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Defining Alcoholism

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by JoanMcWench, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. JoanMcWench

    JoanMcWench Community Champion

    al·co·hol·ism
    ˈalkəhôˌlizəm/
    noun
    noun: alcoholism
    1. an addiction to the consumption of alcoholic liquor or the mental illness and compulsive behavior resulting from alcohol dependency.
      "he had a long history of depression, drug abuse and alcoholism"

    I'm not sure I agree with that definition because it forces you to decide what addiction means. I define alcoholism as a behaviour that negatively affects your life. Period. Now I'm not measuring how much it negatively affects your life or why it does so. Just the fact that it's doing more harm than good should define it as a problem.

    What's your definition of alcohol?
  2. vegito12

    vegito12 Community Champion

    I think it means someone who is addicted to it that, they need it to survive and it has to be every day and they think that is more important than the other things in life. I have seen people who have made it a habit to drink all day or every day and may think it is alright to drive a car or go to work while drunk. Alcoholism can be someone who misuses alcohol and has to rely on it and needs it to function and ignores help when they need it and tend to make wrong choices in life and hide from problems.
  3. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I think the dictionary definition is much more accurate. Placing the negativity aspect of it as a part of the word just makes the word more biased, whereas just using it as a term for addiction makes it somewhat objective. Addiction doesn't necessarily have to be negative, in my opinion, as people can always choose how they react to the addiction and whether or not they will use it to better their lives or just let it take over.
  4. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    I would also agree on putting a negative definition of it cause it is a real problem.
    Alcoholism is being addicted to alcohol that it is already ruining your life. That you cannot think normal anymore and doing harmful things to yourself and/or to others.
  5. rabst

    rabst Active Contributor

    Hey! That's the stuff you use to clean up owies, right? :p

    But alcoholism---it's just 'a path clearly marked by the signs of the drink' (like Buddhism is 'a path clearly marked by the signs of "people who have been awakened"'). As the drink (referred-to by the same name as the infamous healing-agent) is a natural thing that therefore naturally follows a path of destruction (unlike humans, whose bodies naturally discard the old growths to build new ones), people who follow the path of the alcohol also rot & dissolve into decay.

    The same thing happens if you dedicate yourself to ANYTHING that rots and decays like that. That's why people suggest you get into 'religion' (if you think that's "about God or something," that's fine; but 'religion' is literally about "going back to the bound book" ... maybe 'the book' is the TRUE Buddha! as Buddhist texts will tell you that "ALL religions are forms of Buddhism.")
  6. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    I believe that alcoholism is slavery to alcohol. An alcoholic may know that the stuff is harmful, maybe he's even been warned by a doctor to consume any more of it but its hold on them is so strong that they just must obey that master even if they know it will kill them.

    My uncle was once such person. He died in 2007.
  7. rainbowguard

    rainbowguard Senior Contributor

    I think alcoholism is the addiction to alcohol to the point where stopping will cause physical withdrawal symptoms.

    Consider these two scenarios:

    Person A only works minimum wage and on his paycheck day he always blow it on alcohol and parties. However, when he runs out of money, he doesn't have a choice but to wait for the next paycheck.

    Person B drinks about 2 cans of beer everyday with dinner and if he doesn't do it, he starts to shake, have headache, and become very nervous.

    Both of them are alcoholics but I think person B's addiction is more severe than person A.
  8. serenity

    serenity Community Champion

    I also think that the definition in the dictionary is correct. For me, an addiction is when you don't function normally anymore because of a compulsive need to consume a certain substance, and it negatively affects, your job, relationships, and basically, your whole life.
  9. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    I think its very hard to put a definition on alcoholism as each person is going to have their own rules as to what is acceptable.
    Is one person who drinks 4 pints every night any worse than somebody who only drinks at weekend...but drinks their self into oblivion, the classic binge drinker.
    Theres been a lot in the media regarding this, and if this is actually worse than drinking every night, I know going out into the city on a Friday or Saturday night HAS got s lot worse than what it ever has been.
  10. BeachyKeen

    BeachyKeen Member

    I think that the difference between use and abuse (of anything) is when it begins to have negative effects on other aspects of your life. So if your drinking if stopping you from doing things, or interfering with your job, social life etc., then you are an alcoholic. I believe with alcohol there is also the physical aspect of the addiction to take into consideration, not just the mental/psychological.
  11. bsthebenster

    bsthebenster Community Champion

    I think I've always used the term "addiction" way less loosely than other people. In my opinion, if you exhibit withdrawal symptoms upon ceasing use, you're addicted. I've never really bought into food addiction or sex addiction for that reason.
  12. BeachyKeen

    BeachyKeen Member

    I thought that people suffering from food/sex addictions did suffer from withdrawal symptoms? Although I must admit I don't know too much about those things. I think it's important not to underestimate the mental component of addiction though.
  13. bsthebenster

    bsthebenster Community Champion

    It's up for debate I guess. Or perhaps I'm the only one left debating it. But I mean, when I used to play video games as a child and my Mom told me to get off, I'd get kinda cranky. It wasn't withdrawal from video games, it was simply me being deprived of something I enjoyed. It's the same thing now. I hate working, that doesn't mean I'm addicted to time off of work.

    I hear people with food and sex addictions crave their habit of choice when they aren't getting it. But is that really withdrawal? I crave being off of work, I don't think anyone would call that withdrawal.
  14. JoshPosh

    JoshPosh Community Champion

    I think you're spot on with your assessment. If alcohol consumption negatively affects your life, then you have a problem, or alcoholism.
  15. BeachyKeen

    BeachyKeen Member

    I think the difference is that people with food/sex addictions experience withdrawal symptoms because they've messed up the dopamine receptors in their brains, not because they just really really crave something! (But I am sort of speculating here, I'm not an expert on the matter by any means, just trying to remember some various things I've read)
  16. bsthebenster

    bsthebenster Community Champion

    Yes, perhaps my facts aren't straight. But I believe that the majority of cravings are caused by our dopamine receptors. It's my understanding that our dopamine receptors are telling us to eat fatty food since the day we're born due to not having a lot of food way back when. So if we truly bought into the whole food addiction thing, wouldn't that apply to everyone?
  17. BeachyKeen

    BeachyKeen Member

    I think we're all wired by evolution to crave foods that are high in fat and sugar, but I think food addiction is more about the emotional aspect of food, as well as binge eating, etc. So I think it is slightly different.