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JAMA Patient Page
May 3, 2006

Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

JAMA. 2006;295(17):2100. doi:10.1001/jama.295.17.2100

Abuse of alcohol is a major cause of preventable deaths associated with violence and motor vehicle crashes. Excessive alcohol intake strains personal relationships and may affect one's ability to hold a job. In addition, excessive alcohol intake may result in serious health problems, including damage to the liver and brain. The May 3, 2006, issue of JAMA includes an article about treatments for alcohol dependence. This Patient Page is based on one previously published in the April 6, 2005, issue of JAMA.

Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that is accompanied by 1 or more of the following problems: (1) failure to fulfill major work, school, or home responsibilities because of drinking; (2) drinking in situations that are physically dangerous, such as while driving a car or operating machinery; (3) recurring alcohol-related legal problems, such as being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or for physically hurting someone while drunk; and (4) having social or relationship problems that are caused by or worsened by the effects of alcohol.