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A person is defined as an alcoholic if their consumption of or desire for alcoholic drinks begins to impact negatively on their health and their wider social sphere. In some cases, the dependence is merely psychological but this can, in turn, lead to a physical addiction to alcohol and “withdrawal symptoms” when the alcohol is not available.

The consumption of alcohol does not necessarily lead to alcoholism and there has been some research that indicates that some have a genetic predisposition to becoming addicted to it. Other risk factors include being exposed to alcohol too early in life.

Alcoholism can lead to health-related issues such as:

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