The patient must meet at least 3 of the criteria listed below in the last 12 months:
Alcohol tolerance: the patient needs a large amount of alcohol to feel intoxicated. However, when the liver is damaged and is no longer able to metabolize alcohol so well, tolerance could suddenly collapse. Damage to the nervous system could also reduce the tolerance level.
Withdrawal Syndrome: When the patient stops drinking alcohol, tremors, insomnia, nausea or anxiety occur. Typically, the patient drinks more to relieve these symptoms than anything else.
Beyond Intentions: Patient ends up drinking more alcohol or drinking longer than he intended
Failed Attempts to Quit: The patient continues to try to decrease their alcohol consumption but fails, or the patient feels a persistent desire to quit.Waste of time: the patient takes a long time to obtain alcohol, to consume it and to recover from consumption
Isolation: The patient has moved away from recreational, social or occupational activities, even if this was not the case beforePersistence: The patient continues to consume alcohol even if he is aware that it is harmful both physically and psychologically.
Some signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse could be due to another condition, or simply to age, such as memory problems or falls. Some patients may go to their doctor to solve a disorder, for example a digestive problem, without mentioning their problem with alcohol.
It is not always easy for a doctor to identify candidates for alcohol addiction screening. If a doctor suspects that alcohol may be a problem, he could ask the patient some questions, if the patient answers in a certain way, then the doctor could opt for a standardized questionnaire.
The first step for the alcoholic is to admit that he has an alcohol addiction.
The next step is to seek help. In most countries, there are a number of professional services support groups available for alcoholics.
Below is a list of treatments available for alcoholism:
- Do it yourself: Some people with alcohol problems manage to reduce the amount of alcohol they consume without needing medical help. There is indeed a great deal of material in books and on the internet that could help the patient
- Therapist: A qualified therapist can help the alcoholic talk about their problems and plan treatment to decrease alcohol intake. Cognitive behavioral therapy is usually used to treat alcohol addiction.
- Go to the source of the problem: you may have problems with self-esteem, stress, anxiety, depression or some other mental problem. It is important that these issues are also considered and treated. It is crucial for the alcoholic to realize that drinking is likely to make her mental problems worse. Since alcoholics often suffer from high blood pressure, liver problems and possible heart problems, these will need to be treated accordingly.
- Local Support Programs: Local programs are ideal for some people. These include being followed by professionals, individual or group therapy, support groups, training, family involvement, activity therapy, a variety of strategies that aim to treat alcoholism. Some people also find that physically staying away from alcohol is of great help
- Drugs that cause a severe reaction to alcohol: Disulfiram causes a very severe reaction when the patient takes alcohol at the same time. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache. It is a deterrent, but it will not solve alcohol addiction and therefore will not cure alcoholism.
- Addiction Medicines: Naltrexone could help counter the urge to have a drink.
- Amamprosate could help withstand the urge to drink
- Detoxification: The patient takes certain medicines to prevent the withdrawal syndrome (delirium tremens), which affects many alcoholics when they stop drinking. Treatment usually lasts for 4-7 days. Chlordiazepoxide, a benzodiazepine, is frequently used for detoxification.