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According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol abuse is defined as a pattern of drinking that result in one or more of the following situations within a 12-month period: - Failure to fulfill major work, school, or home responsibilities - Drinking in situations that are physically dangerous, such as while driving a car or operating machinery - Having recurring alcohol-related legal problems, such as being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or for physically hurting someone while drunk - Continued drinking despite having ongoing relationship problems that are caused or worsened by the drinking When a person abuses alcohol s/he uses it with the sole purpose of becoming intoxicated, uses it in such a way that it leads to a pattern of negative consequences, and/or experiences harm directly related to and caused by his/her consumption of alcohol. Some examples of alcohol-related harms commonly experienced by individuals who misuse alcohol are: passing out, vomiting, getting into a fight, and/or memory lapse.
When an individual becomes physically dependent on a substance s/he experience cravings and a compulsion to use it. If s/he doesn’t use the substance, s/he will experience withdrawal. People who are dependent on alcohol are pre-occupied with the use of the substance, and its use becomes a daily/weekly priority. Students who are alcohol dependent often schedule only late classes, lose the ability to predict how much they are going to drink in a given evening , experience frequent blackouts, sneak drinks in order to hide how much they actually consume from close friends and family, drink before going out, and develop/maintain a high tolerance. In addition, any efforts employed to cut down on drinking are unsuccessful. Although many dependent students feel as though his/her drinking problems will cease with graduation from college, such individuals are often sadly mistaken. Dependency is a serious medical problem that requires time, diligence, and support to overcome.
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