Alcoholism is a disease caused by the systematic use of alcoholic beverages, which affects not only health, but also everyday life and family life. Alcoholism is rightfully considered one of the most serious problems of modern society, moreover, the availability of alcohol contributes to the spread of alcohol dependence among the population, especially negatively affects adolescents. In order for a person to get rid of the irresistible desire to take alcohol, he needs to make a tremendous effort. Alcohol dependence is one of the most common diseases. In a number of countries, the prevalence of alcohol dependence reaches 75% among the male population. Recently, there has been an increase in alcohol dependence among women and adolescent children.
Alcoholism is a disease related to one of the types of drug addiction, since alcohol acts on the central nervous system like a drug. Specialists should be involved in the treatment of any disease. As is often the case, it is almost impossible to cope with the problem of alcoholism on your own. Therefore, timely seeking help from specialists will help restore health and begin the process of recovery – a way out of addiction. People with certain psychological characteristics use alcoholic beverages, it seems to them, to solve various psychological problems: depression, stress, fatigue, neuroses, family and personal problems, conflicts with the outside world, dissatisfaction, loneliness, timidity, psychological discomfort. However, this is not a solution, but an exacerbation of existing problems.
A person who likes to spend an evening in good company with a glass of wine or beer cannot yet be called an alcoholic or suspected of being addicted. However, if such a pastime occurs on a regular basis, day after day, there is a reason for the development of addiction. What is considered alcoholism:
- physical dependence on alcohol;
- the appearance of an irresistible craving for a strong drink;
- inappropriate behavior;
- unmotivated aggression towards others.
It should be noted that it is necessary to distinguish between such concepts as regular consumption of alcohol and alcohol dependence. As a rule, the development of dependence is preceded by a period of regular alcohol consumption. Researchers identify the following motivations for regular drinking:
- hedonistic – alcohol intake is associated with a thirst for pleasure. The reasoning boils down to the following: “Why should I deny myself the pleasure of drinking, because life is one, the other will not be like that. And in general, why live if there is no pleasure ”;
- ataractic – alcohol is used to alleviate affective disorders, relieve the state of emotional stress, anxiety, anxiety, uncertainty. “Doctor, I had to disconnect from unpleasant memories”;
- submissive – alcohol consumption is associated with increased obedience, inability to resist the environment. “I drink like everyone else, I don’t want to be a black sheep”;
- with hyperactivation of behavior – alcohol is used as a doping, in order to raise the tone, increase activity and improve performance. “I drink when I’m tired to cheer up”;
- pseudo-cultural – alcohol is used in order to attract the attention of others with a complex cocktail recipe, rare brands of wines. Such patients consider themselves to be subtle connoisseurs of alcohol;
- traditional – alcohol is consumed on authorized holidays.
Stages of addiction development
As with any disease, there are standard developmental stages for alcohol dependence, namely:
- formation stage;
- active stage;
- terminal stage.
Each of the stages characterizes the psychological and physical condition of the patient. The main factors that play a role in the formation of addiction:
- Social factor. The number of stressful situations, material living standards, urbanization, information overload.
- Hereditary factor, according to Altshuller’s research, about 30% of children whose parents were addicted to alcohol become alcoholics.
- Individual psychological state of a person, the level of social adaptation.
- General toxic effect of alcohol on the human body: Membrane destruction. Alcohol is capable of disrupting the structure of membranes, changing their permeability, while severely disrupting the system of transmembrane movement.
- The negative effect of alcohol metabolism products. After overcoming the hematoencephalic defense, fusel oils and acetaldehyde activate the release, interacting with norepinephrine and dopamine, thereby stimulating the psyche and hallucinogenic attacks.
- Metabolic changes. Disorders in the work of fat metabolism, as a result of which patients are found to have fatty degeneration of the liver or atherosclerosis.
Causes and signs of alcohol addiction
Alcoholism, as a deviant behavior, has a root cause. This is an occasion that can arise spontaneously, problems that gradually accumulate. The reason and its influence depend on the individual stability of the personality. Strong people try to deal with a problem, no matter how difficult it may seem. They fight fear and move forward purposefully. An alcoholic is a person who does not live in the future or the present. He is guided by the past (setbacks, problems, trauma).
