Alcohol use disorder

Alcohol use disorder

Alcohol is a psychoactive substance with properties leading to addiction. It has been widely used for centuries in many cultures. However,the harmful use of this substance implies a heavy social and economic burden for societies.Moreover, there are different mental pathologies associated with its consumption. One of them is the disorder of alcohol consumption.

Causal relationships between harmful use and the incidence of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV have recently been established. In addition, alcohol consumption by a pregnant woman can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome and prenatal complications.

The problem of non-responsible drinking

Alcohol consumption is a causative factor in more than 200 diseases and disorders.It is associated with the risk of developing mental health problems, including alcoholism.

There are important noncommunicable diseases such as liver cirrhosis, certain types of cancer, cardiovascular diseases that are linked to uncontrolled consumption, as well as trauma and traffic accidents.In addition, alcohol has an impact on the evolution of disorders that many people suffer.

The disorder of alcohol consumption

Alcohol use disorder is defined as a set of behavioral and physical symptoms. Among them, we can note the abstinence, the tolerance and the intense desire to consume.

Abstinence is characterized by symptoms that develop between 4 and 12 hours after the reduction in consumption.Especially after prolonged and intense ingestion of alcohol. Abstinence can be very unpleasant. People can therefore continue to drink to avoid or relieve symptoms.

Some of these symptoms may persist for several months, at low intensity, and lead to a relapse. Once a pattern of repetitive and intense consumption develops, people with a drinking disordercan use a lot of their time to get and consume alcoholic beverages.

After continuous consumption of similar amounts of alcohol, the effect of alcohol decreases.The person therefore needs to increase the doses to be able to feel the initial effect.This loss of sensitivity and the need to increase the amount of alcohol characterize tolerance.

When to drink alcohol turns into an irrefutable desire

The intense desire to consume alcohol is distinguished by a great urgency or the need to drink quickly that prevents thinking of anything else.In other words, the spirit of the alcoholic person focuses completely on the drink.

Thus, the academic and professional performance deteriorate little by little. This is due to the effects of consumption or intoxication in the workplace or study.There is also great neglect in the education of children or domestic responsibilities.Academic absenteeism and work is also common.

The person could consume alcohol in dangerous circumstances(for example, driving, working with a machine …). She could also continue to drink knowing that this leads to significant problems. Physical, psychological and social problems.

How is the disorder of alcohol consumption diagnosed?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) establishes a series of criteria for diagnosing this disorder.These are the following:

AT.Problematic boss of alcohol consumptionwhich causes clinically significant deterioration or malaise. It manifests itself in at least two of the following facts within 12 months:

  • Alcohol is consumed frequently in higher amounts or longer than previously thought.
  • There is a persistent desire or failed attempts to give up or control consumption.
  • You invest a lot of time in the activities necessary to obtain alcohol, to consume it or to recover its effects.
  • Powerful desire, anguish or need to consume alcohol.
  • Recurrent consumption of alcohol that leads to non-fulfillment of basic duties. This applies to work, school, home …
  • Continued consumption of alcohol despite the presence of social or interpersonal problemspersistent or recurrent. These can be caused or exacerbated by the effects of the drink.
  • Alcohol consumption leads to the abandonment or reduction of important school, professional or recreational activities.
  • Recurrent consumption of alcohol in situations where it involves aphysical risk.
  • One continues to consume alcohol while knowing that one suffers from a physical or psychological problem.This one, persistent or recurrent, is probably caused or exacerbated by alcohol.
  • Tolerance,defined by some of the following facts:
  • 1. A need to consume larger amounts of alcohol. This is done in order to achieve the intoxication or the desired effect.
  • 2. A particularly reduced effect after continuous consumption of the same amount of alcohol.
  • Abstinence,which manifests itself in some of the following facts:
  • 1. Presence of abstinence syndrome characteristic of alcohol.
  • 2. Alcohol (or a similar substance) is consumed to relieve or prevent symptoms of abstinence.

A problem with solutions

The disorder of alcohol consumptionis usually associated with the same problems that cause the consumption of other substances.These may be cannabis, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, sedatives, hypnotics or anxiolytics). The risk factors are as follows:

  • Consistent consumption.Drinking regularly or having high alcohol consumption on a continuous basis can lead to addiction or other problems with this substance.
  • Age.People who consume alcohol at an early age and with high doses are more likely to suffer from a drinking disorder.
  • Family history.The risk of having a drinking disorder is greater in people who have parents with alcohol problems.
  • Depression and mental health problems.Some mental disorders such as depression or anxiety are related to problems with alcohol or other types of substances.
  •  Social and cultural factors.Social relationships, with the environment and culture, can increase the risk of having a drinking disorder.

Alcohol can also be used to relieve the side effects of other substances.Or to substitute them if they are not available.

As we see,excessive alcohol consumption is problematic. It can turn into trouble if a set of criteria is met.Nevertheless, this disorder has solutions. Consulting a specialist is the most recommended thing. He can detail the different types of treatments available. The patient will be able to know who is the one who best adapts to his problem.

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