Alcoholism (or alcohol dependence) is one of the main reasons for mental health, and is characterized by excessive drinking for a long time, which means dependency on it.
It is considered a serious health damage, which increases the risk of death from liver disease, cancer, depression, accidents, etc.
However, many alcoholics do not recognize their problem and therefore never seek help to solve it, while in other cases the true reason for requesting assistance (alcohol abuse) is masked by the effects of alcoholism on the physical state and psychological patient, at that point of addiction and evident. Alcoholism treatment requires a multidisciplinary intervention of various professionals that meet the physical and mental aspects of dependence and the various associated pathologies.
Consequences of Alcoholism
We can classify the consequences of alcoholism for its effects:
Physical: cancer, liver disease, headaches, diabetes , gastritis , cardiovascular problems , insomnia ,pancreatitis , stroke (i.e., stroke or cerebral hemorrhage), nutritional deficiencies, brain degeneration, erectile dysfunction ...
Psychological: depression , anxiety , anger, jealousy (inability to control jealousy ), epilepsy , psychosis,Korsakoff syndrome , alcoholic dementia ...
Social: family breakdown, labour problems, economic problems, accidents, abuse ...
Risk Factors For Alcoholism
There are a number of risk factors that influence a person to develop an
addiction to alcohol . The most important are:
The Heritage- Studies indicate that people who have lived with an alcoholic family are more likely to develop this addiction themselves. Although so far this information was based on the theories of learning / education recent studies seem to point more to the genetic hypothesis, which holds that the presence of certain genes increase the willingness of an individual to develop addictive behaviours like alcoholism.
Psychological Factors- Negative emotions such as anxiety , sadness, loneliness, low self-esteem or anger are often found in the origin and maintenance of this disease, since the patient uses alcohol to escape them. Alcohol gives the patient a pleasant feeling you should get to your liking doing activities like reading a book or watching a movie, enjoying the company of family and friends, practice your favorite hobby.
At the other extreme are those who use alcohol frequently to accompany the positive emotions (like celebrations, meetings with friends, partying, etc.). Social tolerance for heavy drinking in these situations reinforces these inappropriate behaviors and, ultimately, the "occasional drinker" is at significant risk of becoming an alcoholic.
Social Relationships And Alcohol-
Bad relationships with your partner or family, economic problems, peer pressure to drink, etc., can also act as precipitating or maintainers of alcohol dependence. In this sense, some people also start their consumption pattern to overcome the problems they have to relate to others, such as shyness or lack of social skills (eg drink to loosen up or to feel more sympathetic to know when a person or integrated into a new group), as well as to deal with someone you do not know how to express something is bothering them.
Symptoms And Diagnosis Of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a physical dependence or addiction to a substance, in this case the alcohol, and to determine that a person is an alcoholic should have any of the following symptoms continuously for a while:
- Intense desire to drink alcohol.
- Lack of control over drinking, referred both to the need to start drinking, and the inability to stop or reduce this consumption.
- Drink when alone, and tries to conceal his conduct to the people around them.
- Withdrawal symptoms when not consumed, characterized by intense physical discomfort to the patient attempts to alleviate drinking.
- Tolerance. This implies that the individual needs to consume more alcohol to achieve the same effects.
- Lapses or gaps in memory.
- Interference in daily life: for example, a shift away from other sources of pleasure is, the personal aspect is neglected, it reduces labour or academic performance, or time used to get alcohol or recover from its effects.
- Alcohol consumption persists regardless of its physical consequences (such as liver damage or malnutrition), psychological (depression, anxiety), cognitive impairment, or impact that has on the workplace, the family and social relationships, etc.
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Diagnosis of Alcoholism
The first manifestations of alcoholism are physical responses that occur during withdrawal (tremors, sweating, headache, nausea, anxiety, or increased heart rate and blood pressure). These symptoms are accompanied by a strong desire to consume more alcohol. However, it is not often that an alcoholic recognize at first to have a problem with alcohol. This fact greatly complicates the medical diagnosis, while the alcoholic continues to drink and developing greater tolerance to alcohol.
