Alcoholism (also known as alcohol use disorder) is a medical condition that is typified by heavy use of alcohol over a long period of time, withdrawal symptoms when stopped, difficulty on cutting down on use, pursuit of and use of alcohol being a substantial part of one’s life.

Sufferers of alcoholism can engage in risky behavior when drinking and their alcohol consumption interferes with personal responsibilities and leads to social and health problems. Researchers believe that there is a 50/50 combination of genetics and environment that contributes to alcoholism with women having a greater sensitivity to alcohol than males. Medically, alcohol use contributes to many physical problems; particularly the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, and immune system. Heavy alcohol use also contributes to mental health problems as well as Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome, an irregular heart beat, liver failure, and an increase in the risk of cancer. Alcohol use during pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome in children. Therapy, support groups (such as Alcoholics Anonymous), and medications are used to treat alcoholism with successful treatment plans being different among varying individuals.