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Alcohol - Getting the Facts

Answers to Common Questions About Alcoholism


Updated June 18, 2014

Alcoholism questions answered
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For many people, the facts about alcoholism are not clear. What is alcoholism, exactly? How does it differ from alcohol abuse? When should a person seek help for a problem related to his or her drinking?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has prepared the following information to help individuals and families answer these and other common questions about alcohol problems.

The information below will explain alcoholism and alcohol abuse, symptoms of each, when and where to seek help, treatment choices, and additional helpful resources.

A Widespread Problem
Millions of Americans have drinking problems, ranging from occasional abuse to alcohol dependence.

What Is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism has little to do with what kind of alcohol one drinks, how long one has been drinking, or even exactly how much alcohol one consumes.

What Is Alcohol Abuse?
Alcohol abuse differs from alcoholism, but it is still harmful consumption of alcohol.

What Are the Signs of a Problem?
The effects of alcohol abuse can be extremely serious -- even fatal -- both to you and to others.

The Decision To Get Help
The sooner you seek help, the better your chances of recovery.

Getting Well
While alcoholism is a treatable disease, a cure is not yet available.

New Directions
The goal of this alcoholism research is to develop more effective ways of treating and preventing alcohol problems.

Organizations you can contact formore information on alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

Printed copies of this brochure are no longer available from the NIAAA web site.

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Alcoholism
  4. Do You Have A Problem?
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. Identifying Alcohol Abuse and Seeking Help

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