Problems and difficulties related to alcohol can be generally termed as Alcoholism and is usually associated with excessive, uncontrolled intake of alcohol. People suffering from alcoholism most often are compulsive drinker, which results in deterioration of personal relations, health, and social status. Medically alcoholism is considered as an addictive disease.
Dependence on alcohol usually starts with drinking at low levels and gradually increases with both the volume and pattern of drinking alcohol on an occasion. Young adults in particular are more at risk.
Alcoholism is marked by increased tolerance and physical dependence on alcohol, thereby hampering an individual's capacity to control safe consumption of alcohol. These features are considered to play a significant role in hindering an alcoholic's ability to control or stop drinking Alcoholism can severely affect mental health thereby increasing the risk of suicide. Depression is a common symptom alcoholism.
Binge drinking is defined by The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as the amount of alcohol that leads to a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08, which could be attained in most adults by consumption of five drinks for men or four for women over a period of 2-hour.
According to the NIAAA, men may possess alcohol related problems if their alcohol intake goes beyond 14 standard drinks per week or 4 drinks per day and women may at risk if they consume more than 7 standard drinks per week or 3 drinks per day.
Long-term consumption of alcohol can cause a large number of health related problems, that includes liver cirrhosis, heart disease, pancreatitis, alcoholic dementia, epilepsy, polyneuropathy, peptic ulcers, sexual dysfunction and gradually becomes fatal. Other physical problems include cardiovascular disease, alcoholic liver disease, malabsorption and cancer. Damage to the central and peripheral nervous system can occur from continuous alcohol consumption for a prolonged period. Immunological disorders can also occur and there may be skeletal weakness resulting in susceptibility to bone fractures.
Complications of alcohol dependence occur more promptly in women than in men. Moreover mortality rate from alcoholism in women are higher than men. Some of the complications from long-term alcohol consumption include heart, brain, and liver damage and an increasing possibility of breast cancer. Heavy drinking over time has also been reported to impart negative effect on reproductive behaviour in women leading to reproductive dysfunction such as decreased ovarian mass, anovulation, irregularity in menstrual cycle, and untimely menopause. Chronical alcohol abuse an a recent history of binge drinking in individuals may result in development of Alcoholic ketoacidosis.