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  1. #1
    Senior Member HighwayChild's Avatar
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    Default What is alcoholism?

    Wiki version - Alcoholism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    This is a term that I've noticed has been used quite loosely in the world. It seems many people have their own definition of what alcohol abuse is and when it's fitting to accuse someone of being an alcoholic.
    I was listening to a radio talk show about it this morning and one caller said that it doesn't matter if you are functioning or nonfunctioning, that you are an alcoholic if you drink every day or use alcohol to lift your mood in social situations. The radio host seemed to agree. I have met others who think that way as well, including my mom. Everyone seems to have their own idea of what they consider alcoholism to be, kind of like religion.
    I don't think it's so gray. To me, there are a few levels of alcohol use and it takes a lot to get to the point of dependence.

    Feel free to add if you see other levels... but here are mine:
    nondrinker
    social drinker
    moderate drinker
    heavy drinker
    a "drunk"
    alcoholic.

    The first two seem to have a definition that shouldn't be argued, should have a general consensus of what they are or mean with almost everyone. After that, things become drunkenly blurry. I personally think alcoholism is a disease, creates a nonfunctioning lifestyle, and creates an ironic mess that consists of the drinking causing the pain that you drink to to escape. (I'm unhappy because I drink, I drink because I'm unhappy -the vicious cycle). I think that many people seem to throw in heavy drinker and "a drunk" in with the alcoholism and I don't agree. I can explain, but I want to hear what some of you think about this.

  2. #2
    Senior Member HighwayChild's Avatar
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    no one? what a lonely world.

  3. #3
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    I hadn't seen this thread, but I agree with you that the term "alcoholic" is thrown about rather loosely. Under some definitions, everyone I knew between the ages of 17 and 23 was an alcoholic.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

  4. #4
    mod love baby... Lady_X's Avatar
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    i think it's a pretty harsh word and wouldn't use it unless the person was non-functioning and it ruined their life...well i mean...i might...in a joking way...because i've had/do have a lot of friends who i'd call lushes...but when i think of the word alcoholic i think of meg ryan in when a man loves a woman digging through trash cans for stashed bottles.
    There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
    -Jim Morrison

  5. #5
    (blankpages) Xenon's Avatar
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    I think you can be a functioning alcoholic (hold a job, etc.) but I wouldn't agree with those definitions either. Drinking every day makes you an alcoholic? That would mean someone who has a single glass of wine a day is an "alcoholic". Using alcohol to lift your mood in social situations? Well, that's pretty much the reason people drink at social gatherings and on dates, etc., so what would be an acceptable reason to drink in that case?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    I hadn't seen this thread, but I agree with you that the term "alcoholic" is thrown about rather loosely. Under some definitions, everyone I knew between the ages of 17 and 23 was an alcoholic.
    Oh yeah. 'Binge drinking' as well. You hear reports about how binge drinking is rampant, and it turns out "binge drinking" is defined as four or more drinks on one occasion for women and five or more for men. Depending on how slowly you drink and your personal tolerance, that might not even get you buzzed. Course, four is the number I typically drink, so perhaps I'm in denial...

    This sounds like a fair definition (from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism):
    Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence, is a disease that includes the following four symptoms:

    • Craving--A strong need, or urge, to drink.
    • Loss of control--Not being able to stop drinking once drinking has begun.
    • Physical dependence--Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety after stopping drinking.
    • Tolerance--The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to get "high."
    They separate this from "problem drinking", which refers to drinking that causes problems in one's life, but doesn't meet the criteria for alcoholism.

  6. #6
    mod love baby... Lady_X's Avatar
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    totally agree with that definition yeah.
    There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
    -Jim Morrison

  7. #7
    Senior Member HighwayChild's Avatar
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    Glad to see that so many people agree. Alcoholics are like crackheads or heroine addicts while being a drunk or problem drinker (I like that term by the way) is kind of like being a pothead. Although you enjoy it so much, a heavy drinker or drunk can put it down with barely even a pychological withdrawl symptom or dependence to it, and it may affect your outside life a little but not to the point of nonfunctioning or being too problematic. Alcohol to an abuser, "Hey man, got any booze, I will suck yo ****!"

  8. #8
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    I dunno, I see a lot of people who drink every day (wine, because that's cultured, you know, and besides, red wine is good for your health blah blah pass the bottle) and say they could quit anytime, but ... they don't. The not drinking part stays in the hypothetical.

  9. #9
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blankpages View Post
    Oh yeah. 'Binge drinking' as well. You hear reports about how binge drinking is rampant, and it turns out "binge drinking" is defined as four or more drinks on one occasion for women and five or more for men. Depending on how slowly you drink and your personal tolerance, that might not even get you buzzed.
    Yeah, that standard is just absurd. I think it was invented by somebody who finds it morally objectionable to get drunk (as opposed to just buzzed) for pleasure.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    I think of binge drinking more like the every two or three months someone gets so drunk they have to be carried out of the restaurant and then they puke in the cab and all over their shoes a couple of times before you get them home.

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