The Nature Of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is an addictive disorder characterized by an uncontrollable desire and tendency to consume alcohol beyond levels that are considered healthy to a human body. People suffering from alcoholism or alcohol dependence find it almost impossible to fight the compulsion to drink despite the habit's impact on their health and personal lives.
Factors Behind the Development of the Condition
So far, no study is able to nail down the biological mechanism that can explain why some people become dependent on alcohol. However, certain risk factors have been identified, which can cause an individual to become addicted to alcohol.
One such factor is genetic predisposition. A person with an alcoholic father or mother is said to be more likely to acquire the habit. The type of environment or the social circle to which a person belongs also plays a role on how he or she copes with alcohol. Other elements like stress, ethnicity and age are also believed to be risk factors of alcoholism.
Physical and Psychological impact
In the long run, a person who suffers from alcoholism can develop a number of physical conditions that are direct results of his or her dependence on alcohol. cirrhosis , heart disease, sexual dysfunction, pancreatitis and nutritional deficiencies are the most common results of long-term alcoholism.
Addiction to alcohol can also cause psychiatric problems, including cognitive imbalance, mental disturbances and dementia. Studies have shown that around ten percent of dementia cases are related to alcohol dependence. Alcoholics, particularly those who have been dependent on alcohol for a long time, may also suffer from anxiety and depression.
In most cases, alcoholics are the last persons who will admit that they have a problem with alcohol. Through the years, certain screening methods have been developed to help doctors and health specialists determine whether a person's alcohol consumption has reached a level when it can be categorized as an alcohol addiction.
The most popular screening method being used nowadays is the CAGE questionnaire. This method is comprised of four questions, ranging from a person's reaction to being criticized for drinking to whether he or she feels any guilt when drinking. The questionnaire is commonly used to determine whether an individual is in need of further professional help or more advanced treatments for alcoholism.
Treatment for the Condition
There are several ways being used to help alcoholics recover from their addiction. Depending on the severity of the condition, persons who have become dependent on alcohol may undergo detoxification, psychotherapy or be prescribed certain medications formulated to create discomfort when a patient consumes alcohol.
Medically speaking, alcoholism is a disease; albeit a treatable one. Its impact on the physical and mental health of a person can be fatal, hence the increased attention being given to this condition by physicians and health experts.