Alcoholism is 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 continuous or periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial.
The disease persists over time. Physical, emotional, and social changes are often cumulative and may progress as drinking continues. Alcoholism causes premature death through overdose, health complications involving the brain, liver, heart and many other organs, and by contributing to suicide, homicide, motor vehicle crashes, and other traumatic events.
Preoccupation with alcohol use indicates excessive, focused attention given to the drug alcohol, its effects, and/or its use. The importance placed on alcohol by the individual often leads to a diversion of energies away from important life concerns such as work, hobbies, family and children.
Alcohol-related problems or impairments include: physical health (e.g., alcohol withdrawal syndromes, liver disease, gastritis, anemia, neurological disorders); psychological functioning (e.g., impairments in cognition, changes in mood and behavior); interpersonal functioning (e.g., marital problems and child abuse, impaired social relationships); occupational functioning (e.g., scholastic or job problems); and legal, financial, or spiritual problems.
Denial includes a range of psychological maneuvers designed to reduce awareness (by themselves and others) of the fact that alcohol use is the cause of an individual’s problems rather than a solution to those problems. Denial becomes an integral part of the disease and a major obstacle to recovery.
Source: National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome
Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is a set of impairments that occur immediately after withdrawal from alcohol or other substances. The condition lasts from six to eighteen months after the last use and is marked by a fluctuating but incrementally improving course. It has importance to the recovering addict’s ability to profit from recovery, treatment, function effectively on the job, interact with family and friends, and regain emotional health.
Read more about PAWS…