General about alcoholismAn alcoholic disease can lead to a variety of consequences for those affected both acutely and chronically. The liver is especially affected.
Further analysis of our research found that mainly single persons (singles) as well as working and unemployed women and men are threatened (in women this is an equality tendency that we certainly do not want). We always have to find out in the polls that people know little about alcohol and alcoholism. This is not surprising, as the majority of physicians themselves know very little about the causes of alcoholism.
Although alcoholic beverages have been enjoyed for centuries, it was not until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that scientific research into the problem of alcohol was concerned, without, however, sufficiently clarifying the causes of alcoholism.
The determination of blood alcohol content - an important prerequisite for the quantitative measurement of the qualitative change in human behavior - was made possible mainly by certain discoveries in the 1920s. However, a specific method, ie a method that only determines ethyl alcohol (ethyl alcohol), was developed by German and Swedish scientists independently in 1951.
This fact means that, from a strictly scientific point of view, we did not have a specific method for detecting ethyl alcohol until the 1950s. Today we are able to prove the physiological and elevated blood alcohol content with absolute certainty. Yes, we can even find out, by retroactive accounting, the concentration of alcohol in the blood that was present during the "time of the crime" and indirectly determine the degree of influence. Only our current methods of determining the degree of intoxication are accurate and reliable.
At the same time, this gratifying fact is an indication of how much we must still be in the beginning in other questions of alcoholism - for example, in the fundamental question for our society: Why do certain people become alcoholics?
Although the exact proof of alcohol can capture the current situation - not the phase in which someone develops into an alcoholic; nor can it give an answer as to how far this condition has progressed among the persons concerned. We do not want to cite the various theories on this question - one emphasizes theories - because we do not yet know why and when a person becomes an alcoholic.
Alcoholics types according to Jellinek
However, we consider it necessary to briefly outline the most widely accepted theory of developmental stages of alcoholism - drafted by EM Jellinek. We are convinced that this theory corresponds to reality the most and is typical of any alcoholic in any way.
Problem drinker (Alpha drinker)
Drinking has a social motive with us. People drink on different social occasions. Not only does the future alcoholic notice after a certain period of time that drinking gives him relief, relaxation.
At first he is quite right that this comes about through the happy mood in society, that is, through the accompanying circumstances and the ritual of drinking, less through the enjoyment of the alcoholic drink itself. (This can be explained by the development of conditioned reflexes, in which all factors coinciding in time with a positive course of reaction, after regular repetition, alone cause the whole course of behavior and sensation.
Thus, after someone has repeatedly felt relaxation while drinking alcohol in society, alcohol alone can trigger relaxation.)
Casual drinker (beta drinker)
Soon, the casual drinker feels the connection between the drink and the relief. He drinks more than the others, because he needs to bring about the feeling of relaxation - which in the beginning was actually part of society -, more and more alcohol; that is, his drinking is regular. This is the initial phase of alcoholism, which flows smoothly into the second, the warning phase. Now, the human being becomes aware of the fact that he drinks differently than his fellow citizens and needs larger amounts of alcohol to bring about relaxation. He has made the statement that drinking is not a social matter for him, but a need - he gets guilty.
Addictive drinker (gamma drinker)
A characteristic symptom of the warning phase (addictive drinkers) should be the so-called memory lapses; Man can not remember certain processes that have happened in the drunkenness. He fears criticism, is also ashamed and therefore begins to withdraw from his circle of society. At this stage he overlooks his situation and could free himself from it if he knew he was in this stage of development. Unfortunately, most people do not suspect who, by drinking, can solve their troublesome problems, that after a few years this stage blends into the critical phase of alcoholism.
The loss of control over drinking is characteristic of this phase. If the person in question ever drinks an alcoholic beverage, he feels the need to continue drinking until he is drunk. He can not refuse after the first glass the other glasses; but he can now decide if he makes the first sip at all. At this stage, he is able to live without alcohol for weeks or even months.
