Alcohol addiction

Alcohol dependence is a progressive systematic use and an irresistible craving for alcoholic substances. People with alcoholism are unable to control their urge to drink. They will continue to drink even when the habit starts to cause problems.

A person who likes to spend an evening in good company with a glass of wine or beer cannot yet be called an alcoholic or suspected of being addicted. However, if such a pastime occurs on a regular basis, day after day, there is a reason for the development of addiction. What is considered alcoholism:

  • Physical dependence on alcohol;
  • The appearance of an irresistible craving for a strong drink;
  • Inappropriate behavior;
  • Unmotivated aggression towards others.

It should be noted that it is necessary to distinguish between such concepts as regular alcohol consumption and alcohol dependence. As a rule, the development of dependence is preceded by a period of regular alcohol consumption. Researchers identify the following motivations for regular drinking:

  • hedonistic – alcohol intake is associated with a thirst for pleasure. The reasoning boils down to the following: “Why should I deny myself the pleasure of drinking, because life is one, the other will not be like that. And in general, why live if there is no pleasure ”;
  • ataractic – alcohol is used to alleviate affective disorders, relieve a state of emotional stress, anxiety, anxiety, uncertainty. “Doctor, I had to disconnect from unpleasant memories”;
  • submissive – alcohol consumption is associated with increased obedience, inability to resist the environment. “I drink like everyone else, I don’t want to be a black sheep”;
  • with hyperactivation of behavior – alcohol is used as a doping in order to raise tone, increase activity and improve performance. “I drink when I’m tired to cheer up”;
  • pseudo-cultural – alcohol is used in order to attract the attention of others with a complex cocktail recipe, rare brands of wines. Such patients consider themselves to be subtle connoisseurs of alcohol;
  • traditional – alcohol is consumed on authorized holidays.

 

Stages of addiction development

 

As with any disease, there are standard developmental stages for alcohol dependence, namely:

  • premonitory;
  • formation stage;
  • active stage;
  • terminal stage.

Each of the stages characterizes the psychological and physical state of the patient. The main factors that play a role in the formation of addiction:

Social factor. The number of stressful situations, material living standards, urbanization, information overload.

Biological. Hereditary factor, according to Altshuller’s research, about 30% of children whose parents were addicted to alcohol become alcoholics.

Psychological. Individual psychological state of a person, the level of social adaptation.

General toxic effect of alcohol on the human body: Membrane destruction. Alcohol is capable of disrupting the structure of membranes, changing their permeability, while severely disrupting the system of transmembrane movement.

The negative effect of alcohol metabolism products. After overcoming the hematoencephalic defense, fusel oils and acetaldehyde activate the release, interacting with norepinephrine and dopamine, thereby stimulating the psyche and hallucinogenic attacks.

Metabolic changes. Disorders in the work of fat metabolism, as a result of which patients are found to have fatty degeneration of the liver or atherosclerosis.

 

Stages of alcoholic intoxication

 

There are 6 stages of alcohol intoxication:

Euphoria. This state is characterized by the appearance of a feeling of happiness and fun. Usually occurs immediately after the first dose of alcohol. At this stage, there is a decrease in concentration of attention, a slowdown in reactions, a feeling of confidence and emancipation appears. A person can begin to do and say things and words that are unusual for him.

Loss of control. This is the stage at which a person begins to perceive information more difficult, the reaction is slow, and vision can be blurred. At this stage, it becomes more difficult to maintain balance, a feeling of drowsiness appears.

Confusion of consciousness. At this point, the ability to correctly perceive color, shape, size and movement disappears. Muscle coordination is impaired, which can lead to loss of balance and fall. Speech becomes incoherent, emotionality rises.

Stupor. At this stage of alcoholic intoxication, a complete loss of motor functions occurs. There are frequent cases of vomiting, loss of control of the intestines and bladder.

Coma. Loss of consciousness occurs. Body temperature can rise or fall sharply. Breathing and circulation problems sometimes occur.

Death. Respiratory arrest occurs, death occurs.

 

Causes and signs of alcohol addiction

 

Alcoholism, as a deviant behavior, has a root cause. This is an occasion that can arise spontaneously, problems that gradually accumulate. The reason and its influence depend on the individual stability of the personality. Strong people try to deal with a problem, no matter how difficult it may seem. They fight fear and move forward purposefully. An alcoholic is a person who does not live in the future or the present. He is guided by the past (setbacks, problems, trauma).

