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alcohol addiction

synonym

Alcoholism, alcoholism, alcohol dependence, alcoholism, ethylism, dipsomania, potomania

introduction

Alcohol addiction is considered a widespread phenomenon within Germany and the Western world.
Meanwhile, the morbid consumption of alcoholic beverages is even recognized as an independent disease and a therapy for this reason completely taken over by the health insurance companies. The effects of alcohol addiction on the human organism are among the most frequent causes of death besides those of tobacco and cardiovascular diseases.

Alcoholism itself is defined in medicine as: uncontrolled, excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, resulting in physical and mental dependence.

symptoms

In general, most symptoms of alcohol addiction can vary from sufferer to sufferer in their nature and intensity. However, there are some signs of the presence of alcohol addiction that can be detected quite quickly.
On the one hand, people who suffer from alcohol addiction drink large quantities of alcoholic beverages or brandy-containing foods every day. Alcohol is no longer regarded as a stimulant for these people, and social enjoyment keeps fading into the background. Patients suffering from alcohol addiction often consume on their own, in the quiet little room or in front of the TV. Alcohol no longer serves as a pure stimulant, the distortion occurs because the person's organism calls for the addictive substance ethanol, an ingredient in alcoholic beverages.
Furthermore, the life of the alcoholic is increasingly limited. The affected person increasingly coordinates his daily routine almost exclusively on the procurement and consumption of the addictive substance. In addition, in people suffering from alcohol addiction, a progressive loss of control over their own drinking habits and especially the amount of alcohol incorporated daily is observed.
The alcoholic is usually not even aware of how much alcohol he distorts and how the daily intoxication affects him and his environment.
A classic symptom of alcohol addiction is trivializing or denying one's drinking habits. As a result, those affected lose themselves in a compulsive consumption, which also has the consequence that social obligations are increasingly neglected. The interest in other people and past hobbies is increasingly lost.

Members of alcoholics also report an increased, sometimes uncontrollable aggressiveness, which occurs in the course of alcohol consumption. The once controlled, happy person is increasingly being changed and foreign, so some relatives.

Since alcohol addiction is a classic addiction disorder, the patients affected may experience typical withdrawal symptoms after reducing or stopping alcohol consumption.
In the course of these withdrawal symptoms, those affected usually complain about the increased secretion of cold sweat. In addition, the following symptoms are among the classic withdrawal symptoms:

  • palpitations
  • Trembling and
  • the onset of nausea and vomiting

risks

Even the frequent consumption of alcohol without an alcohol addiction can exert a negative influence on the human body.

Since there are significant amounts of alcohol in patients who suffer from a manifested alcohol addiction, these negative influences are particularly pronounced. Typical risks associated with alcohol addiction range from withdrawal syndromes and significant changes in nature to the lasting damage to various organs and organ systems.

Many members of alcoholic patients describe the so-called alcoholic changes in nature as extremely stressful for the person concerned and its immediate environment. The change in nature is triggered by a poisoning syndrome, which is provoked by the long-term excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages.
In most cases, the alcoholic change in nature brings abnormalities like one

  • significant reduction in performance
  • Impairments in memory performance and
  • strong concentration deficits.

Furthermore, many sufferers say that their own motivation and attention is limited by the toxic influence of ethanol. As a result of alcohol addiction, in almost all cases typical comorbidities occur, which in turn can lead to the alcoholic increasing the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Before all depressions can be diagnosed in the main number of long-term alcoholics.
The person suffering from alcohol addiction is from a psychological point of view in a vicious circle, which can hardly be broken by their own strength. The negative effects of daily, uncontrolled alcohol consumption do not just affect the body and psyche of the person concerned. The social environment, especially the family, increasingly suffers from drinking behavior. Alcohol addiction does not only affect the welfare of the dependent person, because this illness usually has to be borne by the life partner, the children and other relatives. On average, it can be assumed that in about 35 percent of cases, sooner or later, in families with alcohol, disputes or even domestic violence will increase. This phenomenon is related to the fact that a person suffering from alcohol addiction is permanently influenced by strong external stimuli and in the course of which an increase in aggressiveness with loss of control can occur.

At the organic level, long-term consumption of large amounts of alcohol can lead to liver damage. The performance of the kidneys, the pancreas and the gastrointestinal tract can also be adversely affected by the ethanol contained in the alcohol. In addition, people who suffer from alcohol addiction show a reduced circulation of the brain, which in the long run leads to damage to the tissue. The occurrence of potency problems is not uncommon in alcoholics.

diagnostics

For the recognition of the presence of an alcohol addiction actually plays the self-assessment of the person concerned a significant role.

In general, however, it is the case that people suffering from alcohol addiction over a long period of time are unable to assess their own drinking behavior as problematic. In most cases, it is not the sufferers themselves, but rather their relatives, who are pushing for therapy to be initiated.
Both on the Internet, as well as in specialized psychology practices, are offered various self-test, which can help to reveal the own drinking behavior as problematic. In medical diagnostics there are four methods to determine an alcohol addiction as such.

In the sense of the supply regulations valid in Germany, the family doctor serves as the first point of contact for affected patients. The family doctor has the opportunity to access special screening procedures that serve the purpose of diagnosing alcohol addiction.
Probably the most commonly used test is the so-called AUDIT test ( Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test ). Using this test, the patient's handling of alcoholic beverages is assessed on the basis of ten specific questions about the drinking behavior.
By contrast, the MALT test ( Munich alcoholism test ) consists of two parts, a third-party assessment section by means of laboratory data, withdrawal symptoms and sequelae, and a self-assessment section.
The third screening procedure, which is often used in primary care practice, is the so-called CAGE interview. This procedure consists of four questions, which should be answered only with " yes " or " no ". Patients with at least two "yes" answers to this test are at risk of having an alcohol addiction. The questions to be answered within this interview are:

  • C = Cut down : "Did you (unsuccessfully) try to limit your alcohol consumption?"

  • A = Annoyed : "Have other people criticized your drinking behavior and annoyed you?"

  • G = Guilty : "Did you feel guilty about your drinking?"

  • E = Eye Opener : "Did you ever drank right after getting up to 'get started' or calm down?"

treatment

In order to ensure the success of the treatment, the therapy of a person suffering from alcoholism should and should take place on several levels at the same time. The appropriate treatments for alcohol addiction can be found in various areas of medicine and psychotherapy.

The long-term participation in a self-help group specially adapted to the needs of people with alcohol addiction is a helpful accompanying measure, especially in the early days. Before the treatment of the mental health problems of the alcoholic can be started, the body should be completely freed from the smoke. For this reason, detoxification or so-called alcohol withdrawal is the first step in successful therapy. Usually, this should be inpatient and monitored by medical supervision. Many affected patients describe the detoxification under direct medical control as much easier and more promising.

Immediately following inpatient alcohol withdrawal, the now-dehydrated alcoholic should be included in appropriate psychotherapeutic treatment. This psychotherapeutic treatment for people suffering from alcohol addiction can be performed both inpatient and outpatient. Especially in the first time after the withdrawal is based on the recurrence rates to assume that a hospitalized therapy is the better option. Psychotherapy primarily serves to strengthen the patient so that he can resist the alcohol.

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