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  • Writer's pictureStacey Crescitelli

What IS alcoholism?

What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, is defined as a chronic and relapsing condition characterized by a compulsive need to consume alcohol despite negative consequences.

 The symptoms of alcoholism can vary but may include cravings for alcohol, loss of control over drinking, withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, tolerance to alcohol, and continued drinking despite negative effects on health, relationships, and responsibilities.

Recognizing and acknowledging one's own relationship with alcohol is crucial in understanding if it has become problematic. 

Individuals can evaluate their own alcohol use by considering factors such as frequency of drinking, amount consumed, impact on daily life, and ability to control or stop drinking. 


Affliction vs Disease

Some argue that labeling alcoholism as a disease can perpetuate stigma and hinder recovery efforts by framing it as an irreversible condition. Viewing alcoholism as an affliction acknowledges that it is a complex issue with both psychological and social components. 

Recognizing alcoholism as an affliction allows individuals to explore and address underlying factors contributing to their drinking behavior, such as trauma, stress, mental health issues, or societal influences. 


Understanding the Spectrum

Alcohol use exists on a spectrum, ranging from occasional and moderate drinking to severe alcohol dependence. 

There is NO clear-cut definition of who is or isn't an alcoholic. Instead, alcohol use should be evaluated based on individual circumstances, behaviors and consequences. 

Various factors, including genetics, environment, upbringing, social influences, and mental health, can contribute to an individual/s placement on the alcoholism spectrum. 

By recognizing the complexity of alcoholism and the spectrum of alcohol use, we can foster greater awareness, understanding, and compassion for those struggling with alcohol-related issues. 

Whether an individual identifies as an alcoholic, is questioning their relationship with alcohol, or falls somewhere in between, seeking support from friends, family, support groups, or professional resources can be instrumental in promoting positive change and healing.

Ultimately, the journey toward understanding and addressing alcoholism begins with self-awareness, compassion, and a willingness to seek help when needed. 

Always here for you,

Stacey x

Letting go

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