Characteristics of alcoholism

What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a disorder in which the alcoholic persons can avoid consuming alcohol, even though alcohol dependence  causes him/her mental or physical health problems.

How to tell if a person is an alcoholic?

Family members are the first who can tell if a person suffers from alcohol dependence. With the emergence of clear problems with alcohol, the family should talk to the doctor to confirm their suspicions.

In many cases, the doctor has some evidence that the patient may have entered into this type of addiction through the physical problems that this drug is causing in his or her body.

Diagnose of alcoholism

alcoholic drink with orange juice

An alcoholic drink with orange juice

One of the most commonly used to diagnose this dependence is possible forms called CAGE or MALT, which, through a series of questions the specialist determines to what extent this “hooked” with this drug.

The CAGE test was developed by Dr. John Ewing, director of the Bowls Centre for Studies on Alcohol, University of North Carolina.

This is a questionnaire that is introduced, along with other questions other than alcohol, within a general health questionnaire for the recognition of people with problems with alcohol. It consists of 20 questions, similar to the following ones:


  • Have you ever considered to stop drinking?
  • Do you feel upset when someone criticizes your drinking?
  • Do you feel guilty about drinking?
  • Do you feel that drinking makes it impossible to sleep well?
  • Do you need to drink to get up to work normally?
  • Do you drink to overcome shyness?
  • Etc.


1 affirmative answer: It indicates the likelihood of addiction.

2 affirmative answers: It indicates the possibility of addiction.

3 affirmative answers: It indicates addiction to booze

Tests to diagnose alcoholism

Drinking an alcoholic beverage

Drinking an alcoholic beverage has become a very common social act

Another series of physical tests are used to confirm the initial diagnosis are:

  • Analysis of blood
  • Liver, skin physical examination to determine the presence of veins below the navel,
  • Decrease in the testes,
  • Yellowing of the skin
  • Etc.

How to overcome alcoholism?

Alcoholism is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome, because of the physical and psychological problems it creates and the tendency people have to think alcohol for them is not really a problem. An alcoholic person may think: ” I’m not hooked to the drink and I can leave it whenever I want to”

How to make an alcoholic recognize his/her problem?

The first obligation of families will be to make the person recognize the drinking problem, and convince him/her that he/she needs to give up this habit so as to regain health, both physically and mentally.

Threats and coercion are useless here. We must reason with the patient, make him or her understand they need to stop their addiction. The drinker has to recognize that he or she is addicted to drinking and must have the will and intention to rehabilitate.

How is alcohol detoxification process done?

Once this need is recognized, the process of detoxification begins. During this period, which usually lasts from four to seven days, the patient undergoes treatment and supervision by the doctor.

Some medicines to relieve withdrawal symptoms may be used, especially tranquilizers to control the reactions of the organism and to avoid possible health problems, especially in regard to Delirium tremens, as well as pressure arterial blood studies, etc.

Rehabilitation phase

This phase is followed by the rehabilitation phase. This is to provide the necessary tools for the alcoholic not to relapse into drinking. It is done under medical supervision, which can provide certain medications that reduce the need for alcohol, and also by means of psychological support.

Much emphasis is placed on documenting the patient on this type of addiction, so he or she goes to therapy sessions, usually with other former alcoholics describing their experiences and encouraging them to continue rehabilitation, pointing out that this is possible, as they did.

Participation in support groups is necessary to achieve rehabilitation. It is important that alcoholics have a place to go, where they can be guided when temptation to drink again arises. Alcoholics Anonymous is an association that can help a lot on this subject.


Natural medicine and natural therapies can help the alcoholic in their fight against alcohol. Keep in mind that this type of treatment should be applied when the patient has passed the withdrawal symptoms under medical supervision.

The main function of this type of therapy is to decrease the anxiety and stress experienced by the patient when he or she stops drinking.

Among the different disciplines that might be interesting to reduce stress we can include:

  • Massage
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Meditation
  • Phytotherapy
  • Nutrition

Herbal medicine and nutrition and alcoholism

Herbal medicine and nutrition can play an important role. The first will provide those plants which mission is to protect those vital organs which are particularly vulnerable to alcohol, especially the liver, and supply those herbal sedatives or tranquilizers that reduce the anxiety of the patient.

Moreover, proper nutrition provides those vitamins or minerals in which the patient is weak or deficient . A supply of vitamin supplements may also be interesting.

punto rojo More information on alcoholism.

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

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Botanical-online is an informative page that describes, among other topics, the traditional uses of plants from a therapeutic point of view. Their descriptions do not replace professional advice. Botanical-online is not responsible for self-medication and recommends consulting with the physician.