What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence,
It 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”.


Other names: Booze

  • Alcohol is a CNS depressant
  • Alcohol is the most widely used psychoactive drug and is legal in most countries
  • Grain alcohol or ethanol is the intoxicating ingredient.  It is a clear colourless liquid
  • Alcohol is the result of fermenting or distilling a variety of fruits, vegetables or grains
  • The percentage ranges from approx. 5% in beer to 40% in distilled liqours
  • Once ingested, alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream through the stomach, small intestine and colon
  • It takes about 5 minutes for the alcohol level to get into the bloodstream reaching its highest levels 30 to 90 minutes after ingestion

Drinking problems
Long-term Effects:

  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Stomach ailments: Alcohol stimulates acid production in the stomach. This can lead to diarrhoea, ulcers and stomach haemorrhaging
  • Sexual Complications
  • Women: Can cause changes in the menstrual cycle, onset of early menopause. Heavy drinking is linked to spontaneous abortion, infertility and decreased sexual desire
  • Men: Heavy drinking decreases testosterone production and promotes the production of estrogens. This may result in low sperm count, lowered sexual desire and function, and enlarged breasts
  • Liver damage: Prolonged alcohol abuse can lead to alcoholic hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) which is treatable, and cirrhosis (scaring and break down of liver tissue) which in non-treatable
  • Heart Disease: These include hypertension, high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias, or irregular heart rhythms
  • Increased chance of cancer of liver, oesophagus, pancreas and colon

Short-Term Effects:

  • Euphoria, drowsiness, and dizziness are associated with low doses of alcohol
  • Distortions of vision, hearing, perception, emotions, co-ordination, slurred speech, staggering, and nausea are associated with higher doses of alcohol
  • Disinhibition: Alcohol suppresses the part of the brain that controls reasoning and judgement and in the centre of the brain affecting mood and emotion
  • This effects people differently. For some it may trigger sociability and talkativeness and for others it can aggravate violent tendencies
  • Alcohol can cause an electrochemical disruption of the brain that can result in “amnesia”. This alcohol-induced amnesia is known as a “Blackout”. Blackouts can be an early indicator of alcoholism.
  • Heavy drinking over a short period of time can result in “hangovers” – headache, nausea, and vomiting.


Feel free to contact us regarding any queries you might have. Noupoort Christian Care Center is here to help you through any addiction related issues, phone now to speak to one of our trained consultants. Comments or questions are welcome.

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