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Dr. William Gilson Content Administrator Updated on: 26/05/2020

Alcoholism is a serious disease that promises many problems, both for the alcoholic himself and the people around him. The most terrible thing is that a person does not always realize that he has entered a dangerous stage of alcoholism, believing that a couple of glasses of wine or two bottles of beer in the evening, for a long time – these are small things. Whether this is the case, you will find out from the article below.

Alcoholism - causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

Alcoholism is the excessive systematic use of alcoholic beverages.

In 1849, the public figure M. Huss first used the term "chronic alcoholism", which implied several pathological changes that occur in the body with a long-term passion for alcoholic beverages.

For a long time, alcoholism and drunkenness did not differ, but later it became obvious that in the first case we are talking about a disease. At the turn of the XIX and XX centuries, all stages of alcoholism were generally called dipsomania, but now this term has a different meaning. For the first time, S. S. Korsakov, E. Bleuler, and E. Kraepelin began to talk about the phenomenon as a disease in their works. In 1952, he decided to classify alcoholism as a disease.

Throughout the twentieth century, the number of patients has constantly increased. The average indicator in several economically developed countries was 0.3 liters per 1 thousand population at the beginning of the twentieth century, and by the middle of the century it had grown to 12 liters. Large-scale epidemiological studies have been conducted since the 1980s.

4 stages of alcoholism

According to the classification of Western narcologists, first developed in 1941 by the Canadian doctor E. Jeplinek, there are 4 stages of alcoholism. Let's look at them in more detail.

Symptomatic drunkenness

The phase that precedes actual alcohol addiction. Drinking alcohol at this stage seems socially acceptable. Without feeling dangerous consequences, a person drinks alcohol moderately at a party, at a regular dinner. Gradually, the usual dose increases, sometimes intoxication is accompanied by the Commission of undesirable actions.

The latent phase

The beginning of the stage occurs after the first partial amnesia caused by alcohol consumption. A person can't remember "what happened". Interest in alcohol is increasing, and now it is perceived as a means to help fight stress. Gradually, dependence increases.

Critical stage

The patient no longer controls the amount of alcohol consumed. Having started drinking drinks, he reaches a state of strong intoxication. Social problems, changes in the mental state are inevitable, and binge drinking occurs periodically.

Chronic phase

The final stage of alcoholism. The duration of binge drinking becomes longer. The patient is characterized by antisocial behavior, his standard of living falls, the quality of alcohol ceases to worry. The period of development of pathologies, causing serious damage to internal organs.

Types of alcoholism

There are several types of alcoholism.

Chronic

Alcohol is drunk regularly and in large quantities – its use becomes a kind of ritual. The development of the stage is rapid. A person can drink every night when they come home from work to "relax", without hiding from loved ones, and at first without causing them anxiety.

Drunken

A person can periodically drink a moderate amount of alcohol, without causing the feelings of relatives or friends, but gradually in his life, binge drinking is more common – especially they are inevitable during stressful situations. The binge lasts for several days or weeks. After that, a person can hold out for a little while, but then everything happens in a new way.

Secret

Such alcoholics try to hide their addiction, and people around them do not even know about it for a long period. Influential and famous people are subject to secret alcoholism. For fear of losing a good name or tarnishing a reputation, a person denies and hides the problem in every possible way. Over time, the destructive effect of alcohol makes itself felt in the form of characteristic diseases that have appeared, a "rumpled" appearance, a sudden breakdown.

Brewer

Some people deny the fact that they are alcoholics, believing that if they regularly drink beer and not vodka, there is no special problem. With this type of alcoholism, beer is consumed daily or several times a week. A few SIPS is not enough – the patient needs at least a liter. Many people think that the effect on health is not too harmful, but it is not so: there is a destructive effect on the liver, brain, and lungs.

Doctors distinguish between female and male alcoholism. Women's health is more difficult to treat, and it has a detrimental effect on both the health of the fair sex and future children. It is often difficult to do without the help of doctors.

Who is at risk?

Which people are susceptible to alcohol addiction and what causes can trigger the problem.

People who drink alcohol more than once a week

People who drink alcohol more than once a week and often exceed the dose of two or three glasses, risk becoming alcoholics. The more often you drink – the more likely the risk is. Those who allow themselves to drink alcohol almost daily, leading to a habit, should urgently reconsider their approach to the situation.

Teens

Started drinking at an early age, before reaching the age of 18? You are at risk, even if you are referring only to light cocktails and beer. The earlier you start trying and periodically drinking alcohol, the higher the risk of developing an addiction.

Women

Women are more susceptible to alcohol addiction than men. Although there are fewer alcoholics among them, if they start drinking alcohol regularly, they will feel dependence much faster. Treatment for this disease in women takes longer, so they should be careful.

Presence of alcoholics among close relatives

Relatives who abuse alcohol increase the likelihood of developing a similar addiction to you. It is not only about genetics, but also about the subconscious formation of a lifestyle, a pattern of behavior. People who are forced to grow up in a family with an alcoholic should pay special attention to emerging habits.

