Alcoholism is a chronic illness marked by dependence on alcohol consumption that interferes with physical or mental health, and social, family or job responsibilities. This addiction can lead to liver, circulatory and neurological problems. Pregnant women who drink alcohol in any amount may harm the fetus.
Update Date 2/9/2013
Updated by: David B. Merrill, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 11/11/2014.