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Drinks large amounts over a long period, difficulty cutting down, acquiring and drinking alcohol takes up a lot of time, usage results in problems, withdrawal occurs when stopping, alcohol tolerance has occurred In a medical context, alcoholism is said to exist when two or more of the following conditions is present: a person drinks large amounts over a long time period, has difficulty cutting down, acquiring and drinking alcohol takes up a great deal of time, alcohol is strongly desired, usage results in not fulfilling responsibilities, usage results in social problems, usage results in health problems, usage results in risky situations, withdrawal occurs when stopping, and alcohol tolerance has occurred with use.The risk of alcohol dependence begins at low levels of drinking and increases directly with both the volume of alcohol consumed and a pattern of drinking larger amounts on an occasion, to the point of intoxication, which is sometimes called "binge drinking".The acute withdrawal phase can be defined as lasting between one and three weeks.In the period of 3–6 weeks following cessation increased anxiety, depression, as well as sleep disturbance, is common; fatigue and tension can persist for up to 5 weeks as part of the post-acute withdrawal syndrome; about a quarter of alcoholics experience anxiety and depression for up to 2 years.With all alcoholic beverages, drinking while driving, operating an aircraft or heavy machinery increases the risk of an accident; many countries have penalties for drunk driving.Long-term alcohol abuse can cause a number of physical symptoms, including cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, epilepsy, polyneuropathy, alcoholic dementia, heart disease, nutritional deficiencies, peptic ulcers and sexual dysfunction, and can eventually be fatal.The social skills that are impaired by alcohol abuse include impairments in perceiving facial emotions, prosody perception problems and theory of mind deficits; the ability to understand humour is also impaired in alcohol abusers.

An alcoholic's behavior and mental impairment while drunk can profoundly affect those surrounding him and lead to isolation from family and friends.For this reason, children of alcoholic parents can develop a number of emotional problems.For example, they can become afraid of their parents, because of their unstable mood behaviors. " receptor, promoting central nervous system depression.Severe cognitive problems are common; approximately 10 percent of all dementia cases are related to alcohol consumption, making it the second leading cause of dementia.Social skills are significantly impaired in people suffering from alcoholism due to the neurotoxic effects of alcohol on the brain, especially the prefrontal cortex area of the brain.

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