Consumed in large quantities, alcohol is a poison which destroys brain cells, and can adversely affect every organ in the body. Social drinking can turn into physical dependence on alcohol and alcoholism so gradually that family and friends may have difficulty in persuading the alcoholic that he or she has a problem.

Once the addiction develops, alcoholism can make the body so dependent on alcohol that it is unable to function without it. Symptoms of alcoholism include depression, memory blackouts and hallucinations.

The diagnosis in Chinese Medicine is that excessive alcohol consumption causes too much heat in the body, damaging the liver and stomach. For alcoholism, a Chinese Medicine practitioner will use herbs to take the heat out of the liver and the blood. In mild cases, strong green tea is used as a cooling agent.

A Chinese Medicine practitioner will treat chronic alcoholism with kudzu vine or watermelon to detoxify the blood. Treatment to alleviate the physical damage will help, but alcoholism usually has a psychological cause and the patient would be advised to seek counseling and to join a self-help group.
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