Alcohol abuse. How to help an alcoholic? Can alcoholism be cured?
What is Alcohol Abuse? Alcohol dependence
Most adult people all over the world regularly consume alcohol, and it is apparently not a serious problem. Alcohol helps to relax, get rid of the stress and physical fatigue, alcohol increases the mood and makes any party interesting. But there is a reverse side of the alcohol consumption. According to the official statistics, about 18 million citizens of the USA abuse alcohol and take it in great amount on a regular basis.
An alcohol abuse means that a person does him/herself an injustice. It is not a secret that frequent use of high doses of alcohol affect the health of a drinker, his/her physical and mental development, and the interacting.
The alcohol abuse is a serious social problem for not only the USA, but also for all countries. According to the press-release of WHO, more than 3 million people died of the alcohol abuse in the world in the year of 2018. At the same time, according to the world statistics, about 28% of the death rate is related to the traumas and affections that people have got during the road traffic incidents, violence, and others.
About 19% of the general death rate are people with the cardiovascular diseases, the aggravation of which happens due to the alcohol abuse. This is arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus, arrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, and others. The rest causes include infectious diseases, gastrointestinal tract diseases, malignant tumors of liver, and others.
Nowadays, more than 2,5 billion people regularly consume alcohol. About 36% abuse beverage drinks and are at a risk group. WHO takes already measures to decrease the alcohol abuse. If this abuse is not stopped, it causes a chronic alcoholism that is hardly treatable. It is possible to temporarily stop the craving for alcohol but most cases of the severe chronic alcoholism are untreatable.
Symptoms of Alcoholism. Physical effects of alcohol
The alcoholism constitutes a menace because the symptoms do not appear at once, they appear when a person has a stable alcohol addiction. The alcohol is characterized by the lost control over the alcohol consumption, and a development of the tolerance to alcohol. A person has to increase the alcohol dose every time in order to get emotional satisfaction. This way, the toxic action of alcohol on the body grows, and acute intoxication is possible.
But the first manifestations are not related to the physical signs. As alcoholism is considered a mental disorder, the first symptoms are related to the human behavior and an emotional state:
- Nonfulfillment of the main duties at work, or in family;
- Abuse during stress, or any vital difficulties;
- Bad relations with relatives and friends, rudeness, no loyalty to other people;
- Emotional instability;
- Prolonged depressive episodes.
A human becomes less stable emotionally, and wants to drink during any negative situations. To start anything, work, or fall asleep, this person has to take some alcohol.
The next stage is manifested by the heavy drinking period (the uncontrolled alcohol consumption within two or more days). A tolerance to alcohol is obvious at this stage. The drinker has to take more in order to achieve the required level of the drunkenness. The increase of the emotional and psychological disorders, temporal loss of memory and the development of the first physiological signs are increased.
The organic symptoms of the alcoholism appear at the stage of the prolonged intoxication. The work of the liver is affected at first: it is increased in size, a constant pain is observed, and the blood test results are bad.
The symptoms in the central nervous system may include:
- Motion coordination disorder;
- Bad vision;
- Numbness of limbs;
- Movement abnormalities;
- Buzzing in ears, and others.
The manifestations grow and lead to the development of the chronic pathologies that may lead to a death during the continuous alcohol abuse.
Alcohol abuse causes. What makes a person an alcoholic?
Nowadays, the medical science has not detected the causes of the alcohol abuse yet. Every clinical case is individual, and it is difficult to tell about certain facts. We cannot say that all people with the alcohol addiction abuse alcohol because of the fails in life, problems at work, or social status.
There are several main causes that are confirmed today and play an important key role in the psychotherapy of patients with alcoholism. The alcohol abuse is associated with economic, social and biological human status.
The economic and social factors of the alcoholism development are closely related. The matter is that the lower the well-being is, the higher the risk of the alcohol addiction is.
Problems at work, lack of money, constant stress, and dissatisfaction of personal life lead to the depression which may be soothed by alcohol.
However, scientists drew out a regularity in the 19 century that the increased level of the well-being also lead to the alcohol abuse. Moreover, an amount of alcohol was increased, so that the consequences and complications developed slowly.
The availability of alcohol also conduces to the development of alcoholism. Alcohol sales suit every pocket in any city in the world. Cheap alcohol contains a lot of foreign substances, so that it becomes more dangerous and causes an addiction faster.
Another social cause of the alcohol addiction is a human distinction from the social groups. For example, in the USA, the alcoholism is more met among heterosexual people due to the more difficult adaptation and their discrimination in the society.
Teenagers who want to be in the high light and a recognition among their peers also start abusing alcohol. It seems cool for them but they do not even notice how quickly the addiction develops that may turn into the narcotic one.
Remember about the biological status of a human. It has been proved that alcoholism runs in the blood. As alcohol influences on all functions and organs of a human, a severe intoxication is able to break the functioning of the cells on the genic level. The gene mutation is transmitted to the new generation, so that people have the episodes of the alcoholism during a good social and economical status.
There are also psychological causes of the developments of the alcoholism. The depressive character of a person, charisma, low self-esteem, dissatisfaction with own actions and behavior conduce to the alcoholism. Alcohol causes euphoria, sleepiness, and a development of new imagination.
An intoxicated person releases all his/her problems. Due to this, this person wants to return to this condition in order to forget about the problems and concerns.
Possible risk factors. Who is subject to alcoholism?
Anybody is at the risk group who has the manifestations described above. Many scientists think that genetics plays a key role. Yes, the genetic connection is very important but it is not the key factor of the alcoholism development.
People with weak and unbalanced mind are subject to the alcoholism. This is a category of people who are not able to control emotions and have a stable depression during the problems in life.