The problem of alcoholism arises from the following reasons:
- experienced traumatic event; mental disorders (aggravated phobias, obsessive thoughts);
- problems with work, personal life;
- personal crises.
The event that caused the addiction is perceived by the individual as traumatic. For other people, the same problem is not difficult or unbearable. A personality is formed from childhood, and any mental disorders at this age result in dependence in adulthood. The upbringing of a person is also important: if a child grows up in a family where his parents drink, he develops a wrong perception of alcohol and the reasons for drinking it.
Signs of alcohol dependence are:
- drinking is becoming more frequent: reasons to drink – more and more;
- the thought of drinking began to improve mood;
- there was not enough alcohol consumed at events and there was a need to “catch up”;
- intoxication became deeper and behavior during intoxication changed;
- memory blackouts began to appear after a binge;
- the reaction to an alcoholic state changed: it became “bad without alcohol”, if earlier it was “good” from it;
- intoxicated state caused the loss of things, documents, minor injuries, spatial and temporal disorientation.
Among drinking people, it is customary to distinguish:
- abstainers (they will drink 100 g of wine 2-3 times a year);
- casual consumers (from once every 2-3 months to 1-2 times a month, 50-150 g of vodka or other drink identical to this amount of vodka);
- moderate consumers (1-4 times a month, 100-300 g of vodka or identical alcohol);
- systematic drunkards (1-2 times a week, 200-400 g of vodka or identical alcohol);
- habitual drunkards (2 times or more during the week, 300-500 g of vodka or identical alcohol).
- Increased anxiety.
- Tendency to mood swings.
- Increased excitability.
- Reduced control over their actions.
The reason for the emergence of alcohol addiction is a deluded consciousness – a lack of understanding of oneself and the surrounding world – a distorted worldview. Psychological changes in a person are most often present before the onset of a serious alcoholic illness.
Such a person often experiences depression and anxiety, has obsessions. Many begin to use alcohol out of despair, others believe that alcohol gives them the opportunity to rest, relax after working days. Subsequently, as a rule, this causes the need for regular consumption of alcoholic beverages, which in the future leads to the emergence of dependence. There are two forms of addiction – psychological and physical.
Stages of alcoholic intoxication
There are 6 stages of alcohol intoxication:
- Euphoria. This state is characterized by the appearance of a feeling of happiness and fun. Usually occurs immediately after the first dose of alcohol. At this stage, there is a decrease in concentration of attention, a slowdown in reactions, a feeling of confidence and emancipation appears. A person can start doing and saying things and words that are unusual for him.
- Loss of control. This is the stage at which a person begins to perceive information more difficult, the reaction is slow, and vision can become blurred. At this stage, it becomes more difficult to maintain balance, a feeling of drowsiness appears.
- Confusion of consciousness. At this point, the ability to correctly perceive color, shape, size and movement disappears. Muscle coordination is impaired, which can lead to loss of balance and fall. Speech becomes incoherent, emotionality rises.
- Stupor. At this stage of alcoholic intoxication, a complete loss of motor functions occurs. There are frequent cases of vomiting, loss of control of the intestines and bladder.
- Coma. Loss of consciousness occurs. Body temperature can rise or fall sharply. Breathing and circulation problems sometimes occur.
- Death. Respiratory arrest occurs, death occurs.
Three stages of pathological alcohol addiction:
1. The first stage is characterized by the appearance in a person of a strong desire to take alcohol, even if the desire is exacerbated once a week, this is already a sign. Such a person is not aware of the danger of what is happening, and prefers to satisfy the need, rather than fight it. Control over the amount of alcohol consumed is lost. A person becomes aggressive and irritable, which catches the eye of others. At this stage with the onset of a hangover, there is no need to get drunk.
2. The second stage – an increase in tolerance to alcohol, “more alcohol – the stronger the state of intoxication.” The addiction becomes very strong, the amount of alcohol intake is constantly growing. The difference between the first stage and the second is determined by the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms. If the desire to drink alcohol is not satisfied, then a number of mechanisms are launched that worsen the physical and mental state of a person.
