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.
Review Date 1/31/2016
Updated by: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.