Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Master'sA+, January 1996

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Alcoholism refers the drinking of alcohol to such a degree that major aspects of one's life are seriously and repeatedly interfered with. These aspects include work, school, family relationships, personal safety and health. Alcoholism is considered a disease. It has known physical, psychological and social symptoms. An alcoholic continues to drink even despite the destructive consequences. Alcoholism is serious and progressive. It can be fatal if not treated. Alcoholism is a very complex disorder. An alcoholic who stops drinking for a while is considered recovering, not cured.

A person does not have to drink every day in order to be considered an alcoholic. Likewise, someone who drinks frequently or gets drunk every once and a while is not necessarily and alcoholic. It is possible to abuse alcohol for a short period of time without developing alcoholism. For example, some people may drink abusively during a personal crisis and then resume normal drinking.

College students tend to drink more heavily than other age groups.

It is often difficult to distinguish such heavy and abusive drinking from the early stages of alcoholism. How well the person can tolerate giving up alcohol for an extended time and the effects of drinking on the family, friends, work, and health, may indicate the extent of the alcohol problem.

More than ten million Americans are estimated to be alcoholic. Alcoholism is found in all ages, cultures and economic groups. It is estimated that 75 percent of alcoholics are male and 25 percent are female. Alcoholism is a worldwide problem, but is most widespread in France, Ireland, Poland, Scandinavia, Russia and the United States.

Some common symptoms of alcoholism in the early stages are constant drinking for relief of personal problems, an increase in one's tolerance for alcohol, memory lapses or blackouts while drinking, and an...