Individuals with a "drinking problem" and who are addicted to alcohol are defined as
Some of the classic alcoholic behaviors and characteristics of alcoholics include the following:
- Increased tolerance
- Drinking interferes with their family, friends, health, education, finances, or work
- A strong urge or craving for drinking
- Loss of control regarding drinking
Furthermore, alcoholics experience unsuccessful efforts to reduce their drinking and they continue drinking
despite negative consequences such as legal, relationship, or employment problems.
And finally, they drink more, they drink more frequently, and they suffer from alcohol withdrawal symptoms
when they stop drinking.
If this seems like an unpleasant set of circumstances, you are correct.
The characteristics of alcoholics and the consequences of alcoholism are not only unhealthy and damaging,
but in some instances, fatal.
It almost goes without saying, then, that alcohol dependent individuals need professional help in the form
of alcohol treatment, alcohol intervention, and/or an alcohol recovery program such as Alcoholics
To help explain how alcoholic behavior and alcoholism may start, some substance abuse professionals advocate
the existence of what is known as "the alcoholic personality."
The Need For Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Statistics
Many of the dangers of alcoholism and the negative characteristics of alcoholics do not really make an impact on
people until someone lists some of the relevant alcohol abuse and alcoholism statistics that point to the damaging
and destructive drinking behavior of chronic alcohol abusers and alcoholics.
According to a study undertaken by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at
Columbia University in 2005, the following alcohol abuse and alcoholism statistics were discovered:
- Alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse cost the United States an estimated $220 billion in 2005. This dollar
amount was more than the cost associated with cancer ($196 billion) and obesity ($133 billion).
- Every day in the U.S. more than 13,000 children and teens take their first drink.
- The 25.9% of underage drinkers who are alcohol abusers and alcohol dependent drink 47.3% of the alcohol
that is consumed by all underage drinkers.
- Every year in the U.S. more than 150,000 college students develop health problem that are
- The 9.6% of adult alcoholics drink 25% of the alcohol that is consumed by all adult drinkers.
- American youth who drinking before the of age 15 are four times more likely to become alcoholics than young
people who do not drink before the age of 21.
- Every year, 1,400 American college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related
inadvertent injuries, including motor vehicle accidents.
- In the United States during 2004, 16,694 deaths occurred as a result of alcohol-related motor-vehicle
crashes. This amount was approximately 39% of all traffic fatalities. This amounts to one alcohol-related death
every 31 minutes.
It is clear from these alcohol abuse and alcoholism statistics, that excessive and irresponsible drinking
frequently result in serious alcohol related problems and health issues.
What is An Alcoholic?
For most people who drink, alcohol is a pleasant experience, especially when they drink in moderation while
engaged in social activities.
Moderate alcohol use can be defined as having up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for
In most instances, drinking in moderation is not harmful for most adults.
A large number of people, however, simply cannot drink alcoholic beverages because of the problems they
encounter when drinking.
In fact, approximately 14 million Americans abuse alcohol or are alcoholic.
According to recent studies, it has been discovered that approximately 53% of adults in the United States have
reported that one or more of their close relatives has a drinking problem.
Such a statistic has given new meaning to the term "families of alcoholics."
Definition of Alcoholic. People with a "drinking problem" and who are addicted to alcohol are
defined as "alcoholics."
Characteristics of Alcoholics
Some of the characteristics of alcoholics are the following:
- Drinking that interferes with one's job, family, or friends.
- Desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down drinking.
- Increased tolerance, meaning that over time more alcohol is required to get drunk.
- Continued drinking in site of negative consequences such as a DUI conviction, divorce, or loss of job.
- Drinking larger amounts or over longer periods of time.
- Withdrawal, meaning unpleasant symptoms similar to having the flu when drinking is stopped.
Help for Alcoholics. It is important to point out that if you observe your friends or family
members displaying any of the above mentioned alcoholic behaviors and characteristics of alcoholics, consider them
as symptoms or signs of alcoholic behavior.