The psychological evaluation will be crucial, along with medical diagnosis of the above symptoms, to assess the extent and pattern of alcohol the patient (use, abuse, dependence). The doctor will ask the patient or family if the affected unwilling or unable to respond to questions about their habits relating to alcohol consumption. A physical examination, and tests to detect physical problems or diseases that may have developed as a result of alcohol abuse is also performed.
Alcohol and Hepatitis- The drinking continued destabilizing liver function, since the liver is subjected to an extra effort to eliminate this substance, and its cells are altered or destroyed, causing inflammation, and even fibrosis which may lead to cirrhosis .
Some people have enough tolerance to alcohol, which may be consuming an amount of this substance that is harmful to the body without being drunk. This tolerance gives them a false sense of security and incapacitates them to perceive the physical discomfort associated with excessive intake of alcohol, which actually act as alarm signals sent by the body to a potential danger.
Alcohol and hepatitis are a dangerous combination. and that abuse of these drinks can cause an alcoholic hepatitis , which usually occurs after a season in which the person concerned has ingested an amount higher than usual alcohol.The most frequent symptoms in these cases are: fatigue, listlessness, lack of appetite, jaundice, weight loss, fever, and pain in the upper right abdomen. If it is a hepatitis severe alcoholic the patient may also ascites (fluid in the abdominal cavity), signs of malnutrition and hepatic encephalopathy (altered brain function that occurs when the liver can not remove toxins properly and they accumulate in the blood).
When liver disease has been caused by alcohol initial and most effective measure is the abolition of consumption immediately. A balanced diet is also very important for the patient's recovery, which may require nutritional supplements in certain cases. In the event that the patient will need to retain fluids delete salt diet and taking diuretics, always on medical advice.
In people with chronic hepatitis C liver damage is aggravated and accelerated in the case of alcohol, it will increase the risk of developing cirrhosis, an irreversible process that can stop or slow down if alcohol is removed, but once it established that prevents the liver returns to normal, and can lead to serious conditions such as severe liver failure or cancer. Therefore, it is imperative that patients with hepatitis C completely eliminate alcohol from your diet.
Because alcoholism is a multi-casual disease, treatment should follow a multidisciplinary approach in which the work of several specialized in alcohol addiction professionals to integrate. Current treatments do not affect dependence, but consumption and the decision to consume. There are several treatment steps and the first lies in the recognition of addiction by the patient. When you stop drinking manifests the withdrawal , which should be treated accordingly and, depending on the degree of dependence, may require hospitalization of the patient. This phase is known as detoxification .
In the final stage of treatment,detoxification , the goal is for the patient to remain abstinent for the rest of his life. All the therapeutic process is based on psychotherapeutic, psychopharmacologic and psychosocial interventions, including: individual therapy and / or group, relapse prevention program, drug therapy, family therapy or couples, coordination with self-help groups, tracking from primary care, specific dependency (UDA) specialist care, social services, and units of general internment.
Behavioural treatments are based on the alcohol dependence is a learned behaviour, a direct result of a number of factors that led to the initiation of alcohol consumption, which in many cases are also associated with the permanence of habit. Therefore, your goal is change this behaviour by acting on the individual, with the help of family and friends. The influence of social support networks the patient will have a crucial role in the rehabilitation of alcoholism.
Prevention of Alcoholism
The alcohol prevention should begin in adolescence or even earlier. The recommendation is not to drink any alcohol before adulthood. To promote alcohol abstinence is fundamental attitude of the child's family; Well, there are parents who do not want their children to consume alcohol drink but often in the presence of their children, or make comments about "how youth drinking." This pro-alcoholic behaviour can make the young believe that alcohol is normal and desirable in some cases (such as when you are with friends).
Secondly, it must inform the teenager about the real consequences of alcohol. Fortunately more and more young people who know the effects of alcohol and the serious consequences it can have on their health and quality of life, but if it is not accompanied by effective measures of prevention, information is not enough. Thus, a third pillar to avoid addiction, will give the teenager the strategies needed to eliminate the risk factors that can lead to alcohol as improve self-esteem and social skills.
In this sense, it is also essential to help the youth withstand peer pressure and show alternative forms of entertainment. In this line, the FAD (Prevention of Drug Addiction) has developed a program of prevention of alcoholism from the family. Its objectives are to develop an adequate view of the use and abuse of alcohol, and provide intervention strategies to help parents prevent alcohol in the family.
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