What is Alcoholism? Know The Definition, Risk Factors And Consequences

Many of us have heard about alcoholism, possibly we know of a close case, but do you really know, what is it and what are its consequences? Alcoholism is a chronic public health disease, characterized by the excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages and that affects the different areas of life of a person and their close group (family, friends, colleagues ...) generating deterioration in their physical health and mental health.

After excessive alcohol consumption the person can generate tolerance; In other words, when an individual frequently consumes alcohol or another substance, their body becomes habituated and therefore the desired effects diminish in view of the amount they consumedso that each time they will need higher doses of alcohol to achieve the desired effects.

It can also cause physiological and psychological dependence (deterioration in control of consumption, characterized by anxiety and intense desire to consume), which can be accompanied by withdrawal syndrome, which causes that when a person reduces or suspends alcohol consumption they experience anxiety, presents difficulties falling asleep and maintaining sleep, presents irritability and gastrointestinal discomfort. (World Health Organization, 2018)

According to the research, Risk factors for alcohol consumption can be seen from different dimensions:

  • At the individual level: low self-esteem, genetic predisposition, search for intense feelings and emotions, aggressiveness, behavior problems, academic failure, difficulty managing emotions, difficulty making decisions, lack of assertiveness, among others.
  • At the family level: having alcoholic parents, permissive parenting practices in the face of alcohol consumption, lax discipline, negative communication patterns, parenting problems, lack of skills to face difficult situations, lack of care, overprotection, unclear values are evident. or nonexistent, among others.
  • At the school level: it is identified that the lack of support for the values and positive attitudes of schools and / or institutions, high rates of substance abuse, low moral levels of teachers and students, lack of sense of belonging towards institutions, failure school and discrimination, and little information on the problem of consumption.
  • At the work level: on the one hand, labor conflicts, job instability, highly competitive environment, consumption within work are evident ... and on the other, peer pressure, tolerance to the consumption of certain substances and accessibility to certain substances.


How do you know if you are an alcoholic? Aspects such as the inability of the person to stop their consumption should be taken into account despite the consequences it brings ; that is to say,  deciding not to take more or, in case of doing so, the inability to decide even when to take, anxiety and / or intense desire to consume.

Similarly, it is important to review other factors such as deteriorating labor activity and the loss of work, academic desertion, financial consequences (debt or loss of property) and deterioration in family and social relationships.


The harmful consumption of alcohol has as consequences a social and economic burden for society, it can also harm other people, such as family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers.   It is usually related to the development of mental and behavioral disorders, leading the person to become an alcoholic.


  • At the family level: the family is seriously affected by the existence of a person dependent on alcohol and / or other drugs. Generally, there are enormous difficulties for all members, disturbing the family environment, causing more conflicts, generating intra-family violence (insults to the partner or aggression to children) and a more distant relationship between parents and children.
  • At the social level: serious problems of social coexistence are generated, increased accident rates, disturbance to neighbors, non-compliance with work and / or academic activities; appearance of episodes of violence and physical and mental aggression.
  • On an emotional level: anxiety, depression, sleep disorder, irritability, suicidal ideation, feelings of hopelessness, guilt, shame, among others. (World Health Organization, 2018).

Now that you know what it is and what the consequences of alcoholism are, we invite you to take care of your health and that of your loved ones.

Health orientation, the new era of medicine


The above content is for educational and informational purposes only and has been developed after referring reliable medical sources and recommendations from health experts.  If you feel identified with any symptoms, described medical term or you are a patient, we recommend consulting your doctor. 

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