Alcohol use disorder which also involves a level that’s sometimes called alcoholism. This is a pattern of alcohol use involving problems in controlling your drinking, always preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use it even when it brings problems, drinking more to get the same effect, and also having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.
Alcohol use disorder is when you put your health or safety at risks. And also causing other alcohol-related problems. This includes binge drinking, which is a pattern of drinking where a male takes 5 or more drinks within 2 hours or a female takes at least four drinks in 2 hours.
Causes Of Alcohol Use Disorder
The causes may include:
- Genetic factors.
- Psychological factors.
- Social factors.
- Environmental factors.
These factors can affect how drinking alcohol affects your body and behavior.
In time, drinking lots of alcohol may alter the normal way your brain works in connection to judgement, an experience of pleasure, and also the ability to exercise control over your behavior. This results in craving more alcohol to try to restore good feelings and reduce negative ones.
Symptoms Of Alcohol Use Disorder
The symptoms may be mild, moderate or severe. And they are based on the number of symptoms you experience. They include:
- Spending lots of time in getting, drinking, and also recovering from alcohol use.
- Not able to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink
- Feeling a strong urge or craving to drink alcohol.
- Making unsuccessful attempts in cutting down on how much alcohol to drink.
- Not able to fulfil major obligations at home, school, and work, due to repeated use of alcohol.
- Continue alcohol use even when it’s causing social, physical, and also interpersonal problems.
- Getting withdrawal symptoms like sweating, nausea, vomiting or shaking when you don’t drink. Or taking alcohol to avoid the symptoms.
- Reducing hobbies, work, and social activities.
- Getting tolerance to alcohol.
- Use of alcohol when it’s not safe to use. Such as when swimming or driving.
Alcohol use disorder also includes times of alcohol intoxication and symptoms of withdrawal.
This occurs as the volume of alcohol in your bloodstream increases. The higher the blood alcohol concentration, the more impaired you get. Alcohol intoxication also leads to behavior problems and mental changes. Which include the following:
- Slurred speech.
- Inappropriate behaviour.
- Impaired memory
- Unstable moods.
- Impaired judgment.
- Poor coordination.
- Periods of blackouts.
- Very high blood alcohol levels. This can also lead to coma or even death.
This happens when alcohol use has been prolonged, heavy, and then reduced or stopped abruptly. It may happen in some hours to 4 or 5 days later. Some of the symptoms include:
- Hand tremor.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Problems in sleeping.
- Symptoms severe enough to alter your ability to function at work or in a social gathering.
Risk Factors For Alcohol Use Disorder
Risk factors include:
- People who start drinking at an early age are at a higher risk of alcohol use disorder.
- Steady drinking over time. This can also lead to alcohol use disorder or alcohol-related problems.
- Family history. People with a parent or close relatives with alcohol problem also stand a risk. This may also be influenced by genetic factors.
- Cultural and social factors. Keeping friends or having a close partner who drinks all the time can increase your risk for the disorder.
- Mental health problems like depression.People with mental health disorder depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder may also have problems with alcohol or other hard substances.
Alcohol is capable of depressing your central nervous system.
Too much alcohol intake can affect your muscle coordination, speech, and some vital centers of your brain. When you take too much alcohol, it has an impact on your health and also for your safety.
Impact On Your Health
Here are some of the health problems that can arise for drinking too much alcohol on a single occasion or over time:
- Digestive problems. Such as gastritis, stomach ulcers, esophageal ulcers, and pancreatitis.
- Liver Such as hepatic steatosis, alcoholic hepatitis, and also cirrhosis.
- Diabetes complications. Such as hypoglycaemia.
- Heart Such as hypertension, a risk of an enlarged heart, stroke, heart failure, and also atrial fibrillation.
- Congenital defects. Such as fetal alcohol syndrome or even miscarriage.
- Sexual Such as erectile dysfunction in men.
- Menstruation Such as menstrual interruptions.
- Eye Such as Nystagmus (involuntary rapid eye movement), weakness and paralysis of the eye muscles.
- Weak immune system.
- Bone Such as osteoporosis, an increased risk of fractures, damaged bone marrow responsible for making red blood cells.
- Neurological Such as numbness, pain in your hands and feet, dementia, disordered thinking, and short-term memory loss.
- Increased risk of Such as mouth cancer, throat cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer.
Medication And Alcohol Interactions
Some drugs interact with alcohol. This also increases its toxicity. Drinking while taking some of these drugs can either decrease or increase their effectiveness. This can make them lethal. This is also of particular concern when taking some drugs that depress the brain’s function.
Impact On Your Safety
Lots of alcohol alters your judgment skills and lower inhibitions. This leads to poor choices and dangerous situations or behaviors. They include:
- Poor performance at school or work.
- Motor accidents and other types of accidental injury, like drowning.
- The risk of attempted or completed suicide.
- Relationship problems.
- Problems with substance abuse.
- Increased risk of causing violent crimes.
- Increased risk of being the victim of a crime.
- Legal problems.
- Problems with money or employment.
- Engaging in risky and unprotected sex.
- Becoming a victim of date rape or sexual abuse.
Treatments And Drugs
Treatments for alcohol use disorder vary, and also depend on your needs. Treatment may also involve a brief intervention, an outpatient program, individual or group counselling, or a residential inpatient stay.
Treatment for alcohol use disorder can also include:
- Psychological counselling. This helps you to understand your problem better. It also supports recovery from the psychological aspect of alcohol use.
- Detoxification and withdrawal.The withdrawal is medically managed. Detox is often done at an inpatient treatment hospital.
- Learning skills and establishing a treatment plan.This often involves alcohol treatment specialists. It also involves goal setting, use of some self-help manuals, behavior change techniques, counselling and follow-up care at a treatment hospital.
- Oral medications.A drug like disulfiram (Antabuse) helps to prevent you from drinking. This drug will not cure alcohol use disorder or remove the urge to drink. This drug produces a physical reaction like nausea, flushing, headaches and vomiting whenever you drink. Drugs like Naltrexone (Revia) blocks the good feelings that alcohol causes. This can prevent heavy drinking and also reduce the cravings to drink. Acamprosate (Campral) helps in combating alcohol urges when you stop drinking.
- Injected medication.A drug like Vivitrol is injected once a month by a health professional.
- Continuing support. Support groups help people recovering from alcohol use disorder to cope manage relapses and also stop drinking with some necessary lifestyle changes.
- Treating psychological problems.Psychotherapy is given if you have mental health problems like depression, anxiety.
- Medical treatment for health