Alcoholism is the consumption of or preoccupation with alcoholic beverages to the extent that this behavior interferes with the alcoholic's normal personal, family, social, or work life. The chronic alcohol consumption caused by alcoholism can result in psychological and physiological disorders. Alcoholism is one of the world's most costly drug use problems; with the exception of nicotine addiction, alcoholism is more costly to most countries than all other drug use problems combined.
While alcohol use is required to trigger alcoholism, the biological mechanism of alcoholism is uncertain. For most people, moderate alcohol consumption poses little danger of addiction. Other factors must exist for alcohol use to develop into alcoholism. These factors may include a person's social environment, emotional health and genetic predisposition. In addition, an alcoholic can develop multiple forms of addiction to alcohol simultaneously such as psychological, metabolic, and neurochemical. Each type of addiction must be treated individually for an alcoholic to fully recover.