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Alcoholics? - August 30th 2011, 04:14 PM

In a few of my health classes we learned about alcoholism. That if some of your family members are alcoholics, you may have a higher chance in becoming one. When we were told what an alcoholic was, I was shocked! Everyone who lives in upper Michigan, USA would be an alcoholic then! For example someone who drinks more then one alcoholic beverage an hour, someone who drinks to get drunk, or doesn't stop drinking when they start. Before this I thought alcoholism was being addicted to drinking alcohol. My family drinks to get drunk, a lot of people I know drink to get drunk. I thought this was classified as alcohol abuse, not alcoholism. Could I become an alcoholic because my family drinks to get drunk at least once a week? They don't need to, they want to.
   
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Re: Alcoholics? - August 30th 2011, 06:42 PM

I tend to disagree with those guidelines as well.Almost everyone has drank to get drunk atleast a few times in their life.

I agree with you,an alcoholic is a person who craves alcohol and drinks it habitually and has a very hard time going without


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Re: Alcoholics? - August 30th 2011, 07:03 PM

I don't know where to find the real guidelines for what is what, I'm assuming in the USA the FDA decides what the guidelines for it is... Not sure though.
   
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Re: Alcoholics? - August 30th 2011, 08:45 PM

There are many definitions of alcoholism, although the DSM-IV-TR views that the term alcoholism is too broad and meaningless. Instead, they use 2 different terms, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. Neither term specify a certain frequency of drinking or amount of drinking, instead they use qualitative terms.

Unfortunately, other people use different terms, such as alcohol misuse. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17245680. The definitions for this I don't agree with because frankly they're ridiculous and include just about every single person in the world.

You are right in that alcoholism, as well alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence and alcohol misuse are forms of addictive disorders. However, it's a bit more than just addicted to drinking alcohol. For example, alcohol abuse involves drinking alcohol despite known negative consequences, causing social harms. On the other hand, alcohol dependence involves tolerance, withdrawal and continuing to drink despite evidence of physical dysfunction and bodily harm.

Regarding you having a higher chance of alcoholism since your family supposedly has alcoholism, it's stepping in a controversial not well understood area. Alcohol has many effects on the body, one of which I did a research paper on for a research-based course. To keep it short and sweet, it's about the effect alcohol has on the NMDA receptor, which has a strong effect on behaviour, memory and learning. Your family may feel they want to get drunk due to their alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence (I'm not going to specify which as I don't know which applies to them).


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