Quick History of Alcohol & Alcoholism
Americans have a complicated history with alcohol. At the end of the 19th century, politicians, women’s groups, and churches banded together to convince lawmakers to outlaw alcohol. In 1919, the U.S. Congress passed the 18th Amendment, making the sale and distribution of alcohol illegal. Alcohol consumption declined but did not stop. In 1933, Prohibition ended and since then, millions of Americans have made alcohol a part of their social life. In the 1960s, E. M. Jellinek pioneered the idea that excessive and harmful use of alcohol was a disease. Within a decade, public campaigns were launched in the United States to educate people about alcoholism as an illness.
It’s not always easy to see when your drinking has crossed the line from moderate or social use to problem drinking. But if you consume alcohol to cope with difficulties or to avoid feeling bad, you’re in potentially dangerous territory. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse can sneak up on you, so it’s important to be aware of the warning signs and take steps to cut back if you recognize them. Understanding the problem is the first step to overcoming it. Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence, is a chronic, progressive, and potentially fatal disease.
Characteristics of Alcoholism Include the Following:
- Drinking excessive amounts frequently
- Inability to curb drinking despite medical, psychological, or social complications
- Increased tolerance to alcohol
- Occurrence of withdrawal symptoms when the person stops drinking
Substance abuse experts make a distinction between alcoholism (also called alcohol dependence) and alcohol abuse. Unlike with alcoholism, alcohol abusers have some ability to set limits on their drinking. However, their alcohol use is still self-destructive and dangerous to themselves or others.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse Include:
- Repeatedly neglecting your responsibilities at home, work, or school because of your drinking
- Using alcohol in situations where it’s physically dangerous
- Experiencing repeated legal problems on account of your drinking
- Continuing to drink even though your alcohol use is causing problems in your relationships
- Drinking as a way to relax or de-stress
If you are having issues with alcohol, whether it be alcoholism or alcohol abuse, we can help. At Mountain Village Treatment Centers, our professional staff will work with you to design a path to recovery that will lead you to a new life of freedom!