Diagnosis is aided by administering specific psychological assessments that help to indicate what aspects of a person's life may be affected by alcohol use. Determining the exact quantity of alcohol that a person drinks is less important than determining how drinking affects relationships, jobs, educational goals, and family life. Because the metabolism (how the body breaks down and processes) of alcohol varies among individuals, the quantity of alcohol consumed is not part of the criteria list for diagnosing either alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse.
Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a broad term for any drinking of alcohol that results in mental or physical health problems.[12] The disorder was previously divided into two types: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence.[1][13] In a medical context, alcoholism is said to exist when two or more of the following conditions are present: a person drinks large amounts over a long time period, has difficulty cutting down, acquiring and drinking alcohol takes up a great deal of time, alcohol is strongly desired, usage results in not fulfilling responsibilities, usage results in social problems, usage results in health problems, usage results in risky situations, withdrawal occurs when stopping, and alcohol tolerance has occurred with use.[1] Risky situations include drinking and driving or having unsafe sex, among other things.[1] Alcohol use can affect all parts of the body, but it particularly affects the brain, heart, liver, pancreas and immune system.[3][4] This can result in mental illness, Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome, irregular heartbeat, liver cirrhosis and increased cancer risk, among other diseases.[3][4] Drinking during pregnancy can cause damage to the baby resulting in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.[2] Women are generally more sensitive than men to the harmful physical and mental effects of alcohol.[9]
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Many AA meetings take place in treatment facilities. Carrying the message of AA into hospitals was how the co-founders of AA first remained sober. They discovered great value of working with alcoholics who are still suffering, and that even if the alcoholic they were working with did not stay sober, they did.[74][75][76] Bill Wilson wrote, "Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics".[77] Bill Wilson visited Towns Hospital in New York City in an attempt to help the alcoholics who were patients there in 1934. At St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio, Smith worked with still more alcoholics. In 1939, a New York mental institution, Rockland State Hospital, was one of the first institutions to allow AA hospital groups. Service to corrections and treatment facilities used to be combined until the General Service Conference, in 1977, voted to dissolve its Institutions Committee and form two separate committees, one for treatment facilities, and one for correctional facilities.[78]
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Many people with alcohol use disorder hesitate to get treatment because they don't recognize they have a problem. An intervention from loved ones can help some people recognize and accept that they need professional help. If you're concerned about someone who drinks too much, ask a professional experienced in alcohol treatment for advice on how to approach that person.
Substance abuse A condition characterized by a pathologic pattern of alcohol use causing a serious impairment in social or occupational functioning; also defined as a '…primary, chronic, disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by … distortions in thinking, most notably denial'; alcoholism is characterized by the regular intake of ≥ 75 g/day of alcohol Chronic effects Co-morbidity due to portal HTN, hepatic failure, hyperestrogenemia, infections–especially pneumonia, which may be due to alcohol-induced suppression of various immune defenses, psychosocial disruption, transient hyperparathyroidism with ↓ Ca2+, ↓ Mg2+, osteoporosis. See Blood alcohol levels, Standard drink.
Treatment of alcoholism often is a combination of inpatient and outpatient therapy depending on the individual's alcohol history and physical condition. The person with alcoholism often resists the idea that he or she has an alcohol problem and needs to stop drinking. Treatment cannot be forced on adults unless it is a condition imposed by a court of law. However, if the person is a danger to him- or herself or to others, immediate hospitalization may be possible without the individual's consent.
We have never called alcoholism a disease because, technically speaking, it is not a disease entity. For example, there is no such thing as heart disease. Instead there are many separate heart ailments, or combinations of them. It is something like that with alcoholism. We did not wish to get in wrong with the medical profession by pronouncing alcoholism a disease entity. We always called it an illness, or a malady—a far safer term for us to use.[96]

Though it can feel as if you are hiding a unique or embarrassing problem, the fact is that families across the country are experiencing the exact same thing you are. You are not alone with the disease, and you will not be alone as you seek the treatment necessary to begin to heal and start a new life in recovery. Alcohol.org is available to provide education and support all along the way.