The problem of alcoholism arises from the following reasons:

  • experienced traumatic event;
  • mental disorders (aggravated phobias, obsessive thoughts);
  • problems with work, personal life;
  • personal crises.

The event that caused the addiction is perceived by the individual as traumatic. For other people, the same problem is not difficult or unbearable. A personality is formed from childhood, and any mental disorders at this age result in dependence in adulthood. The upbringing of a person is also important: if a child grows up in a family where his parents drink, he develops a wrong perception of alcohol and the reasons for using it.

Signs of alcohol dependence are:

  • drinking is becoming more frequent: reasons to drink – more and more;
  • the thought of drinking began to improve mood;
  • the dose of alcohol consumed at the events was not enough and there was a need to “catch up”;
  • intoxication became deeper and behavior during intoxication changed;
  • memory blackouts began to appear after a binge;
  • the reaction to an alcoholic state changed: it became “bad without alcohol”, if earlier it was “good” from it;
  • intoxicated state caused the loss of things, documents, minor injuries, spatial and temporal disorientation.

Among drinking people, it is customary to distinguish:

  • abstainers (they will drink 100 g of wine 2-3 times a year);
  • casual consumers (from once every 2-3 months to 1-2 times a month, 50-150 g of vodka or another drink identical to this amount of vodka);
  • moderate consumers (1-4 times a month, 100-300 g of vodka or identical alcohol);
  • systematic drunkards (1-2 times a week, 200-400 g of vodka or identical alcohol);
  • habitual drunkards (2 times or more during the week, 300-500 g of vodka or identical alcohol).

 

Stages of alcohol addiction

 

Doctors distinguish 3 stages of alcohol dependence. There is also a prodrome – this is a condition that borders on drunkenness.

Prodrom. In this state, a person constantly uses alcoholic beverages, but at the same time for him this process is not yet normal and systematic. At this stage, the patient can refuse alcohol at any convenient time. However, if he drinks constantly, the drunkenness gradually becomes a chronic stage.

Stage 1. A person is tolerant of all alcoholic beverages. To get drunk, he drinks a lot of alcohol. A person has a desire to drink alcohol alone, at lunchtime or at other times of the day. With the onset of the next day, a person cannot remember half of the events of yesterday.

Stage 2. Tolerance to alcoholic beverages increases significantly. The next dose of consumed alcohol grows at times. A person cannot control this process, as he becomes intoxicated he loses control over his own actions. The patient does what a sober person will never do. During a hangover, a person has a desire to drink alcohol again.

Withdrawal symptoms. This is exactly the stage during which the psychological state of a person worsens, he is often pursued by depression. Everything annoys the patient, he literally loses his balance before our eyes, even street sounds and sunlight annoy him.

Stage 3. Constant binges continue without interruption. An alcoholic is always drunk, or rather most of his life. At the same time, for intoxication, he can drink very little alcohol. Heavy drinking leads to the disintegration of personality, the patient requires careful examination and treatment. Sometimes during this stage the drunkard is confronted with delirium tremens.

Alcohol dependence can cause a number of serious illnesses. With alcohol dependence, the risk of heart and liver disease, high blood pressure and stroke is increased. Long-term alcohol abuse destroys the liver. According to preliminary estimates, 7 out of 10 people with alcoholic liver disease (liver damage due to alcohol abuse) are alcohol dependent.

 

Symptoms of female alcoholism

 

The symptoms of alcoholism in women and men are different. Society disapproves of female drunkenness. When men openly drink at home or at festive corporate parties, women do it quietly, so as not to provoke rumors or condemnation. Alcohol addiction dramatically increases the risk of losing your job, your beloved husband, and your connection with your family. Therefore, women do not even try to talk about their addiction to someone from the environment, fearing to face misunderstanding and negativity.

Gradually drinking a glass of vodka or wine after work is becoming the norm. And relatives do not even notice the first signs of alcoholism in a woman:

  • suddenly increased interest in feasts, corporate parties, meetings with friends;
  • often unreasonably high spirits;
  • decreased interest in self-care, the appearance of disheveled, unkempt appearance;
  • attempts to mask the smell of alcohol with gum, candy, perfume;
  • change in voice (it becomes rougher);
  • the appearance of nervousness, emotional imbalance.

