Alcoholism When alcohol rules the life
Alcoholism is an addictive disease in which an excessively strong craving for alcohol is in the foreground. Alcohol addiction is a serious mental illness that should be taken seriously and not treated as a weakness of character or other prejudices. The addictive disease affects people from all social classes. Can develop as early as adolescence.
However, regular or high consumption of alcohol does not mean that alcohol addiction is present. In this case, there would be more of an abuse. The transition from alcohol consumption, which in many cultures tends to be regarded as normal at the outset, to abuse and alcohol addiction is fluid. Those affected sometimes realize late or not at all that they are addicted. It can happen that the increased consumption of alcohol and related behavior is not noticed by the person concerned, but by relatives, friends or colleagues. This can be explained by the fact that physical withdrawal symptoms and behavioral changes occur in the context of addiction.
To check whether alcohol addiction is present, six main signs can be looked for. If three of these are present within a period of one year, it is probable that the person concerned is addicted to alcohol. In this case, but also earlier, professional help is recommended to avert damage. A confirmed diagnosis can only be made by a medical or psychotherapeutic diagnosis.
Signs of alcoholism
Strong craving for alcohol
A sometimes uncontrollable desire to drink alcohol is the central symptom of alcoholism. It can occur suddenly or become a permanent condition.
Loss of control over the consumption of alcohol
A loss of control is spoken of when there is a powerlessness over how much and at what time is consumed. This can have serious consequences in particular if those affected (have to) continue to consume alcohol at work, before taking part in road traffic or when looking after children, for example, because they no longer have any control over it.
Development of tolerance to alcohol
With excessive consumption of alcohol in the physically develops a tolerance. This means that the body gets used to a certain amount of alcohol in the system. In order for the known and needed effect of alcohol to continue to occur, an increasingly larger quantity of alcohol is required. However, this tolerance does not mean that the dangerousness and consequences of alcohol decrease. For example, increasing tolerance can be caused by the fact that those affected seem to be able to tolerate more alcohol than their fellow human beings.
Physical withdrawal symptoms without alcohol
If there is a physical dependence and no or less alcohol than usual has been consumed, physical and/or psychological withdrawal symptoms occur. These are sleep disturbances, anxiety, trembling, depressive moods and sweating. The withdrawal symptoms diminish when alcohol is consumed.
Neglect of other interests because of alcohol
For people with alcoholism, thoughts increasingly revolve around where to worry and consume in their environment. There is often neglect of important tasks, job, family, friends and hobbies. The time required to obtain. The consumption of alcohol increases.
Continued alcohol consumption despite serious consequences
Even if alcohol consumption has already caused consequences for those affected, they are unable to stop consumption because they are already in a state of dependency.
Other signs of alcohol addiction:
Alcoholism manifests itself with other signs in addition to the six main symptoms. These can be:
– The individual(s) drinks alcohol not for pleasure, but because of their physical need. Attempts to accept help and reduce alcohol consumption often fail. Many alcoholics are convinced that they are not addicted and therefore could stop drinking at any time. Some people experience this for several days or months. Relapse often occurs, causing feelings of loss of control and frustration. This can lead to drinking even more alcohol to deal with them, creating a negative cycle. An alcohol addiction often brings feelings of shame. Secretive behavior. One reason for this is the stigmatization of alcoholics by society. Also due to the loss of control, for example, not to drink alcohol at work, situations often arise in which drinking is done secretly there, because otherwise physical consequences would occur and be noticeable in the case of alcohol addiction. This is also a negative cycle. Causes
Symptoms of alcoholism and alcohol abuse
There are numerous symptoms that can occur with alcohol abuse or addiction. The following are particularly common and general:
– Weight loss – Loss of appetite – Increased sweating – Potency disorders – ibido loss up to suicidal thoughts – Deterioration of general condition
Not only the constant consumption of alcohol, but also withdrawal symptoms can be severe. Serious withdrawal symptoms include withdrawal delirium, which can present with tremors, sweating, impaired consciousness, visual and auditory hallucinations, fever, rise in blood prere, and coma. Breathing and cardiovascular regulation can be life-threateningly impaired, so medical help is needed.
Alcoholism has acute and long-term consequences, for the body, psyche and social life of the person affected. Acute consequences include, for example, withdrawal symptoms. In the long term, physical organ damage, psychological disorders and social unemployment often occur.
Risk factors for alcoholism Risk factors for alcoholism
So far, it has not been fully researched how alcoholism develops in detail. According to current knowledge, several factors come together in the development of an alcohol addiction, so that we speak of a multifactorial etiology. An important role seems to be played by genetic. Psychosocial influences to play.
