Alcoholism is a chronic condition, the development and presentation of which is influenced by genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors. As a disease process, it is often progressive, and sometimes fatal. Alcoholism is typically characterized by impaired impulse control, preoccupation with alcohol, continued use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and a generalized distortion in thinking. While the condition itself is considered chronic, the symptom profile may present either continuously or periodically." 
Etiology / cause
Alcoholism is "probably a multifactorial, genetically influenced disorder" and twin studies show a "55% or higher concordance rate in monozygotic twins with only a 28% rate for like-sex dizygotic twins."
The 'dry drunk'
One question, "'How many times in the past year have you had X or more drinks in a day?', where X is 5 for men and 4 for women, and a response of >1 is considered positive" has accuracy of:
"Acamprosate appears to be an effective and safe treatment strategy for supporting continuous abstinence after detoxification in alcohol dependent patients" according to the Cochrane Collaboration. In this review, the number needed to treat was about 9 patients.
Baclofen is a selective GABA B-receptor agonist that in a single trial of patients with alcoholic cirrhosis improved abstinence rates (71% versus 29%) over three months.
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