Alcohol abuse is a psychiatric diagnosis describing the habitual use of alcohol and alcoholic beverages despite negative outcomes and consequences. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism differ in definition, as one who suffers from alcoholism may no longer take part in alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse may lead to dependence on alcohol, symptoms of withdrawal when not drinking alcohol, as well as negative social outcomes. It is important to note that the quantity, frequency, and regularity of alcohol abuse needed to develop alcoholism varies greatly between people and various social, environmental, and biological factors also play a part.

Both kava and alcohol affect the same receptor in the brain, the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptor. Thus, taking them together can potentiate the effects of both. However, doing so may put extra strain on the liver and it is not recommended. In the Pacific Islands, sometimes kava is taken with beer but rarely is it drank with stronger alcohols and liquors. Seeing as kava and alcohol both affect the GABA receptor in a similar manner, some people who have suffered from alcohol abuse have turned to kava as a way to wean themselves off of alcohol. Kava is a safe way to achieve certain social outcomes of drinking alcohol (camaraderie, togetherness, excitement) without the depressant or addictive elements involved. In the Pacific Islands, kava is drunk ceremonially with a group of people; it is revered for both its cultural history and its ability to bring people together.

One who suffers from alcohol abuse or alcoholism would do themselves well to look into kava and the properties of kavalactones, the main potent element in kava. However, it is extremely advisable to consult your physician before making any changes in diet, before mixing alcohol with any medicine (herbal or prescription), or before self-diagnosing and self-medicating. Alcohol abuse is a serious condition and a doctor will know how to best treat it in a particular individual.Alternatives to Al