After this time, he believes that he can now satisfy himself with only one sip, and has no idea that the inevitable loss of control over his drinking does not spring from his weakness of will, but is the result of abuse of his body, a complicated pathological one Mechanism of pathological reflections that he can no longer control. To get out of this situation, he tries to justify his drinking more and more under any pretext. He is looking for credible reasons why he just had to get drunk in this or that specific case. He needs this justification primarily for himself, then more and more for his environment.
Mirror drinker (Delta drinker)
His drinking has generally attracted attention - society is beginning to take an interest in his drinking. Therefore, he evades the circle of society and his family and isolates himself. We must already call this man an alcoholic. He already starts the day with the morning drink, during the day he needs some preservation trunks, and only in the evening he drinks himself full. It is very clear that this way of life does not allow normal work, that it gets into financial and social difficulties and one day sees no way out. And so begins the final phase of the alcoholism: Now he gets drunk while working, which is enough for very small quantities, which he used to tolerate without further ado.
As a typical sign of this phase is therefore to consider the decline in alcohol compatibility. His lies, self-deluding, collapse; he is left by the family and friends and stands helpless alone. A cure in the truest sense of the word is only possible here if the person in question does not touch any alcoholic drink throughout his life, because he can never learn the moderate social drinking. As EM Jellinek and other scientists have shown after him, the individual phases always take years.
But why one becomes an alcoholic and the other does not, is still unknown today. So far we have not been able to determine in the initial phase whether this person will develop into an alcoholic or not. One fact, however, is perfectly proven: alcohol can not produce alcoholism. Therefore, our demand, all people, as late as possible to come into contact with the alcohol - therefore the legal provisions, the children and adolescents make the alcohol consumption impossible or difficult.
But medical demands and legal regulations alone will never be enough to curb alcohol abuse. The fight against alcoholism is a social problem in which everyone must participate. This already starts in the family, in the workgroup, etc. Perhaps this or that one may think that drinking is not so bad after all. The misrepresentation of the developmental stages of alcoholism has shown us how wrong this de minimisization is.
If we estimate today that one percent of the population is chronically alcohol-impaired, that is to say, the last phase described, then it is reason enough for all levels of society to the smallest family circles to check their customs and to consider whether it is appropriate to douse every opportunity with "alcohol".
Symptoms, complaints & signs
An alcohol disease is primarily noticeable through the behavior of an addict. Those affected have the desire to consume alcohol and often lose control of their drinking behavior. These classic signs are accompanied by other physical and psychological symptoms. Externally, the disease is characterized by a reddened and bloated face, puffiness and a covered tongue.
Dependents also suffer from excessive sweating, especially on the hands and face. It can also lead to weight loss and glassy eyes. Do not drink those affected, the hands start to shake (tremor) and there are other withdrawal symptoms. For example, sufferers are often irritable and suffer from depressive moods if they do not consume.
Internal restlessness, forgetfulness and lack of concentration are among the typical mental symptoms. An alcohol disease can also cause sleep disorders and lead to impotence in those affected. If these complaints occur over a period of several weeks and months and are accompanied by a neglect of the environment, a dependency can be assumed. In the further course, an alcohol disease manifests itself as severe liver damage and sometimes also through a decrease in physical and mental performance.
An alcoholic disease (alcoholism) can affect the affected person both acutely and in the chronic course to a variety of consequences. The liver is especially affected. In chronic alcohol consumption, fats can accumulate in the liver, resulting in a yellowish, doughy-looking fatty liver, which can develop into cirrhosis of the liver in the course.
This is mainly characterized by synthesis dysfunction, it produces fewer proteins for the blood, these include, among other things, the important coagulation factors, the bleeding time is prolonged. But also the blood circulation in the liver is disturbed. The blood is increasingly directed in bypass circuits. This causes varicose veins in the esophagus, which can burst and lead to severe internal bleeding.
Hemorrhoids can also be the result. In addition, this also disturbed the detoxification function of the liver. It accumulates more toxins in the body, including especially the dangerous ammonia, which can lead to hepatic encephalopathy. As a result, bacteria can also spread in the blood and lead to sepsis.
