What is Alcoholism

Alcoholism is the most severe form of alcohol abuse and involves the inability to manage drinking habits. It is also commonly referred to as alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use disorder is organized into three categories: mild, moderate and severe. Each category has various symptoms and can cause harmful side effects. If left untreated, any type of alcohol abuse can spiral out of control.

Dr. Shimi Kang, BSc., MD, FRCPC, Psychiatrist, discusses How Do You Assess Alcoholism in Your Life?

Quiz: Do You Understand Alcoholism?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:


There is a single gene that is responsible for alcoholism.

There is no single gene that is responsible for alcoholism. There are hundreds of genes in a person’s DNA that may increase the risk of developing alcoholism. There are also environmental risk factors, psychological and social factors.

Hallucinations are not a symptom of alcohol withdrawal.

Alcohol withdrawal occurs when someone who uses alcohol heavily suddenly stops. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include rapid heartbeat, hand tremors, sweating, insomnia, hallucinations, nausea, anxiety and restlessness. Occasionally someone experiencing alcohol withdrawal may have seizures.

Drinking can exacerbate the symptoms of a mental illness.

Many people with depression or anxiety self-medicate with alcohol. While drinking may make you feel calmer and happier in the moment, it can actually make depression and anxiety worse in the long run. Alcohol is a depressant, and may increase feelings of despair, distress and anxiety.

A healthy diet can play a key role in recovery from alcoholism.

Many people with alcoholism don't get adequate nutrition and skip meals. During recovery, eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains will help repair the body. Eating foods that are high in complex carbohydrates will help balance the levels of serotonin (sometimes called the happy hormone) in the brain. Incorporating B-complex vitamins such as folic acid, B12 and thiamine into the diet will replenish vitamins that have been lost.

There is no link between exercise and alcohol recovery.

Studies have shown that various types of exercise can increase dopamine levels in the brain, improve sleep and relieve stress and anxiety. And of course, exercise is great for your physical health, too.
(Answer all questions to activate)

Dr. Shimi Kang, BSc., MD, FRCPC, Psychiatrist, discusses treatment options when seeking help for alcohol addiction.

What is Alcohol Intolerance

If you have problems digesting alcohol, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll never be able to enjoy a glass of wine again, but it does mean that you will have to limit your intake.

So some people are not necessarily allergic or have difficulty in processing the alcohol itself, but they might instead have issues with certain ingredients in different alcohols, meaning that some types of alcohol would be okay, while others may not be okay.

For example, if you are somebody with celiac disease, and you have issues digesting gluten, which is found in wheat products, you may not be able to tolerate wheat-based beers, but you might be okay with sweet wines. Whereas if you are somebody who has a sensitivity to fructose, which is a type of sugar, you won’t be okay with sweet wines, but you might be okay with wheat beers.

If you are having problems digesting alcohol, and you’re not really sure which types of alcohol your body can tolerate, or what quantities your body can process, you should probably go and visit your local registered dietitian for more information.
Video Title : What is Alcohol Intolerance Featured Speaker Smart Food Now 

Presenter: Ms. Ashley Charlebois, Registered Dietitian, Vancouver, BC

Why Seeking Help for Alcohol Addiction is Very Important

Why Seeking Help for Alcohol Addiction is Very Important So when patients come to see a psychiatrist for the problem of alcoholism, the first thing we do is take a history and find out is it really a problem in their life.

Are they meeting the criteria of addiction: the consequences, the out of control, the cravings? Is it impacting their day-to-day function? If it is then we want to know what state of change they’re in.

Pre-contemplation is that term denial when they’re not really ready to make a change. Contemplation is they know something’s not right but they’re not ready to quit altogether or sign up for AA or go see a drug and alcohol counselor. Action is when they make a decision that they want to make a change.

What we do in our offices is really assess that and try to move people into action if that’s where they want to be, but really our goal is to promote health and healthy living and not to make a moral judgment on what to do in terms of substance use.

If you think you might have a problem with alcoholism, definitely start by talking to your family and friends. Get support. Talk to your family doctor and they’ll do an assessment to see if you need to see a specialist like an addiction specialist or a psychiatrist. There’s lots of resources out there so get help and it can be treated. Featured Speaker Smart Food Now

Presenter: Dr. Shimi Kang, Psychiatrist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Psychiatrist

Ashley Charlebois, RD, discusses What is Alcohol Intolerance

Crystal Higgins, Registered Dietitian, talks about how alcohol can affect your weight loss journey.

Heart Beat Now

Heart Beat Now

QA Chat
Ask us a health question on
diagnosis/treatment options...