Despite the legality of alcohol for people 21 and over, there can severe consequences associated with drinking it and becoming addicted to it. Alcoholism is defined as a disease that involves craving, loss of control, physical dependence and tolerance.
Alcoholism can include alcohol dependence, and is considered a mental disorder. Genetics, social pressure, brain chemistry, emotional stress, and other mental health issues can contribute to alcoholism.
People who abuse alcohol are not necessarily addicted to it or dependent on it, but this abuse could lead to dependence.
Some symptoms of alcoholism are drinking despite a negative impact on daily life, including relationships and work, drinking alone, increased violence while drinking, making excuses to drink, neglecting to eat or having a poor diet, lacking hygiene, missing work and school, and concealing alcohol use. Other symptoms include memory problems, withdrawal and liver disease. Abstinence or reduction in consumption is necessary for recovery.