What is alcoholism?
Alcoholism is a chronic disease characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking.
Over time, the body adapts to the intake of alcohol, requiring greater amounts to achieve and maintain a feeling of euphoria or well-being.
As the body’s dependence on alcohol increase, alcoholism becomes a chronic disorder affecting not only the alcoholic, but also others in his or life.

What are the causes and risk factors?
Alcoholism develops over time, and usually begins as social drinking or as a means to relieve stress and avoid depression. For some, the progression from social drinker to problem drinker to alcoholic can take years. Genetics play a part as well. An individual whose family history includes alcoholism is likely at an increased risk for developing this disease.

What are the symptoms?
When ethyl alcohol -- the intoxicating component of all alcoholic drinks -- is absorbed into the bloodstream, it inhibits proper functioning of the nervous system. Over time, other organs such as the liver, pancreas, and heart can also be damaged by chronic drinking.
Initial signs of alcoholic intoxication include: Bloodshot eyes, facial swelling, irritability, impaired decision making, confusion, dizziness, slurred speech.
More troubling symptoms of alcohol abuse and/or chronic alcoholism might include: Sleeplessness, vomiting, weight gain, loss of libido, hallucinations, seizures, memory loss, reduced self esteem, and withdrawal from others,
The long-term use of alcohol causes cirrhosis, an irreversible scarring of the liver, which restricts normal liver functioning. Many alcoholics die prematurely as a result of liver damage.

What are the treatments?
Alcoholism is an addiction. Effective treatment requires determination, perseverance, and a strong personal support system. Complete abstinence, a healthy diet , exercise, and meditation work wonders for the treatment of alcoholism, but there are some remedies found in nature that have been proven helpful, too.
BITTER MELON (BITTER GOURD), available in most Asian and Indian groceries, can help the recovering alcoholic by boosting liver function. Finely grate bitter melon to extract three teaspoons of juice. Mix the juice with one glass of buttermilk, and drink each morning for roughly a month.
CELERY functions as an antidote to alcohol, too. Extract half a glass of juice from raw celery, dilute the juice with half a glass of water, then drink daily for a month to feel maximum effects.
APPLE a day keeps hangovers away! Believe it or not, apples have a positive effect in diminishing the effects of intoxication as well as in fighting cravings.

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