Furthermore, alcohol consumption also damages the brain so that it can lead to Korsakoff syndrome. The person concerned no longer has any connection with reality, no longer knows where he is or who he is. Confabulations often show up here, which means that the person concerned overwrites memory deficits through spontaneously invented circumstances.
When should you go to the doctor?
As long as there is no psychological or physical dependence on alcohol, the problem can be overcome in many cases by a consistent change in drinking habits without medical help. A visit to a doctor should be made when there is a constant need for alcohol and alcohol is out of control.
Physical withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, trembling and sleeping disorders with reduced alcohol or total abstinence also give rise to a medical examination as well as the necessary continuous increase in the intake of alcohol in order to avoid the occurrence of these symptoms. Talking to a doctor is also advisable if the alcoholism determines large parts of life and other areas such as family, hobbies and occupation are neglected.
A regular participation in the road under the influence of alcohol or the repeated alcoholized appearance in the workplace also indicate an alcohol addiction that needs to be treated with the help of a doctor. As a rule, the first contact person is the family doctor, to whom a trusting relationship already exists:
Depending on the extent of the addiction problem, this can initiate the transfer to a psychologist or a hospitalization. Liver, stomach, intestine, heart and brain are severely affected by constant excessive alcohol consumption - resulting complaints require immediate clarification by family doctor, internist or neurologist.
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Outlook & Forecasts
An alcohol disease represents a very unhealthy condition for the patient's body and, in the worst case, can lead to death. In many cases, prolonged intake of alcohol causes irreversible damage to the internal organs of the body and also to the brain. Furthermore, the alcoholism can also lead to mental discomfort. Many sufferers suffer from depression and other mental health problems.
Not infrequently, patients under the influence of alcohol also become aggressive and can seriously injure themselves or other people. Life expectancy is significantly reduced and reduced by alcoholism. Those affected also suffer from a constant fatigue and exhaustion. Also, the risk of a heart attack increases enormously.
The treatment of alcoholism can be done by a psychologist or in a closed clinic. In some cases, the person affected can also carry out the treatment himself. Whether this leads to a positive course of the disease, however, can not be universally predicted. In many cases, the damage can not be reversed. This can lead to mental and neurological limitations.
In order to ensure the long-term success of withdrawal therapy, the patient should continue to seek psychological support after graduation. This usually takes place on an outpatient basis in addiction counseling centers or in private doctors and therapists, and an exchange with other patients in a self-help group can also be helpful.
The alcoholic will be shown ways to resolve conflicts and withstand everyday burdens, without seeking help in alcohol. In the case of a high risk of relapse, temporary accommodation may also be appropriate in a special housing facility for addicts. Furthermore, after-care measures include reintegration measures that enable a return to work and social life.
Social isolation and boredom are a great danger in the dry phase of an alcoholic disease - it is therefore advisable to accept help for a meaningful structuring of the daily routine and leisure activities. Family and friends should support the patient in a new beginning without alcohol and respect his abstinence: Under no circumstances should he be encouraged to drink.
In many cases, it is necessary to break away from the old circle of acquaintances and build a new circle of friends - the promotion of social contacts therefore plays an important role in aftercare. Equally important are regular medical examinations to detect and treat alcohol-related organ damage at an early stage.
You can do that yourself
An alcohol disease must always be treated under expert supervision. Accompanying this, the typical symptoms during withdrawal can be alleviated by some home remedies and tricks.
First, it is advisable to identify and eliminate potential triggers for addiction craving. A pleasant environment and the contact with understanding people are important cornerstones for a successful withdrawal. Stress and physical exertion should be avoided in the first few days if possible. More useful are measures such as meditation or light relaxation exercises, which support the body and psyche in the withdrawal of alcohol.
With regard to nutrition: only low-irritant and low-salt diet and low animal fats. The diet should consist of high-fiber whole grains, high levels of protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamins A, C and E, as well as zinc and thiamine.
In addition, liver-friendly teas from milk thistle seeds or Heidelberger powder are recommended. Also valerian and St. John's wort can be used because of their calming effect. After consultation with the doctor also recommend light sleep or painkillers, always depending on the severity of the alcoholism and the physical condition. To avoid complications, all measures should be discussed in advance with the doctor.