Alcohol dependence; Alcohol abuse; Problem drinking; Drinking problem
Alcoholism (alcohol dependence) and alcohol abuse are two different forms of problem drinking.
There is no known cause of alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Research suggests that certain genes may increase the risk of alcoholism, but which genes and how they work are not known.
How much you drink can influence your chances of becoming dependent. Those at risk for developing alcoholism include:
One drink is defined as a 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a 1 1/2-ounce shot of liquor.
You have an increased risk for alcohol abuse and dependence if you have a parent with alcoholism.
You may also be more likely to abuse alcohol or become dependent if you:
Alcohol abuse is rising. Around 1 out of 6 people in the United States have a drinking problem.
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Schuckit MA. Alcohol-use disorders. Lancet. 2009;373:492-501.
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