Risk factors for alcoholism
From studies of family and twin research, it is known that different genes exist for with an increased risk of alcoholism. This could be found for example with the twin research.
Open consumption of alcohol in the family
If there is a lot of alcohol drinking within the family, this can influence children in their use of alcohol. This effect can be intensified if it is similarly found in the circle of friends.
Enjoyment of alcohol among friends
Particularly during puberty and adolescence, adolescents and young adults may experience social prere within a group to drink alcohol. This can be associated with adulthood and other factors that may appear attractive in this life episode. If friends drink alcohol frequently, this can promote their own consumption.
Traumatic experiences in childhood
Traumatic experiences, especially in childhood, can also increase the risk of developing an alcohol addiction. Such life events can be, for example, severe injuries, sexual abuse, rejection by parents, war, disasters, or loss of attachment figures.
Short-term pleasant effects of alcohol
Alcohol can lead to euphoric emotional states, elevated mood, letting go of worries, distraction, overcoming fears, numbing loneliness, dropping inhibitions, and other often pleasant short-term consequences. This can be a reason to drink alcohol for emotion regulation, for example.
Alcohol as a hormonal happiness drug
Drinking alcohol can stimulate a release of the nerve messenger dopamine. The receptors of are also strongly activated by alcohol, even more so than by food. Alcohol can fill the consumer with real feelings of happiness. Frequent consumption of alcohol can lead to increased independence from dopamine, another neurotransmitter. This may be conducive to alcohol addiction.
Physical consequences of alcoholism Physical consequences of alcoholism
Short-term physical consequences of alcohol consumption
Sooner or later, depending on gender, physical condition, body weight and drinking habits, increased alcohol consumption can lead to perceptual disturbances and coordination difficulties. Alcohol quickly enters the entire body through the blood. Organs are damaged even in those who already have an increased alcohol tolerance and can subjectively tolerate a lot of alcohol. When the body breaks down, toxins are released that can have long-term physical consequences.
The most serious acute physical consequence of alcohol consumption is alcohol poisoning, the severity of which depends on alcohol tolerance and the amount drunk. In the mild stage, intoxication occurs, which manifests itself in affective mood and with perceptual disturbances. At an intermediate stage, speech, coordination, judgment, and gait are also impaired. Memory lapses may occur. If the intoxication by alcohol is severe, up to a coma. Alcohol intoxication may be present without a presence of alcoholism. If alcoholism is present, symptoms of poisoning may occur more frequently.
Long-term physical consequences of alcoholism
Alcohol can have serious and long-term effects on the body if consumed continuously, regularly and also in higher quantities. According to a study, every year in Germany about 74.000 deaths related to alcohol consumption have been recorded. Statistically, alcoholics have a reduced life expectancy of about 15 percent, which is roughly equivalent to living for about 12 years.
Alcohol consumption also increases the risk of cancer. The liver, pancreas, mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach and intestines are particularly at risk. There is also an increased risk of laryngeal cancer. There is a higher risk of breast cancer in women with increased consumption of alcohol.
Alcohol damages all bodily organs. Damage to individual organs manifests itself in different ways:
Effects of alcohol on the liver
In alcoholism, the liver is constantly working hard because it has to break down alcohol. First of all, fatty liver develops, in which the liver stores fat and becomes enlarged. Since the liver itself cannot feel pain, this condition goes unnoticed for a long time. A feeling of prere in the upper abdomen may indicate a fatty liver. If alcohol-related liver inflammation (alcohol-related hepatitis) occurs, pain may occur. Furthermore, liver cells may die off, causing the liver tie to change into connective tie. Cirrhosis of the liver develops, which can be life-threatening depending on its stage. In addition, the risk of liver cancer increases with alcoholism.
Effects of alcohol on the brain
The consumption of alcohol damages brain cells. The risk of dementia also increases. Since alcoholics often have a deficient diet with a vitamin deficiency, Korsakow's syndrome can occur. This manifests itself, among other things, in permanent memory disorders and confusion. Alcoholism can lead to painful. lead to life-threatening chronic inflammation of the pancreas. The development of diabetes mellitus is also promoted by alcoholism. Likewise, high consumption of alcohol increases the risk of abdominal pituitary gland cancer.
