What is Alcoholism? Also known as alcohol dependence, is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems. A person that is dependent on alcohol is called an alcoholic. Some harmful long-term effects of drinking are permanent brain damage, addiction to alcohol and serious mental disorders. Alcoholism can occur in anyone. It is not just a disease that is strictly for the poor or underprivileged.
Mentally, alcohol affects each person somewhat differently depending on body weight, gender and food consumption. Alcohol acts as a sedative on the Central Nervous System. Therefore, nerve cells in the brain are depressed, dulled, altered or damaged affecting their ability to respond. A drinker experiences mild euphoria and loss of inhibition as the alcohol impairs the regions of the brain that control behavior and emotion. Temporary effects on the brain are that the vision is somewhat impaired; one's fine motor skills such as speech and talk are also disrupted. Large doses of alcohol can cause deep sleep, anesthesia, respiratory failure, coma or death. .
Since alcohol is physically addictive, the alcoholic who stops drinking may suffer from physical withdrawals. The severity of the withdrawal depends on the level of physical dependency. Low levels of dependence, the withdrawals may involve disrupted .
sleep anxiety and mild tremors, sometimes called the shakes. In contrast though with higher levels of dependency of alcohol, withdrawal may involve confusion, hallucinations, and severe tremors or seizures. These severe symptoms are usually called the "the DT's". In cases of extreme physical dependency convulsions and death may occur in the absence of proper medical attention.
A simple example of an alcoholic with a mental disorder is the obsession that causes a physical compulsion to drink. Have you ever had a song or a melody stuck in your head and cannot seem to get it out? No matter what you do that tune is there, you catch yourself whistling it or oddly enough singing it out loud.