pat mallari and alyssa de dios of st. scholastica's college, manila asked me some questions on alcoholism. i referred them to DSM-V proposed criteria for Alcohol Abuse Disorder.
DSM-V states that an alcoholic is generally someone who has a strong urge to use alcohol, who takes in large and progressively increasing amounts of alcohol, whose life revolves around the use of alcohol such that it significantly affects different aspects of his daily life, who persists in its usage despite the negative consequences, and who experiences withdrawal symptoms upon stopping its usage.
some alcoholics drive under the influence of alcohol which is a major cause of lethal vehicular accidents. other alcoholics experience "black-outs" wherein they have no memory of what was done during the time they were intoxicated. alcohol is a toxin to the liver so many chronic alcoholics develop hepatitis, cirrhosis, and other liver ailments.
chronic alcoholics need to undergo a gentle detoxification process because if they quit cold turkey, they may experience life-threatening seizures. some alcoholics have a strong support system and are strongly determined to quit alcohol thus, an outpatient detox and rehab program is appropriate for them. but for majority of chronic alcoholics who lack the willpower to quit, they will need to go through an intensive in-patient detox and rehab program which must have a strong individual and family counseling component.