Alcohol helps these people to get the emotional and psychological release. First, it is a one-time solution of a problem, and then this person understands that alcohol helps to sink into a reverie, and therefore the alcohol abuse compensates a weak psychological health. Moreover, men often try to kill the depression with alcohol than women, and so they are more subject to the alcoholism.
The alcohol abuse may lead to a state of neurosis because of the developed low self-esteem, and an increased responsibility. The low self-esteem is often developed in children and teenagers who are lack of the parental attention, love and understanding. Difficult relations with peers also conduce to it.
And on the contrary, the successful people who are got used to be the leaders, have a breakdown because of the severe fatigue or unjustified hopes.
Smoking is another factor which increases a risk of the alcohol abuse. Therapists for alcoholics or drug abusers state that about 90% of people abusing alcohol are heavy smokers. Alcohol and smoking influence on similar receptors in the brain that are responsible for getting a satisfaction. As soon as a human stops having a satisfaction from one addiction, he/she is focused on another one. Therefore, all bad habits are interrelated.
People who hang out with “alcoholic” company are at a risk group. Professional sportsmen who have never consumed alcohol often become alcoholics within a short period. A human is a social creature, and therefore everybody reaches for things around him/her. If a person is surrounded by people who prefer alcohol abuse, this person will probably follow these tendencies.
Tests for alcoholism
Most people abusing alcohol deny the addiction. Therefore, in many cases, people need a help of relatives and friends in order to take a special test.
There are two types of the tests for alcoholism:
In the first case, tests are oral, and a person with the alcohol addiction answers some questions during the test. As many patients with alcoholism deny the manifestations of the addiction, the test questions are built in order to find out more about the rules and ethics of drinking. This way, one may understand an attitude to alcohol, side effects of alcoholism, and how he/she is subject to the alcohol influence.
CAGE test is the most popular and the easiest inquirer. A person should answer just 4 questions during this test that will give a notion about the attitude to alcohol and detect the signs of the alcoholism.
But this test is not always successful, and therefore it is recommended to do the additional analysis and ask a patient the following questions:
- How often and how much does a person drink?
- How often does a person want to consume alcohol?
- Does this person know about the problems related to the alcoholism?
- Does this person think that the alcohol consumption harms the health?
If the psychological tests do not help, there is a medical examination that will detect the alcoholism. A common laboratory blood test may show the following data:
- A range of GGT, AST (Aspartate) and ALT (alanine aminotransaminase) showing the degree of the liver damages.
- Сarbohydrate-deficient transferring allows controlling an amount of the alcohol consumption.
- The level of the male sexual hormones: as a rule, the testosterone level drops during the prolonged consumption of alcohol.
How alcohol affects the body? Negative effects of alcohol. Dangers of alcohol
A base of any beverage drink is ethyl alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is highly toxic. Despite of this, the body does not give a rapid reaction to alcohol, if it is not a severe intoxication. But the pathological processes begin from the first days of the abuse. The processes start, as a rule, on the cellular level, and ethanol starts destroying the natural physiological processes.
Besides the physiological pathologies, people with alcohol addiction change values, interests, behavior, and social circle. It all happens gradually but systematically. There are no cases of the chronic alcoholism that would go without complications in the clinical practice.
The initial link in the development of the alcoholism complications is a disorder of the nervous regulation because the first stroke of alcohol falls to the nervous cells. A link between the internal organs and nervous system, and spinal cord is affected. A lot of vegetovascular disorder appear, and nobody relates it to the alcoholism. But these disorders lead to such diseases as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, may cause a stroke and limb paralysis.
The medical studies show that 95% of people abusing alcohol has a heart disorder. The obesity and dystrophy are developed in the cardiac muscle. It becomes soft, and the blood circulation is poor. The vast changes of the cardiac muscle, heart beat disorders are recorded on the electrocardiogram. The experienced cardiologist will easily detect an alcoholic even if the doctor does not know about the problems of this person.
Due to these changes, the arterial hypertension, ischemic heart disease, stenocardia, and heart failure develop. In case of these pathologies, even a light alcoholic intoxication may cause myocardial infarction and death. The affection of lungs and respiratory system in people abusing alcohol is met by 3-4 times more often than in people who do not abuse the beverage drinks.
Alcohol and products of its splitting are released through the respiratory tracts and provide a bad action on the mucus of bronchi and pulmonary tissue. It leads to the development of the inflammatory processes in trachea, a destruction of the pulmonary tissue, and emphysema of lungs.
Due to the regular alcohol consumption, the immunity really drops. Due to this, a risk of ARVI and URI grows, the herpes attack begins. The chronic alcoholism may cause non-heritable immunodeficiency virus which is not treatable today. Moreover, every fifth patient does not even know about it.
But the most frequent physiological pathology due to the alcohol abuse is liver cirrhosis. The liver is a kind of a filter of the body, deactivating the toxic products.
Alcohol reaching the gastro-intestinal tract is decomposed in the liver. The liver does not cope with its task during the alcohol abuse, and so the metabolic processes are affected. The adipose degeneration of the liver cells happens in order to process the alcohol.
Due to this, the liver functions as well as its activity to protect against the toxic products are affected. The adipose degeneration of the cells is sometimes accompanied by their death, and the connective tissue develops instead of the normal cells. It tells about the severe disease, the liver cirrhosis that is met in alcoholic by 6,6 times more often than in people who do not take beverage drinks.
The premature death is a result of all these pathologies. Everybody has its own supply of the energy and possibilities, and when it runs out, the body is not able to resist the toxic products in the alcohol.
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Usually, 2-4 samples are enough to destroy the patient's desire to drink. Doctor's control is very important, because sometimes you have to take medical measures to relieve intoxication.
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