What is alcoholism?

  • (noun): Habitual intoxication; prolonged and excessive intake of alcoholic drinks leading to a breakdown in health and an addiction to alcohol such that abrupt deprivation leads to severe withdrawal symptoms.
    Synonyms: alcohol addiction, inebriation, drunkenness
    See also — Additional definitions below


Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing. It is medically considered a disease, specifically an addictive illness, and in psychiatry several other terms are used, specifically "alcohol abuse" and "alcohol dependence," which have slightly different definitions. In 1979 an expert World Health Organization committee discouraged the use of "alcoholism" in medicine, preferring the category of "alcohol dependence syndrome". In the 19th and early 20th centuries, alcohol dependence in general was called dipsomania, but that term now has a much more specific meaning. People suffering from alcoholism are often called "alcoholics". Many other terms, some of them insulting or informal, have been used throughout history. The World Health Organization estimates that there are 140 million people with alcoholism worldwide.

Read more about Alcoholism.

Some articles on alcoholism:

Alcoholism: Clinical And Experimental Research
... Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research is a scientific journal covering research concerning alcohol abuse and its treatment ... It is published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Research Society on Alcoholism and the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism ...
C. Robert Cloninger - Stockholm Adoption Study
... Their first joint paper on a cross-fostering analysis of the inheritance of alcoholism in men became an ISI Science Citation Classic that convinced most scientists that ... Cloninger, Bohman, and Soren Sigvardson distinguished two subtypes of alcoholism that differed in their clinical features and pattern of inheritance type 1 ... of both genetic and environmental influences on vulnerability to alcoholism, somatization, criminality, anxiety, and depressive disorders ...
Alcoholism In Family Systems - Familiality
... Children of alcoholics (COAs) are more susceptible to alcoholism and other drug abuse than children of non-alcoholics ... Children of alcoholics are four times more likely than non-COAs to develop alcoholism ... Both genetic and environmental factors influence the development of alcoholism in COAS ...

More definitions of "alcoholism":

  • (noun): An intense persistent desire to drink alcoholic beverages to excess.
    Synonyms: dipsomania, potomania