Psychological or mental disorders

In the presence of such disorders (mania, paranoia, schizophrenia), alcoholic beverages have a particularly destructive effect on the nervous system. In parallel, the course of the disease itself worsens. Psychological disorders (insomnia, depression, phobias, increased anxiety, and so on) can cause the development of harmful addiction.

Meetings with drinking friends

The environment has a great influence on the formation of personality. Also, drinking relatives of friends are not an exception, even if it is a "ritual" drink at regular joint meetings.

Diseases

In the course of any systemic diseases, there is a violation of metabolic processes, as well as in the work of the nervous or endocrine systems, and this can contribute to the development of alcoholism. Patients with diabetes, liver, or kidney failure are, particularly at risk.

Problems in the family

People rarely solve personal or family problems by conducting deep psychoanalysis with a specialist or on their own. More often, sufferers try to forget and not think about the troubles, so they look for an easy way – strong drinks. It takes a long time to realize that such a decision turns out to be even more trouble.

Chronic stress

People who regularly get into unnerving situations or experience prolonged stressful situations often decide to get rid of the problem with the help of alcohol. As a result, addiction to stress can lead to serious health problems (hypertension, insomnia, gastritis, and others). How to distinguish an alcoholic from a drinker and is there a difference

Is there a difference between an alcohol-dependent person and an occasional drinker? If there are certain nuances, there is such a difference.

A low drinker does not see the value of alcohol and does not believe that it can affect his emotional state. He can drink a little on a particularly significant occasion, does not go far, and categorically refuses to exceed a moderate dose. In the morning, he does not suffer from headaches and other "charms" of a hangover – his condition can be called normal, and he does not feel the need and desire of a hangover. A person who does not have an addiction can not drink as much as he wants, and not because he "keeps himself in hand" - he does not think about alcohol at all.

An alcoholic drinks with a certain frequency, and at one stage may go on a binge. Even if he keeps himself in hand for a long time and does not drink, then an "accidental" glass leads to a breakdown – he begins to drink without knowing the measure. Often experiences partial amnesia after drinking.

Dependent people periodically break down and often think about strong drinks. The primary pathological attraction appears while still in a sober state. This happens suddenly and sometimes in inappropriate circumstances. An alcoholic feels an agonizing desire to drink wine, beer, or something stronger, feeling a lack of something. Imagination draws the moment of drinking, these images cause a rush of mood or irritation (if it is impossible to implement the plan). The craving for alcohol is comparable to a strong hunger or thirst.

Symptoms and behavior of an alcoholic

Signs indicating a person's propensity to alcoholism:

  • Drinking alone. At first, an alcoholic needs company to drink alcohol, but gradually this ceases to be an important factor – he can drink a large number of strong drinks without anyone present.
  • Secret drinking of alcohol. Realizing that he has acquired an addiction, the patient tries to hide it, periodically "disappearing" from the field of view of friends and acquaintances.
  • A clear desire to drink. You don't need an excuse for a special holiday or good company to drink – an alcoholic just feels the need for a drink, regardless of the circumstances.
  • Uncontrolled drinking of vodka, beer, etc. a person has no idea of an adequate measure, and drinks as long as he is able. "Stash" of alcohol. The addict is afraid that when a sharp desire arises, he will not be able to immediately satisfy the need for a drink, and hides the started or full bottles of alcohol for "just in case".
  • Drinking rituals. Drinking becomes an unspoken ritual in certain situations: returning home from work, meeting a friend, watching TV, and so on. If the ritual is violated, it causes irritation and long-term deterioration of mood.
  • Memory blackout. After sobering up, a person does not remember everything that happened to him the day before, and some facts turn out to be a surprise.
  • Aggressive behavior. Alcoholics react aggressively to requests from their loved ones to stop drinking. For this or other reasons, scandals, physical abuse, and other manifestations of aggression on the part of the drinker often occur in the family. Apathy. There is no interest in previously fascinating things: past Hobbies are almost ignored, and activities that do not involve drinking do not arouse interest.

The harm of alcohol on the human body

Alcoholism causes serious harm to the human body. Organs that suffer primarily: the liver, brain, heart, and sexual system. Let's look at the topic in more detail. How exactly does beer, wine, vodka, and the like affect your well-being? Why at first it may seem that alcohol is not a pest, but an assistant?

Many people know that alcohol is a great solvent. Do you want to make sure of this? Take a little alcohol and put a piece of fat in it at night – the result seen in the morning will surprise you. When cognac, vodka, or any other drink containing alcohol is in the stomach, some of it moves into the blood. Consequences: red blood cells that transport oxygen through the body are deprived of fat lubrication – it simply dissolves. It helps them to slip past each other without disturbing the intended functions, but when it is lost, they no longer slide but stick together. If 8-10 red blood cells stick together, they will resemble a bunch of grapes – it will pass through the vein without difficulty, but getting into the capillaries, provides difficulties on the way to the brain's neurons.

Alcoholism causes blockage of blood vessels, which turns into an aneurysm. It can be the result of a hemorrhagic stroke, which in most cases leads to a fatal outcome.

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