At the second stage, irritability increases, blood pressure rises, tremors appear in the hands, heartbeat increases, and frequent insomnia. In addition to physical symptoms, psychosis may begin, accompanied by hallucinations. Such conditions are extremely dangerous both for the alcoholic himself and for those around him. Due to the reluctance to admit such severe symptoms, the alcoholic continues to take alcohol, which subsequently leads to binge drinking. A person who is addicted to alcohol can stay at this stage for a very long time, sometimes until the end of his life.
3. The third final stage is characterized by the fact that alcohol tolerance drops dramatically, that is, a small enough amount of alcohol in order to get drunk. Withdrawal symptoms are pronounced, leading to total dependence on alcohol. Such a personality begins to change for the worse – degradation, the ability to think correctly completely disappears. Alcoholism leads to dire consequences, because this disease affects society and worsens the genotype of the entire nation. Therefore, we must focus on prevention, delve into the study of this terrible disease – addiction.
Symptoms of female alcoholism
The symptoms of alcoholism in women and men are different. Society disapproves of female drunkenness. When men openly drink at home or at festive corporate parties, women do it quietly so as not to provoke rumors or condemnation. Alcohol addiction dramatically increases the risk of losing your job, your beloved husband, and your relationship with your family. Therefore, women do not even try to talk about their addiction to someone from the environment, fearing to face misunderstanding and negativity.
Gradually drinking a glass of vodka or wine after work is becoming the norm. And relatives do not even notice the first signs of alcoholism in a woman:
- suddenly increased interest in feasts, corporate parties, meetings with friends;
- often unreasonably high spirits;
- decreased interest in self-care, the appearance of disheveled, unkempt appearance;
- attempts to mask the smell of alcohol with gum, candy, perfume;
- change in voice (it becomes rougher);
- the appearance of nervousness, emotional imbalance.
Symptoms of male alcoholism
Male alcoholism develops more slowly than female alcoholism. The degree of progression of the disease, the severity of symptoms of alcohol dependence depends on the intensity of alcohol consumption, on the general condition of the man’s body. If at the initial stage it is enough to drink a small amount of alcohol for light intoxication, then later the dose of alcoholic beverages will only increase. Signs of alcoholism in a man depend on the duration of the addiction. The longer a person drinks, the worse his mental and physical condition.
The main signs of alcoholism in men:
- inclination to noisy companies, feasts;
- tolerance to drinkers, drinking alcohol;
- a gradual increase in the dose of alcohol;
- a tendency to prolonged drinking;
- the appearance of edema on the face;
- loss of interest in loved ones, previous hobbies;
- changing the circle of friends, abandoning old habits, a healthy lifestyle.
Compulsory treatment of alcoholism is absolutely ineffective, therefore, the patient’s desire, conscious or not fully conscious, is necessary for treatment.
As a rule, anonymous treatment for alcoholism is carried out, so there is no need to worry about neighbors or colleagues finding out about the problem. If you wish, you can organize the treatment of alcoholism at home by inviting a narcologist or psychiatrist.
Today, a lot of pharmacopoeial drugs have been developed that effectively contribute to the fight against malicious alcohol cravings.
All medicines aimed at liberation from pathological bondage are conditionally divided into the following groups:
- means that develop a dislike for alcohol-containing liquids (Torpedo, Disulfiram, Kolma);
- substances that stop the urge to consume the next portion of an intoxicating drink (Metadoxil, Balansin);
- medicines that eliminate withdrawal symptoms (Medichronal, Alka-Seltser, Alka-Prim);
- drugs aimed at correcting psychological problems caused by alcohol consumption (Promazin, Haloperidol, Diazepam);
- agents that significantly reduce the destructive effect of ethanol on the body (Biotredin, Glycine, Rekitsen RD).