 

Symptoms of male alcoholism

 

Male alcoholism develops more slowly than female alcoholism. The degree of progression of the disease, the severity of symptoms of alcohol dependence depends on the intensity of alcohol consumption, on the general condition of the man’s body. If at the initial stage it is enough to drink a small amount of alcohol for light intoxication, then later the dose of alcoholic beverages will only increase. Signs of alcoholism in a man depend on the duration of the addiction. The longer a person drinks, the worse his mental and physical condition.

The main signs of alcoholism in men:

  • inclination to noisy companies, feasts;
  • tolerance to drinkers, drinking alcohol;
  • a gradual increase in the dose of alcohol;
  • a tendency to prolonged drinking;
  • slovenliness;
  • the appearance of edema on the face;
  • loss of interest in loved ones, previous hobbies;
  • changing the circle of friends, leaving old habits, a healthy lifestyle.

 

Alcohol addiction treatment

 

Compulsory treatment of alcoholism is absolutely ineffective, therefore, the patient’s desire, conscious or not fully realized, is necessary for treatment.

As a rule, anonymous treatment for alcoholism is carried out, so there is no need to worry that neighbors or colleagues find out about the problem. If you wish, you can organize the treatment of alcoholism at home by inviting a narcologist or psychiatrist.

Today, a lot of pharmacopoeial drugs have been developed that effectively contribute to the fight against malicious alcohol cravings.

All medicines aimed at liberation from pathological bondage are conditionally divided into the following groups:

  • means that develop a dislike for alcohol-containing liquids (Torpedo, Disulfiram, Kolma);
  • substances that stop the urge to consume the next portion of an intoxicating drink (Metadoxil, Balansin);
  • medicines that eliminate withdrawal symptoms (Medichronal, Alka-Seltser, Alka-Prim);
  • drugs aimed at correcting psychological problems caused by alcohol consumption (Promazin, Haloperidol, Diazepam);
  • agents that significantly reduce the destructive effect of ethanol on the body (Biotredin, Glycine, Rekitsen RD).

Determining alcohol dependence in a patient is not difficult for a narcologist, and even more so in the last stages. Diagnostics begins with interviewing the patient: how long has he been drinking alcohol, in what quantities and how much, whether there have been binges, hangovers, and so on. And at the stage of the progression of alcoholism, the patient can already be identified by external signs, such as turbidity of the eye proteins, redness of the face, rare tousled hair, expressionless facial expressions that resemble grimaces.

Help in getting rid of alcoholism is available to everyone, the only question is that not all alcoholics realize that they are sick, and relatives often turn to doctors. There are several ways to treat a patient, and they are usually used in a complex manner – all at once or some of them:

Detoxification is needed to cleanse the body of alcohol and its decay products. After refusing alcohol, the patient is injected intravenously with special solutions. If the patient is able to survive without alcohol for 5-7 days, then this point of treatment can be skipped.

Drug therapy – the introduction into the body of drugs containing disulfiram (a substance incompatible with ethanol) and elements that cause aversion to alcoholic beverages. The effect is based largely on the person’s fear of serious consequences after drinking the bottle, so he is forced to stop drinking for the period of the drug’s effect (from 6 months to 5 years).

Psychological help. Working with a psychologist encourages a person to realize the reasons and motives of their behavior, tune in to a sober life and sort out their own problems.

Social rehabilitation – helping a person to return to normal life, establish social contacts. The method has only recently begun to be used in Russia.

Rationing. This method is usually suitable only for the treatment of alcohol dependence in the first stage. The narcologist, together with the patient, determines the dosage that is permissible to use. However, complete abstinence is only encouraged.

Coding.

Alcohol dependence coding includes various techniques:

  • Hypnotic coding. The technique is carried out by introducing mental attitudes based on various vivid emotional factors, such as awakening a sense of responsibility towards the family or fear of death;
  • Laser coding. The essence of the technique is laser action on the patient’s brain areas, which are responsible for the existence of addiction, in order to reduce the craving for alcohol;
  • Drug coding. The patient is injected with a special drug, as a rule, subcutaneously, which constantly enters the bloodstream, and in the case of alcohol consumption, it leads to a serious health disorder. As a result, the person develops an aversion to alcohol.

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