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Alcoholism: One Definition To Think About

Jessi, (not his real name) walked in the door at the neighbourhood bar and asked for a draft beer. While sitting there tending to his drink an older gentleman arrived and sat next to him. "Draft beer please," the older man said. Thirty minutes later the older gentleman left. Jessi noticed the glass left was ¾ full. Stealthily Jessi inched his way to the vacant seat and in a very natural manner slid the beer from the vacated spot to his spot. This went on for the rest of the evening with several patrons until eventually Jessi stumbled out the door and left. This situation brings up the topic of alcoholism and its definition.

Alcoholism: Some people have it and some people don't. Which leads us to ask, what does alcoholism mean anyway?

Simply put, Alcoholism means to have an addiction to the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Then we have to ask, what causes alcoholism or alcohol dependence?

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alcohol treatmentWith today's advanced technology and study of the brain, research has found that Alcoholism, also termed alcohol dependence, is a gradual physical process that may take from a few years to several decades to develop into a problem; interestingly enough also depends on a person's age. Recent research has found that Alcohol dependence can become an addiction in a matter of months, which may be surprising to some.

Eventually over time and with regular alcohol consumption, this chemical intake has the potential to disrupt the balance of the brain's chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which actually controls impulsiveness, as well as glutamate, which stimulates the nervous system and may lead to a disorder in the brain's anatomy.


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Did you know that levels of dopamine in the brain are raised when a person consumes any amount of alcohol? Dopamine levels may enhance the drinking experience and make it more gratifying therefore the desire to repeat the process.

If occasional drinking becomes excessive drinking, over time this action can significantly alter the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and may cause physical cravings for more alcohol in order to enhance good feelings or to avoid feeling depressed.

Is Jessi an alcoholic? Maybe he is, or maybe he's not. Until there's a need for him to know, we won't know either because in this article we've simply outlined one definition of alcoholism to think about.

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