Determining alcohol dependence in a patient is not difficult for a narcologist, and even more so in the last stages. Diagnostics begins with questioning the patient: how long does he drink alcohol, in what quantities and how much, whether there were binges, hangovers, etc. And at the stage of progression of alcoholism, the patient can already be identified by external signs, such as turbidity of the eye proteins, redness faces, sparse tousled hair, expressionless facial expressions, reminiscent of grimaces.
Help in getting rid of alcoholism is available to everyone, the only question is that not all alcoholics realize that they are sick, and relatives often turn to doctors. There are several ways to treat a patient, and they are usually used in a complex way – all at once or some of them:
- Detoxification is needed to cleanse the body of alcohol and its decay products. After refusing alcohol, the patient is injected intravenously with special solutions. If the patient is able to survive without alcohol for 5-7 days, then this point of treatment can be skipped.
- Drug therapy – the introduction into the body of drugs containing disulfiram (a substance incompatible with ethanol) and elements that cause aversion to alcoholic beverages. The effect is based largely on the person’s fear of grave consequences after drinking the bottle, so he is forced to stop drinking for the period of the drug’s effect (from 6 months to 5 years).
- Psychological help. Working with a psychologist encourages a person to realize the reasons and motives of their behavior, tune in to a sober life and sort out their own problems.
- Social rehabilitation – helping a person to return to normal life, establish social contacts. The method has only recently begun to be used in Russia.
- Rationing. This method is usually suitable only for the treatment of alcohol dependence in the first stage. The narcologist, together with the patient, determines the dosage that is permissible to use. However, complete abstinence is only encouraged.
Alcohol dependence coding includes various techniques:
Hypnotic coding. The technique is carried out by introducing mental attitudes based on various vivid emotional factors, such as awakening a sense of responsibility towards the family or fear of death;
Laser coding. The essence of the technique is laser action on the patient’s brain areas, which are responsible for the existence of addiction, in order to reduce the craving for alcohol;
Medicamentous coding. The patient is injected with a special drug, as a rule, subcutaneously, which constantly enters the bloodstream, and in the case of alcohol consumption leads to a serious health disorder. As a result, the person develops an aversion to alcohol.
Treatment of alcoholism at home
Treatment of alcohol addiction at home is carried out on the basis of herbs. It is not recommended to use medications on your own, since their intake should be monitored by a doctor. Herbal therapy is carried out in a specific sequence depending on the properties of the plant used. When preparing tea or infusion, it should be borne in mind that a portion of water is equal to 1 cup (250 milliliters) of boiling water.
The types of plants, depending on the effect, are:
- drugs that cause aversion to alcohol;
- herbs with a detoxifying effect;
- plants with a tonic effect.
Drugs that cause alcohol dislike
Herbs that cause aversion to alcohol are:
Herbs with a detoxifying effect
Long-term use of alcoholic beverages causes a deterioration in the physiological state of patients. Adverse changes are triggered by a breakdown product of alcohol called acetaldehyde. Herbal decoctions with a detoxifying effect will help to cope with poor health.
Herbs that will help remove acetaldehyde from the body are:
- John’s wort;
- Birch buds.
Plants with a tonic effect
To speed up the recovery process, patients undergoing treatment for alcoholism are advised to use drugs with a tonic effect.
Herbs with a tonic effect are:
- Chinese lemongrass;
Any tonic should be taken in a course of 3 to 4 weeks. Taking medications before bedtime can make it difficult to fall asleep.
Treatment of alcoholism without the knowledge of the patient
Treatment of alcoholism without the participation of the patient does not give a lasting result, since for a complete cure, the patient’s conscious refusal to drink alcohol is necessary. This method acts as an auxiliary method in combination with other types of therapy. With the help of a number of pharmacological drugs, the patient can be removed from a long binge. Medications can also be used to help relieve hangover symptoms. All these means can be used without the patient being notified. But then you need to see a doctor who will select the optimal method of treatment and help the alcoholic overcome the craving for alcohol. Medical assistance cannot be provided without the consent of the patient.
The means for treating alcoholism without the knowledge of the patient are:
- colme drops;
- proprietary 100;
It is also worth considering the contraindications when taking certain drugs. It is necessary to consult with specialists.