It is estimated that over 18 million adults in the United States suffer from alcohol addiction. Alcoholism is defined as the continued use of alcohol despite the use causing negative effects towards one's health, work performance, family life, or personal safety.
The reasons behind alcoholism are myriad, with psychological (stress, depression, anxiety) and physiological (physical addiction, withdrawal symptoms) reasons often working in concert. The mainstay of treatment for alcoholism is outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation, followed by 12-step support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
There are several different types of medications available that can also reduce cravings (Campral, Revia, Antabuse), as well as medications used to treat withdrawal (Librium, Valium, Ativan, Serax).