Alcoholism, also known as alcohol addiction or alcohol dependence, describes the repeated use of and dependence upon alcoholic substances. It is a progressive illness, where sufferers are unable to control their compulsion to drink in excess. They will be preoccupied with alcohol and will continue drinking even when it starts to cause problems.
Alcoholism is thought to be caused by a cognitive and physiological dependence. It can lead to extensive tissue damage and disease across the body. Common side effects of alcohol abuse include mental health and social problems, liver disease and risk of accident/crime.
Alcoholism is a form of alcohol abuse. This refers to a pattern of drinking that is considered to have an increased or high risk - meaning it is very likely to cause harm to your health. Current guidelines say that men and women should not exceed more than 14 units of alcohol a week on a regular basis.