Alcohol Problems - Discover Why You Can't Seem To Stop Drinking

Dr. Purushothaman
September 11, 2013

Alcohol use and abuse occurs with a tremendous amount of variability among individuals. Frequently, there is a limited distinction between "social" or "moderate" drinking and "problem" or" harmful" drinking. It is obvious however, that as the frequency of drinking and the amount increases, so does the probability of problem behaviors frequently resulting in medical and psychosocial problems. A very prominent group of individuals affected by alcohol problems to a significant degree, who develop the syndrome of alcohol dependence, are usually referred to by most people as alcoholics. different groups of individuals with alcohol problems usually require different approaches to diagnosis and clinical management.

There are numerous signs of alcohol abuse or addiction. They include having problems are work or school, drinking in situations where you will be driving, having blackouts, legal problems, and getting hurt or hurting others while drinking. Also, you might crave alcohol and get withdrawal symptoms from not drinking. These could include sweating, nausea, or anxiety. Also, oftentimes, a person dependent on alcohol must drink more and more in order to feel the same way when drinking. Alcohol addicts rarely believe they have a problem as well, even if others express concern about their drinking.

Alcoholism has attracted much attention as an inherited disease, inherent in family genes. Research shows that there is, indeed, a risk of developing alcoholism in some families and not others. Research studies are underway to determine the actual genes that lead to the risk of alcoholism. However, lifestyle is also a key factor, since the activities of friends, the amount of stress in someone's life, and the availability of alcohol can also play a significant role in determining one's risk for alcoholism. Experts say that even though alcoholism may run in specific families, it doesn't mean that the child of an alcoholic parent will automatically become an alcoholic. The opposite is true, as well - there are people who become alcoholics even though no one in their family has or had a drinking problem.

Alcohol induced psychotic disorder is characterized by prominent hallucinations or delusions that are judged to be due specifically to the effects of alcohol. The psychotic symptoms usually occur within a month of alcohol intoxication or withdrawal, with the individual being fully alert and oriented, and usually lacking insight that these symptoms are alcohol induced. Although the psychotic symptoms may occur during or shortly after alcohol intoxication, delirium or alcohol withdrawal delirium, alcohol induced hallucinations, and/or delusions do not occur exclusively during the course of these conditions.Usually, alcohol induced psychotic symptoms have a tendency to subside within several weeks of abstinence, although in a small group of individuals, psychotic symptoms can sometimes become chronic, resulting in the need for long-term treatment with antipsychotic medication. In these circumstances, clinicians should also consider schizophrenia or delusional disorders in deciding on the relevant diagnosis for this individual.

The first-ever study of its kind has found that kids as young as 12 can show a genetic-driven trend toward alcoholism. While looking to confirm that genes influence the body's response to alcohol -- how many drinks are needed to get drunk -- scientists found that the 12-year-olds who needed to consume the most drinks to get that desired "buzz" were most likely to already be on the road to problem drinking. The effects of alcohol abuse on adolescents is very different from the way problem drinking effects adult alcoholics. As you may expect, adolescents have a relatively short history of problem drinking. Because of their comparatively short history of heavy drinking, one of the major differences related to the effects of alcohol abuse on adolescents is that it is very rare to have physiological dependence on alcohol or alcohol-related medical complications. The abuse of alcohol and drugs however contributes in important ways to morbidity and mortality in adolescents, with the leading causes being motor vehicle accidents, homicide, and suicide. It is usually believed that when dealing with adolescents, given their economic and emotional dependence, whenever it is possible, it is important to have a thorough evaluation of the family in order to understand the adolescent's use of drugs as well as to understand the negative effects of alcohol abuse on them and their families.

Many substances can bring on withdrawal-an effect caused by cessation or reduction in the amount of the substance used. Withdrawal can range from mild anxiety to seizures and hallucinations. Withdrawal from alcohol can cause anxiety, irregular heartbeat, tremor, seizures, and hallucinations. In its severest form, withdrawal combined with malnutrition can lead to a life-threatening condition called delirium tremens (DTs). Alcohol is the most common cause of liver failure in the US. The drug can cause heart enlargement and cancer of the esophagus, pancreas, and stomach. In addition to its direct health effects, officials associate alcohol abuse with nearly half of all fatal motor vehicle accidents. In 1992, the total economic cost of alcohol abuse was estimated at $150 billion.

The management of alcohol withdrawal through detoxification is an incredibly important initial intervention for a significant number of alcohol dependent people. The objective of alcohol withdrawal is maintaining some comfort as the alcoholic goes through the early stages of treatment, the prevention of treatment complications, and preparing the individual for alcohol rehabilitation. The successful management of alcohol withdrawal is an important aspect of preparing an individual for subsequent efforts at alcohol rehabilitation. Social detoxification which involves the non pharmacological treatment of alcohol withdrawal has also been shown to be effective. This involves frequent reassurance, reality orientation, personal attention, monitoring of vital signs and general nursing care. Social detoxification is most appropriate for individuals with mild to moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Many individuals have significant medical problems associated with alcoholism which substantially complicate therapy, so it is absolutely essential that therapists refer those individuals whose conditions require medical management.

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