And if your friends or family members exhibit some of these signs or symptoms, they may need alcoholics
Stated differently, they may need alcoholic treatment or may need to enter a treatment center for alcoholism
rehab if they are to experience alcoholism recovery.
Only then will these friends or family members be able to call themselves recovering alcoholics.
Perhaps the first group that many people think of when they, a family member, or a friend faces a "drinking
problem" is Alcoholics Anonymous.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a worldwide affiliation of men and women from all walks of life who share their
experiences, strengths, and aspirations with one other in the hope that they may solve their mutual problem and
assist others in their quest to recover from alcohol dependence.
In fact, when many people think of Alcoholics Anonymous traditions such as the "12 Steps," the "12
Traditions," and the AA meetings, the one conclusion they reach is that with Alcoholics Anonymous,
alcoholics help is always close by and available for people who are concerned about their drinking behavior.
Indeed, due to the vast number of Alcoholics Anonymous locations throughout the world, a person can
literally find an alcoholics meeting or alcoholics support groups almost anywhere in the world.
The only condition for Alcoholics Anonymous membership is a desire to quit drinking alcohol.
Therefore, total abstinence from alcohol is advocated by the organization. Members make a conscious effort to
refrain from drinking and they accomplish this "one day at a time."
Sobriety is achieved through mutual support as members share their hopes, their strengths, and their
In fact, the Alcoholics Anonymous support groups is one of the more cohesive aspects of the
The Alcoholic Personality
Do some people possess an "alcoholic personality"? Is there such a thing as an alcoholic personality type? Do
alcoholic personalities exist?
The notion that the personality of an alcoholic exists before the onset of the disease is most strongly
articulated by those who advocate a concept known as the "addictive personality."
According to supporters of this concept, the addictive personality is a distinct psychological trait that
predisposes particular people to addictions.
In spite of the debate in the psychological, medical, and neurobiological research communities about the
existence as well as the character of this trait, it is, however, observable and verifiable that brain functions
contribute to various addictions.
Building on this framework, many experts currently believe that the predisposition to addiction is more
accurately a combination of environmental, psychological, and biological factors.
In short, there is some evidence for the existence of the "alcoholic personality."
The Consequences of Alcoholic Behavior
The consequences of alcoholic behavior are not only serious, but in many cases, fatal.
Excessive drinking can increase the risk for certain cancers, such as cancer of the esophagus, throat, liver, or
of the larynx.
Heavy drinking can also lead to cirrhosis of the liver, brain damage, harm to the fetus while the mother is
pregnant, and problems with the immune system.
Additionally, drinking increases the risk of death from motor vehicle accidents as well as recreational and
Not only this, but suicides and homicides are more likely to committed by people who have been drinking.
In simple economic terms, alcohol-related issues and problems in the United States cost society almost $200
billion per year.
In human terms, the cost of the following alcohol-related issues cannot be calculated: broken homes, child
abuse, fatalities, injuries, illnesses, wife battering, failed health, and destroyed lives.
Moreover, the consequences of alcoholism do not necessarily stop with the recovery or the death of the
Indeed, evidence to support this claim can be substantiated by children of alcoholics or adult children of
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Many people think that alcohol abuse and alcoholism are the same. This is not correct.
Alcohol abuse, unlike alcoholism, does not include physical dependence, loss of control due to drinking, or an
extremely strong desire for alcohol.
Alcohol abuse is defined as a pattern of drinking that results in one or more of the following circumstances in
a twelve-month period of time:
- Drinking in situations that can result in physical injury. Examples include driving a vehicle or operating
- Failure to attend to important responsibilities at work, home, or school.
- Experiencing recurring alcohol-related legal problems. Examples include getting arrested for driving under
the influence of alcohol, for damaging someone's property, or for physically hurting someone while drunk.
- Continued drinking in spite of ongoing relationship problems that are the result of drinking.
Also known as alcohol addiction and alcohol dependence, alcoholism is a disease that includes the following
- Craving: A strong and continuing compulsion or need to drink.
- Physical dependence: Withdrawal symptoms when a person stops drinking after a period of
excessive drinking. Such symptoms include: anxiety, sweating, nausea, and "the shakes."
