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 4/8/2018
Updated by: Ryan James Kimmel, MD, Medical Director of Hospital Psychiatry at the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.