Effects of alcohol on the esophagus
Mucosal tears may develop along the esophagus due to alcoholism. This is due to the portal vein circulation, which is altered by liver damage that has already occurred. Blood then passes through veins along the esophagus, causing varicose veins to develop. These can lead ei complications to life-threatening blood loss. Alcohol passes through the entire digestive tract. Can therefore cause damage anywhere. Increased gum inflammation can already occur in the mouth. The stomach can suffer from heartburn, gastritis and stomach ulcers. The mucous membrane of the small-. Large intestine can become inflamed. Alcoholism also promotes cancer of the esophagus, stomach and intestines.
Effects of alcohol on the cardiovascular system
Alcohol damages the cardiovascular system, which can show up with high blood prere, arrhythmias and heart muscle inflammation. Vascular changes, which can show up in a red discoloration of the facial skin, for example, are also possible Consequences.
Psychological consequences of alcoholism Psychological consequences of alcoholism
Alcoholism leads to serious psychological consequences in addition to physical ones. This can manifest itself in mood swings, depression, aggressiveness and a propensity to violence, for example. Also delusions. Hallucinations may occur. Thus, aggression, delusions and hallucinations can also lead to harm to others. People affected by alcoholism may also experience sleep disorders, guilt, anxiety, hopelessness and feelings of inferiority.
Alcoholism can also occur in connection with other mental illnesses. People with alcohol addiction often develop depression. On the other hand, alcohol addiction is also associated with anxiety disorders such as phobias or panic disorders. People with schizophrenia also often suffer additionally from alcoholism. It is often difficult to determine whether the mental illness has led to increased alcohol consumption or whether alcohol addiction is the cause of other mental illnesses.
Social consequences of alcoholism Social consequences of alcoholism
Excessive alcohol consumption often has serious social consequences for those affected and their environment. At a certain point of dependence, many people with alcoholism can no longer perform their duties and fulfill their responsibilities. This usually leads to problems in professional life up to the loss of a job. The consequences are financial problems and even homelessness. Alcoholism also causes further problems in the family or in partnerships. Divorce and even loss of custody can occur if professional help is not obtained in time. Such severe consequences often reinforce the person(s) affected by alcoholism in their consumption.
Other long-term social consequences of alcoholism can include social isolation, including from friends, giving up hobbies and engaging in acquisitive crime.
Co-dependency can occur among the relatives of those affected. They develop strategies to deal with the illness of the person affected and often harm themselves in the process. Signs of co-dependency are the taking over of tasks of the person with the disease, attempts to prevent the consumption of the person or to keep the consumption of alcohol hidden, as they may develop feelings of shame or guilt and / or try to prevent consequences for the person affected. It is helpful for relatives and acquaintances of the person affected to take the illness seriously and not to stigmatize alcohol. This can be helpful for the person concerned in admitting the illness, as well as for the relatives themselves, so that they can also seek support and help.
Treatment of alcohol addiction Treatment of alcohol addiction
The treatment of an alcohol addiction begins with a diagnosis. A medical professional or psychotherapist will determine whether the person is addicted to or abusing alcohol. A first point of contact may be the family doctor, who can provide a referral.
If physical dependence is present, detoxification and weaning will take place. The aim is to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Detoxification is a medically supervised withdrawal from alcohol, during which medication may be used to alleviate the symptoms caused by alcohol withdrawal. If there are physical problems as a result of the alcohol, these will also be treated. After the physical withdrawal has taken place, the withdrawal therapy follows. Psychotherapeutic elements can be supplemented by specialist therapeutic offers such as sports therapy. Social workers can also provide support in solving difficulties with the job, an apartment and in other areas.
Following withdrawal therapy, aftercare is necessary to prevent relapse as much as possible. Many people also find regular visits to self-help groups helpful.
It is not possible to make a blanket prediction at the outset as to how sustainable withdrawal will be. Individual factors such as motivation, psychological condition and the social network of the person affected play a role. Physical consequences that have already occurred also influence the success of therapy. Those affected have to decide against alcohol again and again following therapy. Psychotherapeutic treatment can help to find new strategies for dealing with emotions, alternative behavioral options, new perspectives and conflict resolution, and support those affected on their way back to life.
Dealing with alcoholism among acquaintances Dealing with alcoholism among acquaintances
Relatives and friends of people with alcohol addiction can address the person by using "I" messages such as "I'm worried about you" or "I can see that you are not feeling well" send out. You should note, however, that alcohol consumption can impair the cognition and cognitive processing of affected individuals. A factual discussion on the subject of alcohol can be stimulated. Help offered or pointed out. Those affected and their relatives can turn to addiction counseling centers, for example. At the Oberberg Clinics, which are represented throughout Germany, those affected can also. Relatives of these can receive counseling.
Therapy for problems with alcohol in the Oberberg clinics Therapy for problems with alcohol in the Oberberg clinics
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