Prior to beginning a discussion about the characteristics of alcoholism, it seems appropriate to start with a widely accepted alcohol addiction definition. According to the American Medical Association, alcohol addiction or alcoholism is defined as “a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations.” Since that might seem like a convoluted definition, we will attempt to explain it in layman’s terms.

Drinking alone like this blond woman is part of the alcohol addiction definitionCharacteristics of Alcohol Addiction

In the realm of substance abuse, alcohol addiction brings with it a very specific set of characteristics. First and foremost, people can drink to excess and it’s not illegal. It’s not even illegal for them to drink to excess on a regular basis. In some cultures, it’s actually socially acceptable. While drunk, alcoholics may do things that are illegal, but there’s nothing illegal about the drinking itself unless it involves a minor. Based on this factor, recognizing alcoholism in a culture where drinking to excess is acceptable, becomes a problem.

Doctors and psychologists have not laid down any specific guidelines for identifying alcohol addiction. Even the alcohol addiction definition we provided above lacks specifics. Instead, the medical profession will diagnose this disease by collecting data about the individual’s physical health, mental health, family history and behavior patterns.

Specifics aside, most doctors will agree that the following characteristics are common among people with an addiction to alcohol:

  • Tend to drink alone
  • Tend to always drink into a drunken state or blackout
  • Obsess over finding and drinking alcohol
  • Drink to escape personal problems
  • Accumulate significant problems related in some way to drinking

Simplifying the Alcohol Addiction Definition

While the basic alcohol addiction definition doesn’t come with a lot of complicated medical terms, it is still difficult to understand. At the core, the alcohol addiction definition is quick to classify alcoholism as a “chronic” disease caused by a variety of factors. It implies that some people are prone to addiction because of genetics. Alcohol addiction is possibly hereditary. It also implies there are environmental, psychological, and social issues that create a basis for constant drinking.

Most of us can agree that social, personal and psychological issues can create problems in life. From that, it’s reasonable to assume people might drink to numb themselves from those issues. Once someone finds even a moment of relief from life’s issues while drinking, it doesn’t seem unreasonable that they would want to hide from them on a permanent basis. In layman’s terms, the alcohol addiction definition really boils down to an unhealthy avenue of escape.

Let’s not forget that alcohol addiction is dangerous. It can cause both physical and mental health issues. It also creates within the alcoholic a propensity for making bad decisions like driving drunk or engaging in other risky behavior. When lives are at risk, we have to take the direct causes very seriously.

Dealing With Alcohol Addiction at Beaches Recovery

At Beaches Recovery Center in Jacksonville, Florida, we have designed a variety of addiction treatment programs specifically for people suffering from alcohol addiction. Our process starts with a comprehensive addiction treatment admissions process. We use this process to determine the depth of a new patient’s alcohol problem. This is useful in helping us determine if there’s a need for detox, which we will facilitate.

Because we specialize in custom care, we have given our counselors access to a wide range of approaches for treatment. The most common options include:

If our alcohol addiction definition has been useful in helping you identify yourself as an alcoholic, it might be time for you to consider treatment. If you can summon the strength to admit you have a problem and want help, the counselors here at Beaches Recovery Center want to provide the level of treatment you deserve. We encourage you to pick up the phone and call us at 866.605.0532.