- Loss of control: The inability to limit one's drinking over time or on any given
- Tolerance: The need to drink increasing amounts of alcohol in order to "feel the buzz" or
to "get high."
Many times, people who are not alcoholic do not understand why an alcoholic can't simply use self-control or
willpower to stop drinking.
In most instance, however, alcoholism has little to do with willpower.
Alcoholics are caught in the compelling grip of an uncontrollable need for alcohol that takes priority over
their ability to stop drinking.
Indeed, this need to drink for the alcoholic can be as strong as his or her need for food or water.
Even though some people are able to recover from alcoholism without clinical or personal help, many, if not
most, alcoholics need assistance.
Through treatment, rehab, and support, many alcoholics are able to abstain from drinking and rebuild their
The Causes of Alcoholic Behavior
A question that has entered the minds of many people is the following: why can some people drink alcohol without
problems or any negative consequences while but others cannot? One answer to this question involves genetics.
More specifically, researchers have discovered that having an alcoholic family member increases the risk of
In fact, there may be a genetic predisposition for certain people to become dependent on alcohol.
In addition, scientists have found that various environment factors can interact with one's genetics.
Examples include peer pressure or peer influence, the relative ease of obtaining alcohol, where and how a person
lives, a person's culture, and one's family and friends.
In an alcoholism intervention (also known as an alcoholic intervention), alcohol addicted individuals are
confronted by family members and friends on the subject of their drinking behavior and how their abusive and
hazardous drinking has adversely affected virtually everyone around them.
An alcoholism intervention should be thoroughly planned and implemented by a proficient addiction intervention
professional who is experienced in such procedures.
The most fundamental purpose of an alcoholism intervention is to get the alcoholic to seek quality alcohol
treatment as soon as possible.
Even though an alcoholic intervention can backfire, in some instance, this is the only option that is available
for "reaching" the alcoholic.
Conclusion: Alcoholics Info
Here's some basic alcoholic info: for most people who drink, alcohol is a pleasant experience, especially when
engaged in social activities. In fact, drinking in moderation is not harmful for most adults.
Unfortunately, a significant number of people cannot drink alcoholic beverages because of the problems they
encounter when drinking.
Many of these people have a "drinking problem" and are addicted to alcohol.
Once people become alcohol dependent, they are known as alcoholics. And once they are alcoholics, they need
alcoholics help in the form or alcohol rehab, alcohol treatment, or alcohol recovery such as Alcoholics
Some of the main behavioral and emotional characteristics of alcoholics are the following: they continue
drinking despite negative consequences such as employment, relationship, or legal problems.
In a similar manner they drink more during each episode AND they drink more frequently. What is more, they
experience increased tolerance over time.
Likewise, their drinking interferes with their work, friends, or family. Not only this but they suffer from
alcohol withdrawal symptoms when they quit drinking.
And finally, they experience unsuccessful efforts to reduce their drinking.
The alcohol abuse and alcoholism statistics point to a dreary reality that is full of devastation, destruction,
unhealthy, and far too often, to fatal consequences.
Some experts in the field of alcoholism advocate the concept known as "the alcoholic personality."
Actually, this conception is an offshoot of the notion of the "addictive personality," that the personality of
an addict exists before the onset of dependency.
Whether an individual becomes an alcoholic because of "the alcoholic personality" or due to other factors, an
alcohol dependent person typically exhibits predictable and classic alcoholic behavior as well as identifiable
characteristics of an alcoholic.
Alcoholic Intervention. Perhaps the bottom line issue in any discussion about alcoholics and
alcoholism is this: unless the alcoholic gets professional alcoholism treatment or goes through a successful
alcoholism intervention, in most instances this disease will progress and will usually end with the person dying
If this describes you, then you need to be honest with yourself and admit that you have a drinking problem.
Once you have taken this step, consider making it a priority to talk with an alcohol abuse and alcoholism
professional about getting alcohol treatment as soon as possible.
As a final note, if you are concerned about your drinking behavior and you feel the need to talk with a
counselor, please call your local drug and alcohol treatment center today and make an appointment.