Alcoholism is characterized by an alcohol dependency. It's a chronic disease that can be described as the inability to control the consumption of alcohol, even when it is causing major problems at work, at home, or at school. Over time, the brain increases its production of stimulating chemicals like serotonin and norepinephrine to compensate for the alcohol, making withdrawal painful and even dangerous. Alcoholism affects the person who suffers from it as well as family members, friends, and co-workers. Do not let you or a loved one suffer any longer, call Green Bay Drug Treatment Centers today at 920-227-1500 and get help finding rehab centers.
Alcoholism vs. Alcohol Abuse
It's estimated that over 17 million people in the U.S. suffer from alcohol abuse or addiction, while late-onset alcoholism, which begins after age 60, affects about 17 percent of aging adults. Although alcoholism and alcohol abuse are terms that are often used interchangeably, there are important differences between alcoholism and abuse.
Alcohol can be abused without resulting in an addiction. Symptoms of alcohol abuse include:
Over time, alcohol abuse can lead to addiction. The symptoms of alcohol addiction include:
Although there are no medical tests that can be performed to diagnose alcoholism, the Johns Hopkins Test for alcohol addiction asks twenty questions that, when answered honestly, can help you determine whether you might be suffering from alcohol abuse or early, middle, or end-stage alcoholism. Additionally, the American Psychiatric Association has developed a list of criteria that must be met in order to receive an official diagnosis.
Alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction can be successfully treated, and recovery can be achieved. The first step in recovery is the detox process, during which the body goes through withdrawal.
Withdrawing from alcohol can be very uncomfortable, and in severe cases, fatal. Although not everyone experiences all of the symptoms of withdrawal, and the severity can range from mild to severe, detox should never be attempted at home. When the body suddenly stops receiving alcohol, the brain continues to produce high levels of stimulating chemicals, and the resulting symptoms can be very serious. Symptoms generally follow a predictable pattern.
Medical detox is a widely used and highly effective detoxification process that involves administering medications to relieve symptoms, reduce cravings, and prevent dangerous medical problems. Medical detox can be performed in an in-patient or out patient setting, and it's closely monitored by medical personnel. Once the detox process is complete, treatment may begin.