This means, you need more alcohol for the same effect. This worsens the addiction. The liver then becomes over-active, cells die and the tissue hardens. The result is cirrhosis of the liver. This incurable condition was the reason for football hero George Best's recent liver transplant.
Other risks of long-term drinking include heart disease, stroke, dementia and brain damage, myopathy - a weakening of the muscles - and shrivelled sex organs. Cancers related to alcohol include those of the liver, colon, rectum and breast cancer in women.
Treatment centres including the worldwide organisation Alcoholics Anonymous have helped thousands of alcoholics who want to give up drinking. Other forms of help are slowly becoming available. Disulfiram, trade name 'antabuse', is a tablet, which causes an extremely unpleasant reaction including copious vomiting when you consume alcohol. However, it's a severe form of treatment and needs a lot of extra support if it is to work.