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Catholic Dictionary




Habitual excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. It is characterized by an abnormal and persistent desire to drink ethyl alcohol to excess; and also describes the condition that results from such drinking. Chronic alcoholism may have begun as a moral weakness or disorder, but in time it produces psychic instability. It causes psychological and structural changes. One of its most serious effects is to lessen the willpower that is needed to stop. In time all higher faculties are impaired and, not infrequently, undoubted insanity results. Overcoming alcoholism is a major social problem in many societies. Treatment is effective only if a person is sufficiently motivated to practice total abstinence.