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FAQs on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

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The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) routinely receives a variety of questions about alcohol. We would like to share the following frequently asked questions and their answers.

It is important to understand that these answers are not meant to provide specific medical advice, but to provide information to better understand the health consequences of alcohol abuse and dependence (alcoholism). Please consult your physician or other health care provider if you or a loved one has an alcohol problem.

  1. What is alcoholism?
  2. Is alcoholism a disease?
  3. Is alcoholism inherited?
  4. Can alcoholism be cured?
  5. Can alcoholism be treated?
  6. Which medications treat alcoholism?
  7. Does alcoholism treatment work?
  8. Do you have be an alcoholic to experience problems?
  9. Are specific groups of people more likely to have problems?
  10. How can you tell if someone has a problem?
  11. Can a problem drinker simply cut down?
  12. If an alcoholic is unwilling to get help, what can you do about it?
  13. What is a safe level of drinking?
  14. Is it safe to drink during pregnancy?
  15. Does alcohol affect older people differently?
  16. Does alcohol affect women differently?
  17. Is alcohol good for your heart?
  18. When taking medications, must you stop drinking?
  19. How can a person get help for an alcohol problem?

Last reviewed: 7/12/2007

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