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Like individual groups, the GSO is self-supporting. AA receives proceeds from books and literature that constitute more than 50% of the income for its General Service Office.[30] In keeping with AA's Seventh Tradition, the Central Office is fully self-supporting through the sale of literature and related products, and through the voluntary donations of AA members and groups. It does not accept donations from people or organizations outside of AA.
Alcoholics Anonymous publishes several books, reports, pamphlets, and other media, including a periodical known as the AA Grapevine.[97] Two books are used primarily: Alcoholics Anonymous (the "Big Book") and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, the latter explaining AA's fundamental principles in depth. The full text of each of these two books is available on the AA website at no charge.
Problem drinking in women is much less common than it is in men, and the typical onset of problem drinking in females occurs later than in males. However, progression is more rapid, and females usually enter treatment earlier than males. Women more commonly combine alcohol with prescription drugs of abuse than do males. Women living with substance-abusing men are at high risk.
When alcoholism affects a spouse or partner, it’s possible to become too wrapped up in their well-being. This is called codependency. You may get to the point where you feel compelled to help your person get well. However, family members and friends often have deep emotional ties that prevent them from having the objective viewpoint necessary for treatment.
The immediate physical effects of drinking alcohol range from mild mood changes to complete loss of coordination, vision, balance, and speech -- any of which can be signals of acute alcohol intoxication, or drunkenness. These effects usually wear off in a matter of hours after a person stops drinking. Many law-enforcement agencies regard a .08 percentage of alcohol in the bloodstream as evidence of intoxication. Larger amounts of blood alcohol can impair brain function and eventually cause unconsciousness. An extreme overdose, alcohol poisoning, can be fatal.
Sometimes, while trying to download new software, your operating systems antivirus or firewall will block the download. If you are comfortable with the web site you are trying to download from, you may want to temporarily turn off your internet security to allow the download. Most antivirus software (local to the OS and add-on software) give the user the ability to disable it for a period of time (to allow for downloads, etc.) and then the software will turn itself back on. Here are a few ways to turn off your antivirus software:
Unhealthy alcohol use includes any alcohol use that puts your health or safety at risk or causes other alcohol-related problems. It also includes binge drinking — a pattern of drinking where a male consumes five or more drinks within two hours or a female downs at least four drinks within two hours. Binge drinking causes significant health and safety risks.
"When I first told my family I was going into treatment, they were stunned," said Cathy, a recovering alcoholic. "I wanted to talk, needed to talk, but none of us had the right words yet. Now, five years later, I realize that it doesn't really matter how perfectly you say something. You have to risk saying the wrong thing and just start communicating.
Is Twelve-Step Recovery an antiquated concept or intervention? Many addiction specialist physicians contend that while the majority of continuing medical education in addiction, aimed at sharing novel breakthroughs and improving practice and outcomes, addresses pharmacotherapies, it is the psychosocial therapies which warrant at least equal attention. Some addiction medicine physicians are concerned that not only do biological interventions predominate in continuing education curriculums, but they dominate graduate medical education in addiction, and some of these physicians are concerned that fellowship training programs in addiction as well as residency programs in primary care, psychiatry, and other medical specialties should include training about and in Twelve Step Facilitation and on Twelve-Step Recovery in order for the physician to have an appropriately well-rounded educational experience and a full skill and knowledge base in the rapidly-growing specialty of addiction medicine.

Traditional addiction treatment in America is derived from multidisciplinary treatment of chronic mental disease and the peer-support program of Alcoholics Anonymous, founded in 1935 by two middle-aged men who leaned on each other for hope, and described in the eponymous book published in 1939. Its subtitle indicates it is a how-to description of the path of recovery. It describes twelve steps in the process of recovery outlined by the authors. One of the evidence-based practices of modern addiction treatment, as outlined by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices, is Twelve Step Facilitation Therapy.
In some ways, the championing of anonymity has been AA’s blessing and curse. It not only protects the privacy of the people it seeks to help (and those who seek it for help), it also protects the organization at large from public relations and morale damage if a high-profile member were to relapse. In the more than 75 years since Alcoholics Anonymous formed, NPR notes that “no one knows how exactly it works.”
Some data recovery apps also include the opposite of file recovery—permanent file deletion. When you want to make sure that no one can retrieve your data, you can tell these apps to overwrite the data with enough random bytes to make the original data unreadable. Keep in mind that government agencies have tools that can retrieve data from almost anything, but these apps make it impractical even for expert thieves to recover private information from stolen or discarded disk drives.

There is a group of physicians within ASAM who are concerned that twelve-step recovery is not being taught to new physicians entering this field (most physicians currently enter addiction practice in mid-career, rather than straight out of residency training). Referring to themselves as “Like Minded Docs,” they communicate regularly among each other, leaning on each other via email for support and guidance, and occasionally reaching out to ASAM regarding policies of the Society. One of their stated concerns is that continuing education programs for physicians newly involved with addiction or considering a mid-career switch into addiction medicine have more content on pharmacotherapies and less content on psychosocial therapies, and that Twelve-Step Facilitation therapy and twelve-step recovery overall are at risk of becoming ‘dying arts.’
Although the concept of an intervention is pervasive in popular culture – even leading to the development of a reality television show – there are types of interventions that are more helpful than suddenly accusing a loved one of struggling with addiction. Family and friends may create an intervention – which requires a plan, including specific requirements and consequences – or a therapist, doctor, or other healthcare professional may conduct an intervention. Often, these are brief interventions, which occur after a person has been hospitalized due to side effects from drinking too much or after a person is diagnosed with a chronic illness due to problem drinking.
The endpoint of “recovery” from addiction, if there is an endpoint, is to change one’s life for the better, to gain stability in one’s life, and to become more functional in one’s family and in one’s community. Being responsible, being reliable, being interested in others and not just in oneself, and being a loving being who cares about and is helpful to others, are all part of recovery.
The term alcoholism is commonly used amongst laypeople, but the word is poorly defined. The WHO calls alcoholism "a term of long-standing use and variable meaning", and use of the term was disfavored by a 1979 WHO expert committee. The Big Book (from Alcoholics Anonymous) states that once a person is an alcoholic, they are always an alcoholic, but does not define what is meant by the term alcoholic in this context. In 1960, Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), said:
Stanton Peele argued that some AA groups apply the disease model to all problem drinkers, whether or not they are "full-blown" alcoholics.[90] Along with Nancy Shute, Peele has advocated that besides AA, other options should be readily available to those problem drinkers who are able to manage their drinking with the right treatment.[91] The Big Book says "moderate drinkers" and "a certain type of hard drinker" are able to stop or moderate their drinking. The Big Book suggests no program for these drinkers, but instead seeks to help drinkers without "power of choice in drink."[92]

