Mail Us

Call Us

+91 9811709666
+91 8800999914

Alcoholism Symptoms and Treatment

What is Alcoholism?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism describes alcohol use disorder as “an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.” A person with this condition does not know when or how to stop drinking and they spend a lot of time thinking about alcohol. 

What are the symptoms of alcoholism?

Alcoholism, clinically referred to as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), is a chronic condition characterized by an inability to control or stop drinking despite negative consequences. The symptoms of alcoholism can vary in severity, and not everyone with AUD will exhibit the same signs. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) outlines specific criteria used to diagnose AUD. Here are some common symptoms and signs associated with alcoholism:

  1. Craving:

    • A strong desire or urge to consume alcohol.
  2. Loss of Control:

    • Inability to limit the amount of alcohol consumed or the duration of drinking episodes.
  3. Physical Dependence:

    • Development of tolerance, where increased amounts of alcohol are needed to achieve the desired effect.
    • Experience of withdrawal symptoms when not drinking or attempting to cut down (e.g., tremors, nausea, anxiety).
  4. Inability to Stop or Cut Down:

    • Persistent desire to quit or cut down on drinking but unsuccessful attempts to do so.
  5. Neglect of Other Activities:

    • Spending a significant amount of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of alcohol, leading to neglect of important social, occupational, or recreational activities.
  6. Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences:

    • Continued alcohol use despite knowledge of persistent or recurring physical or psychological problems caused or exacerbated by drinking.
  7. Social and Interpersonal Issues:

    • Persistent social or interpersonal problems due to the effects of alcohol, such as arguments with family members, friends, or coworkers.
  8. Reduced Interest in Hobbies or Activities:

    • A decrease in interest or participation in activities that were once enjoyable.
  9. Drinking in Risky Situations:

    • Drinking in situations where it is physically hazardous, such as while driving or operating machinery.
  10. Preoccupation with Alcohol:

    • Spending a great deal of time thinking about alcohol, planning when to drink, or recovering from its effects.
  11. Increased Tolerance:

    • Needing to drink larger amounts of alcohol over time to achieve the desired effect.

It’s important to note that the severity of alcoholism can range from mild to severe, and not everyone with AUD will experience all of these symptoms. Additionally, the impact of alcoholism can extend beyond the individual, affecting relationships, work, and overall quality of life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of alcoholism, seeking professional help is crucial. A healthcare provider or mental health professional can assess the severity of the condition and recommend appropriate treatment options, which may include counseling, medication, and support groups. Early intervention can significantly improve the chances of successful recovery.

Causes of alcoholism

Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a complex condition influenced by a combination of genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors. It’s important to note that there isn’t a single cause for alcoholism, and individuals may develop the disorder due to a variety of interacting elements. Here are some common factors associated with the development of alcoholism:

  1. Genetics:

    • Family History: Individuals with a family history of alcoholism are at a higher risk of developing AUD. Genetic factors contribute to a person’s susceptibility to alcohol dependence.
  2. Biological Factors:

    • Brain Chemistry: Alcohol affects neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and dopamine, leading to pleasurable feelings. Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition that makes them more sensitive to the rewarding effects of alcohol.

    • Neurological Changes: Chronic alcohol consumption can result in changes to brain structure and function, impacting decision-making, impulse control, and judgment.

  3. Psychological Factors:

    • Mental Health Conditions: Co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma-related disorders, may increase the risk of alcoholism. Individuals may use alcohol to self-medicate and alleviate symptoms.

    • Personality Traits: Certain personality traits, such as impulsivity, sensation-seeking, and a low tolerance for frustration, may be associated with an increased risk of alcohol dependence.

    • Coping Mechanisms: Individuals may turn to alcohol as a way to cope with stress, negative emotions, or challenging life circumstances.

  4. Environmental Factors:

    • Social Environment: Growing up in an environment where alcohol use is normalized or where there is easy access to alcohol may contribute to the development of alcoholism.

    • Peer Influence: Peer pressure and the influence of friends or social circles that engage in heavy drinking can play a role in the initiation of alcohol use and the development of dependence.

    • Early Exposure: Starting to drink at an early age, especially during adolescence, is a risk factor for the development of alcoholism. Early exposure may affect the developing brain and increase the likelihood of problematic alcohol use.

