodeo) but i am doing the 100 day challenge and excited about it. love your definitions and the constant thought of drinking–where, how and when resonates with me. geez–if i thought about grapes like i think about beer i would know i have a problem!! but for some reason being obsessd with beer did not seem that odd. powerful cunning! thanks for the post!

        Maya June responded:
        August 13, 2013 at 9:17 pm

        Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!!

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