Alcoholic beverages present a perfect example of the ancient virtue of moderation. While small amounts of alcohol (the equivalent of one to two drinks daily) may actually enhance health,44 excessive consumption of alcohol wreaks gradual havoc throughout the entire body. The liver is often the first organ to show injury, followed by (in no set order) the brain, circulatory system, pancreas, stomach, and throat.

Conventional treatment of alcoholism involves nutritional support and various means to induce and maintain abstinence. Alcoholics Anonymous is the most effective known abstinence-promoting method, but other programs and techniques are also in use. The drugs acamprosate (Campral) and naltrexone (ReVia) have shown considerable promise. It is not clear whether disulfiram (Antabuse) actually offers any benefit.