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or public disorder, or civil penalties for tortious behavior, and may lead to a criminal sentence.An alcoholic's behavior and mental impairment while drunk can profoundly affect those surrounding him and lead to isolation from family and friends.
In a medical context, alcoholism is said to exist when two or more of the following conditions are present: a person drinks large amounts of alcohol over a long time period, has difficulty cutting down, acquiring and drinking alcohol takes up a great deal of time, alcohol is strongly desired, usage results in not fulfilling responsibilities, usage results in social problems, usage results in health problems, usage results in risky situations, withdrawal occurs when stopping, and alcohol tolerance has occurred with use.
The risk of alcohol dependence begins at low levels of drinking and increases directly with both the volume of alcohol consumed and a pattern of drinking larger amounts on an occasion, to the point of intoxication, which is sometimes called "binge drinking".
The acute withdrawal phase can be defined as lasting between one and three weeks.
In the period of 3–6 weeks following cessation increased anxiety, depression, as well as sleep disturbance, is common; fatigue and tension can persist for up to 5 weeks as part of the post-acute withdrawal syndrome; about a quarter of alcoholics experience anxiety and depression for up to 2 years.
A BAC of 0.09% to 0.25% causes lethargy, sedation, balance problems and blurred vision.
A BAC of 0.18% to 0.30% causes profound confusion, impaired speech (e.g.Severe cognitive problems are common; approximately 10 percent of all dementia cases are related to alcohol consumption, making it the second leading cause of dementia.Social skills are significantly impaired in people suffering from alcoholism due to the neurotoxic effects of alcohol on the brain, especially the prefrontal cortex area of the brain.In addition, they can develop considerable amount of shame over their inadequacy to liberate their parents from alcoholism. With repeated heavy consumption of alcohol, these receptors are desensitized and reduced in number, resulting in tolerance and physical dependence.As a result of this failure, they develop wretched self-images, which can lead to depression. When alcohol consumption is stopped too abruptly, the person's nervous system suffers from uncontrolled synapse firing.With all alcoholic beverages, drinking while driving, operating an aircraft or heavy machinery increases the risk of an accident; many countries have penalties for drunk driving.Long-term alcohol abuse can cause a number of physical symptoms, including cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, epilepsy, polyneuropathy, alcoholic dementia, heart disease, nutritional deficiencies, peptic ulcers and sexual dysfunction, and can eventually be fatal.Equal dosages of alcohol consumed by men and women generally result in women having higher blood alcohol concentrations (BACs), since women generally have a higher percentage of body fat and therefore a lower volume of distribution for alcohol than men, and because the stomachs of men tend to metabolize alcohol more quickly.Long-term misuse of alcohol can cause a wide range of mental health problems.This isolation can lead to marital conflict and divorce, or contribute to domestic violence.Alcoholism can also lead to child neglect, with subsequent lasting damage to the emotional development of the alcoholic's children.