Alcohol dependence: reasons, symptoms and treatment
A lot of people drink alcohol, when the situation demands, for instance on high days and holidays or on the meeting of old friends. Usually the man is in direct control of himself, and even if he takes a glass too much, he will be all right again and wonâ€™t drink much again. Such cases are variants of norm. Alcohol addiction takes place, when the man needs to take alcoholic drinks regularly, when he doesnâ€™t control himself, gradually increasing the doses of alcohol and having a strong wish to repeat it again.
Alcohol dependence belongs to a variety of toxicomania, and manifests inself mostly in psychological rather than physical addiction to such drinks. Nevertheless alcoholism has equally negative influence on somatic and psychological sphere of the addict. It is a very insidious disease, because it develops little by little, often very slowly, so that the person doesnâ€™t notice he got into the nets of this demon drink. To all that alcohol dependence is not a lack of discipline, but a disease, because the man canâ€™t solve the problem of drinking by himself.
Reasons of alcohol dependence
There are people, who are fond of drinking in a jolly crowd, but they wonâ€™t become alcohol dependent. Hard drinking, even if it is not that hard, - is a very bad habit, but alcoholism is far too worse by its effects and consequences. So, what is the reason of this strange affection towards a bottle of alcoholic beverage?
First of all the main reason of alcohol dependence is an intention of a human to move away from reality by drowning his sorrows or stresses. People may also start drinking regularly to get a spark up, when they feel boring, lonely or suffer from their uselessness, absence of bright emotions and difficult life circumstances.
Alcohol addiction may be inherited or caused by psychical disorder, severe depression or some somatic disease. People inclined to alcoholism are usually characterized by increased vulnerability and lack of self-confidence; they have plenty of complexes. We can often meet among alcoholics very creative people, who have no possibility to realize their potential in life.
SymptomsÂ ofÂ alcoholÂ dependence
Where is a borderline, where the dependence on alcohol begins? The man can be considered an alcoholic in the following cases:
- He has the strong desire to drink alcohol, he often thinks of drinking;
- He loses control on the amount he drinks;
- The tolerance threshold of liquor drinks increases (the person can drink more, than usual, and his body doesnâ€™t reject alcohol);
- Episodes of taking alcohol become more frequent;
- Memory lapses take place (the person canâ€™t remember events, happened with him in drunk condition);
- The man is not interested very much in things not connected with alcohol, his hobbies donâ€™t interest him anymore;
- He periodically goes on a drinking jag;
- The person hardly ever communicates with non-drinkers or seldom drinking friends;
- He suffers from sleeplessness, low appetite and often mood swings.
The first stage of alcoholism can last for one year up to 8-10 years, and if the alcoholic doesnâ€™t change his mind and start the appropriate treatment, the next stage will come. This stage is characterized by insuperable addiction to liquor drinks, frequent hangover, tolerance to drinks containing ethyl alcohol, hallucinations. The alcoholicâ€™s personality becomes degraded: defective memory, uncritical attitude to himself and own behavior, loss of interests and intellectual activity take place. The person becomes hot-tempered, aggressive, rude, and his emotions are primitive and superficial.
On the third stage the patient drinks almost uninterruptedly; besides psychological, he has also physical dependence on ethanol. Now he needs very small doses of liquors to become drunk. His psyche undergoes irreversible changes, his memory and intellect degrade even more, the need in food decreases to minimum, he constantly feels apathy and sluggishness. As a rule, on this stage the patientâ€™s behavior is asocial, and he doesnâ€™t care of his appearance.
Diagnosis and treatment for alcohol dependence
Alcohol dependence can be easily diagnosed by narcologists, especially on the last stages. The diagnosis begins from questioning the patient: how long he drinks alcohol, in what amount and what kind, how often he has drinking bout, hangover and so on. The patient, who suffers from a progressive form of alcoholism, can be defined by his appearance: turbidity of the whites of the eyes, red face, thin shaggy hair, inexpressive mimic similar to grimaces.
There are several complications, which appear on the second and the third stages of alcoholism: cirrhosis, pancreatitis, arrhythmia, high blood pressure and other diseases. Before the treatment the patientâ€™s body has to be carefully examined to reveal possible contraindications for using some medicines and therapeutic methods.
Everyone can get help to get rid of alcoholism, the question is that some alcoholics donâ€™t realize their disease, so their relatives have to visit doctors in search for help. There are several ways of treatment, which are mostly used all together or separately:
Detoxication â€“ is necessary to clean the body from alcohol and decay products. After cessation of alcohol the patient gets intravenous injections of special solutions. If he is able to hold out without alcohol for 5-7 days, then this part of treatment can be omitted.
Medication therapy implies treatment with the help of medicines, containing disulfiram (the substance, incompatible with alcohol) and other components, which bring on aversion to alcoholic drinks. The effect of such treatment is based on manâ€™s fear of severe consequences after drinking, therefore he has to give up drinking for the period of medicine activity (from 6 months to 5 years).
Psychological help implies consultations with psychologist. It helps the man to realize the reasons and motives of his behavior, to get ready for sober life and sort out his problems.
Social rehabilitation â€“ helps the person to come back to normal life activity, to nurture relationships. This method is used in Russia not long ago.
Control for alcohol drinking â€“ is suitable only in treatment for the first stage of alcoholism. The narcologist together with the patient define the dose, which is allowed to be taken. Although the total abstention from alcohol is very much welcome.
Alcohol dependence is one of the most awful and dangerous addictions, which is, unfortunately, very widespread in our country. The effective and up-to-date therapy must be supported by firm intention of the patient to recover, and only then it can guarantee the successful treatment and stable results. Otherwise any attempts to give up drinking lead to temporary results, and then the man lapses into his old ways.