  5. Developmental Factors:

    • Life Transitions: Major life changes such as divorce, loss of a loved one, or job stress can contribute to increased alcohol consumption as a way to cope with stress and emotional pain.
  6. Risk-Taking Behavior:

    • Impulsivity and Sensation-Seeking: Individuals with a tendency toward impulsivity and a high need for stimulation may be more prone to engaging in risky behaviors, including excessive alcohol consumption.
  7. Sociocultural Factors:

    • Cultural Norms: Cultural attitudes toward alcohol and drinking norms can influence an individual’s likelihood of developing alcoholism. In some cultures, heavy drinking may be more socially acceptable.


Understanding these factors provides insight into the complexity of alcoholism. It’s important to recognize that not everyone with risk factors will develop alcoholism, and conversely, individuals without apparent risk factors may still develop the disorder. Prevention, early intervention, and effective treatment are essential components in addressing alcohol use disorder. If someone is struggling with alcohol-related issues, seeking professional help is crucial for a comprehensive assessment and appropriate support.

Treatment of alcoholism

The treatment of alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), typically involves a comprehensive and individualized approach that addresses the physical, psychological, and social aspects of the condition. Treatment can take place in various settings, including outpatient programs, inpatient rehabilitation centers, and community-based support groups. Here’s an explanation of key components in the treatment of alcoholism:

  1. Assessment and Diagnosis:

    • A thorough assessment by a healthcare professional is essential to determine the severity of alcohol use disorder and to identify any co-occurring mental health issues or medical conditions.
  2. Detoxification (Detox):

    • For individuals with severe alcohol dependence, a supervised detoxification process may be necessary to manage withdrawal symptoms safely. This typically occurs in a medical setting, and healthcare professionals monitor and support individuals through the detox process.
  3. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT):

    • Certain medications may be prescribed to assist in the treatment of alcoholism:
      • Disulfiram: Creates unpleasant reactions (such as nausea) if alcohol is consumed, acting as a deterrent.
      • Naltrexone: Reduces cravings and blocks the pleasurable effects of alcohol.
      • Acamprosate: Helps maintain abstinence by reducing withdrawal symptoms.
  4. Behavioral Therapies:

    • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Focuses on identifying and changing unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors related to alcohol use. It helps individuals develop coping strategies and skills to manage triggers.

    • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET): A counseling approach designed to increase an individual’s motivation to change by exploring and resolving ambivalence about quitting drinking.

    • Contingency Management: Involves providing tangible rewards or incentives to reinforce positive behaviors, such as abstinence.

    • Brief Interventions: Short-term, focused therapeutic approaches aimed at reducing risky drinking behaviors.

  5. Group Therapy and Support Groups:

    • Group Counseling: Participating in group therapy sessions allows individuals to share their experiences, gain support, and learn from others facing similar challenges.

    • 12-Step Programs: Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provide a structured approach to recovery, emphasizing mutual support and accountability.

  6. Individual Counseling:

    • Individual Therapy: One-on-one counseling sessions with a mental health professional can address personal issues, provide coping strategies, and explore underlying factors contributing to alcohol use.
  7. Family Therapy:

    • Involving family members in therapy helps address family dynamics, improve communication, and build a supportive environment for recovery.
  8. Education and Psychoeducation:

    • Providing information about the consequences of alcohol abuse, the nature of addiction, and coping strategies helps individuals understand and manage their condition.
  9. Lifestyle Changes and Skill-Building:

    • Stress Management: Teaching stress-reduction techniques and healthy coping mechanisms.

    • Life Skills Training: Developing skills for effective communication, problem-solving, and decision-making.

  10. Aftercare and Relapse Prevention:

    • Continued support through ongoing counseling, support groups, or alumni programs.

    • Development of a relapse prevention plan, which includes identifying triggers, creating coping strategies, and establishing a support network.

Successful treatment for alcoholism often involves a combination of these elements, tailored to the individual’s needs. It’s important to note that recovery is a lifelong process, and ongoing support and maintenance strategies are crucial for sustained sobriety. Seeking professional help and engaging in a comprehensive treatment plan can significantly improve the chances of successful recovery from alcohol use disorder.


Alcoholism, or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), is a complex condition influenced by genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors. It is characterized by an inability to control alcohol consumption despite adverse consequences. Treatment involves a comprehensive approach, including detoxification, medication, behavioral therapies, support groups, and lifestyle changes. Successful recovery requires ongoing support and a personalized strategy to address the physical, psychological, and social aspects of the disorder. Seeking professional help early is crucial for effective intervention and improved long-term outcomes in managing alcohol use disorder.




Contact Details

Designed By BrainCube Media

Copyright © 2023 All rights reserved.