Respect abstinence: some patients manage to complete the detox, but resume drinking shortly after. The success rate is significantly better if the patient has access to therapeutic support or to some group. Family support is crucial. Sometimes even the general practitioner can be of great importance.
Alcoholics Anonymous: Alcoholics Anonymous is an international organization of women and men with problems with alcohol. It is an unprofessional, self-financed, multiracial, apolitical organization that is available almost everywhere.
There are no age or education requirements
- Registration is open to anyone who wants to stop drinking and solve their alcohol problem.
- Blood tests can only detect recent alcohol consumption, but cannot reveal whether the person has consumed a lot of alcohol for an extended period.
- However, if a blood test reveals that red blood cells are enlarged, this could be a sign of long-term alcohol abuse.
- The Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin Test (CDT from Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin) is a blood test that allows you to check for intensive alcohol consumption.
There are other tests that can detect liver damage or whether a man has lower than normal testosterone production, both of which indicate chronic alcohol consumption; however, screening with a good questionnaire appears to be the best way to make an accurate diagnosis.
Most alcoholics deny having a problem with alcohol and tend to minimize the amount of alcohol they consume. Talking to family members can help the doctor understand the situation (permission is required for this).
Alcohol is a full-fledged drug capable of inducing phenomena of tolerance and addiction, psychological and physical. In Western countries, the widespread tolerance for drinking accompanied by the legality of alcohol itself has led to a socially shared acceptance of its use even when it turns into abuse or even addiction.
For these reasons, the condition of “alcoholic” or “alcoholic” enjoys a greater collective justification and is not associated with the concept of drug addiction as is the case with other psychoactive substances.
In reality, chronic alcohol intake negatively affects the quality of life and progressively reduces the spaces for daily autonomy. It is a serious disease of social relevance and is the third leading cause of death after cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Alcoholism between addiction and abuse
The concept of alcoholism (as well as alcohol dependence, alcohol dependence, alcoholic dependence) refers to an excessive voluntary ingestion of ethyl alcohol which in its acute form manifests itself with drunkenness.
In its chronic form it expresses a condition in which alcohol, having determined functional alterations of the Central Nervous System and a subversion of the individual’s lifestyle, has become indispensable for maintaining a precarious psychophysical balance.
The building blocks of substance addiction are:
- abstinence: appearance of a specific symptomatology upon suspension or abrupt reduction of the substance;
- tolerance: the need to reach higher and higher doses over time to achieve the desired effect;
- loss of control: the person fails to control the use of the substance (e.g. fails in attempts to limit its use, or takes it in dangerous circumstances, or has to neglect important social or occupational activities for use). [d]
A little girl cries when she sees her father as an alcoholic. All these factors lead to psychic, physical or social damage, albeit in a slow developmental pattern that can last for several years. Alcohol produces a general toxic state of the organism accompanied by a situation of debilitation due both to an insufficient food intake due to lack of appetite and to a reduction in the absorption and use of the food introduced.
The harmful cumulative effects include a wide range of disorders affecting the digestive system and organs functionally related to it such as the liver and pancreas.On a psychic level, alcohol dependence induces a progressive decay of the intellectual functions, a lack of mood and a loss of ethical sense.
Alcoholism is a major cause of road accidents.
Alcoholism, which is more frequent in male adults, although lately it is also spreading among young people and women, is a growing phenomenon in almost all regions of the United States, Europe, the countries of the former Soviet Union and developing countries.