Most experts believe that a research-based, residential treatment program that is customized to an individual’s needs is the most effective method to achieve and maintain recovery. Whether this program includes 12-Step aspects, is based on the 12-Step concept, or is an alternative to this original model of addiction treatment, it’s important that care is customized to the individual. Working with an addiction treatment professional is a good way to find the treatment modality that is appropriate for each person, leading to the best path to recovery.

We are excited by the launch of our new Alcoholics Resource Center web site and hope that each of you will share in that excitement. The purpose of this site is to provide information and social networking to support our fellow AA members. We believe that this site will meet a need for those interested in all matters related to AA within the scope of the Traditions.


Alcohol Use Disorder is a pattern of disordered drinking that can involve interference in daily tasks, withdrawal symptoms, discord in relationships, and risky decisions that place oneself or others in harm's way. More than 15 million American adults struggle with this condition, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Like all addictions, alcohol use disorder is inextricably linked to a complex matrix of biological, social, and psychological factors. Research highlights a genetic component to the disease, as about half of one's predisposition to alcoholism can be attributed to his or her genetic makeup. As a psychological malady, people may turn to alcohol to cope with trauma or other co-occurring mental disorders. Socially, alcoholism may be tied to familial dysfunction or a culture embedded with binge drinking. The brain's reward pathways also play an essential role: Alcohol consumption is associated with increased dopamine activity, which corresponds with pleasure, craving, and habit formation.

Babies who are born to mothers who are heavy drinkers are more at risk for being born with significant medical, developmental, behavioral, and emotional problems, including fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). However, many babies whose mothers consumed even minimal amounts of alcohol during pregnancy have been born with such problems. Therefore, there is no amount of alcohol intake that has been proven to be safe during pregnancy.
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Women For Sobriety: Founded in 1975 for the purpose of creating a recovery program that was explicitly geared towards women, the goal of Women For Sobriety is not to be anti-male but to address the specific psychological needs that many women have during recovery. WFS operates under the belief that many women are already struggling with low self-esteem or shame that has been culturally instilled in them and don’t need more of it from their recovery program. Instead of the 12 Steps, WFS’s treatment program is based around the 13 Affirmations that point toward positive goals rather than admitting negative faults, such as “Happiness is a habit I am developing,” “Enthusiasm is my daily exercise,” and “I am responsible for myself and for my actions.”
The various health problems associated with long-term alcohol consumption are generally perceived as detrimental to society, for example, money due to lost labor-hours, medical costs due to injuries due to drunkenness and organ damage from long-term use, and secondary treatment costs, such as the costs of rehabilitation facilities and detoxification centers. Alcohol use is a major contributing factor for head injuries, motor vehicle accidents (due to drunk driving), domestic violence, and assaults. Beyond the financial costs that alcohol consumption imposes, there are also significant social costs to both the alcoholic and their family and friends.[55] For instance, alcohol consumption by a pregnant woman can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome,[165] an incurable and damaging condition.[166] Estimates of the economic costs of alcohol abuse, collected by the World Health Organization, vary from one to six percent of a country's GDP.[167] One Australian estimate pegged alcohol's social costs at 24% of all drug abuse costs; a similar Canadian study concluded alcohol's share was 41%.[168] One study quantified the cost to the UK of all forms of alcohol misuse in 2001 as £18.5–20 billion.[148][169] All economic costs in the United States in 2006 have been estimated at $223.5 billion.[170]
The mental obsession is described as the cognitive processes that causes the individual to repeat the compulsive behavior after some period of abstinence, either knowing that the result will be an inability to stop or operating under the delusion that the result will be different. The description in the First Step of the life of the alcoholic or addict as "unmanageable" refers to the lack of choice that the mind of the addict or alcoholic affords concerning whether to drink or use again.[20]
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