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Some people drink too much alcohol even though it causes problems in their lives. These people have an alcohol use problem.
Alcohol use problems can have many causes. These may include genetic, physical, social, and emotional factors. Over time, health problems such as high blood pressure, liver disease, or digestive ills often develop.
There are different kinds of alcohol use problems:
Alcohol abuse. This is when a person drinks alcohol even though it causes serious problems in his or her life. The person has a pattern of ongoing and heavy alcohol use. He or she may have problems at home or work because of this. They may also have problems with the law, such as arrests. But the person does not have withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking.
Alcohol dependence. This is also known as alcoholism. It is an addiction to drinking alcohol. People with alcoholism may not drink alcohol every day. But when they do drink, they tend to drink a lot. And if they stop drinking, they have withdrawal symptoms. Alcoholism is a lifelong disease that often causes health, emotional, behavioral, and social problems. If untreated, it can even lead to death from the effects of alcohol on the heart, liver, and other parts of the body. Alcoholism cannot be cured. But it can be successfully treated.
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