A chronic disease in which a person craves drinks that contain alcohol and is unable to control his or her drinking. A person with this disease also needs to drink greater amounts to get the same effect and has withdrawal symptoms after stopping alcohol use. Alcoholism affects physical and mental health, and can cause problems with family, friends, and work. Regular heavy alcohol intake increases the risk of several types of cancer. Also called alcohol dependence.
Source: NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms2006-01-25 Date last modified: 2010-08-27