Alcoholism (also alcohol dependence, ethylism, dipsomania, potomania, drunkenness, alcohol addiction, alcoholism or alcohol use disorder) is the dependence on the psychotropic substance ethanol. The mental and/or physical dependence on alcohol is mostly a social and human problem of the individual, but experience shows that it also has a negative effect on his or her environment such as family and profession. Throughout history, there have been and still are alcohol bans in various forms in individual countries or even in entire cultural areas, such as Islam, to prevent alcohol abuse or in principle the consumption of alcohol for various reasons through strict prohibitions. A significant example of the dubious success of alcohol prohibition is Prohibition in the USA from 1920 to 1933.
The boundary is fluid - there is no measurable no/yes point. According to Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Feuerlein (head of the Psychiatric Polyclinic, Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich and author of recognised standard works) there are five definition criteria from a clinical point of view. These are 1. abnormal drinking behaviour, 2. somatic alcohol-related damage, 3. psychosocial alcohol-related damage, 4. development of tolerance and withdrawal syndrome (physical alcohol dependence) and finally 5. development of "withdrawal syndromes on the subjective level" with, in extreme cases, total loss of control, as well as the centring of thinking and striving for alcohol (psychological alcohol dependence).
If only the first four criteria are fulfilled, one speaks of alcohol abuse (alcohol abuse), with the fifth criterion of alcohol dependence. According to estimates by the German Centre against the Dangers of Addiction, about eight million Germans (10%) are considered to be at risk of alcohol abuse, of which 2.5 million are alcoholics. 20% of accidents at work and 20% of traffic fatalities are due to alcohol influence. These data can be proportionally converted to the population of Austria (almost 9 million).
A typological classification comes from Professor E. M. Jellinek. The US psychiatrist is considered the "Pope" of alcoholism research; his main work "The disease concept of alcoholism" from 1940 led to the general recognition of alcoholism as a disease, the typology of alcoholism was published in 1960. Jellinkek assumes four or five types, which he describes as follows:
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