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Alcohol abuse

Alcohol abuse

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Alcohol abuse, as described in the DSM-IV, is a psychiatric diagnosis describing the recurring use of alcoholic beverage
Alcoholic beverage
An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits. They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption...

s despite negative consequences. Alcohol abuse eventually progresses to alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

, a condition in which an individual becomes dependent on alcoholic beverages in order to avoid undesirable symptoms. There are two types of alcoholics: people who cannot control their drinking once they start consuming- but can go long periods of time without doing it, and there are people who turn to alcohol for pleasure and in substitution for their anti-social behaviour . However, many definitions of alcoholism exist, and only some are compatible with alcohol abuse. Binge drinking
Binge drinking
Binge drinking or heavy episodic drinking is the modern epithet for drinking alcoholic beverages with the primary intention of becoming intoxicated by heavy consumption of alcohol over a short period of time. It is a kind of purposeful drinking style that is popular in several countries worldwide,...

 is another form of alcohol abuse. Frequent binge drinking or getting severely drunk more than twice is classed as alcohol misuse.

Researchers believe that genetics play an important role in alcoholism. There is a relationship between heredity and alcoholism, which in this case, the alcoholic has limited control over.

Definitions


Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that results in harm to one’s health, interpersonal relationships, or ability to work. According to Gelder, Mayou & Geddes (2005) alcohol abuse is linked with suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

. They state the risk of suicide is high in older men who have a history of drinking, also if a person is suffering from depression. Certain manifestations of alcohol abuse include failure to fulfill responsibilities at work, school or home; drinking in dangerous situations, such as while driving; legal problems associated with alcohol use; and continued drinking despite problems that are caused or worsened by drinking. Alcohol abuse can lead to alcohol dependence
Alcohol dependence
Alcohol dependence, as described in the DSM-IV, is a psychiatric diagnosis describing an entity in which an individual uses alcohol despite significant areas of dysfunction, evidence of physical dependence, and/or related hardship.-Definition and diagnosis:According to the DSM-IV criteria for...

.

Alcohol abuse has both short-term and long-term risks. If a person has driven while drunk or regularly binge drinks (more than 5 standard drinks in one drinking session), they are considered to have been involved in alcohol abuse. Short-term abuses of alcohol include, but are not limited to, violence, injuries, unprotected sexual activities and additionally social and financial problems.

An alcohol abuser is different from an alcoholic since an alcohol abuser still has some ability to set a limit on their drinking. However, an alcohol abuser tends to be self-destructive and sometimes leads to home violence or crimes due to the consumption of alcohol.

People who spend too much drinking alcohol have high chances of hurting others verbally and physically. Heavy drinking results in not thinking clearly. Addiction to alcohol not only damages a person's physical health, but also affects a person's relationship with their family. Addiction to alcohol can lead to diseases such as different kinds of cancers, alcohol hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, low blood pressure, to name a few.

History and Evolution of the concept of Alcoholism
It was during the 19th century that lead European physicians to attempt to define the condition we now call alcohol dependance.
Perhaps the best known early scholar in the area of alcohol dependance was Magnus Huss, who is credited with creating the term chronic alcoholismand who noted that there was little in the way of a clear boundary between this condition and other mental disorders. <>

Binge Drinking



In the USA, binge drinking
Binge drinking
Binge drinking or heavy episodic drinking is the modern epithet for drinking alcoholic beverages with the primary intention of becoming intoxicated by heavy consumption of alcohol over a short period of time. It is a kind of purposeful drinking style that is popular in several countries worldwide,...

 is defined as consuming more than 5 drinks in men and 4 drinks in women. It increases chances for vandalism
Vandalism
Vandalism is the behaviour attributed originally to the Vandals, by the Romans, in respect of culture: ruthless destruction or spoiling of anything beautiful or venerable...

, fights, injuries, drunk driving, trouble with police
Police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

, and negative health, social, economic, or legal consequences to occur. Binge drinking is also associated with neurocognitive deficits of frontal lobe processing and impaired working memory as well as delayed auditory and verbal memory deficits.
Binge drinking combined with the stress of returning to work is a contributing factor to many deaths from heart attacks.
http://web4health.info/en/answers/add-alcohol-longrun.htm. http://www.bma-wellness.com/papers/Addiction_Lies_Rel.html

Symptoms & Signs


Symptoms are the defining characteristic of alcohol abuse and are reviewed above in Definitions. Patient will often complain of difficulty with interpersonal relationships, problems at work or school, and legal problems. Additionally patients do complain of irritability and insomnia
Insomnia
Insomnia is most often defined by an individual's report of sleeping difficulties. While the term is sometimes used in sleep literature to describe a disorder demonstrated by polysomnographic evidence of disturbed sleep, insomnia is often defined as a positive response to either of two questions:...

.

Signs of alcohol abuse are related to alcohol's effects on organ systems. However, while these findings are often present, they are not necessary to make a diagnosis of alcohol abuse. Signs of alcohol's effects on the central nervous system acutely include inebriation and poor judgment; chronic anxiety, irritability, and insomnia. Alcohol's effects on the liver include elevated liver function tests (classically AST is at least twice as high as ALT). Prolonged use leads to cirrhosis
Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis is a consequence of chronic liver disease characterized by replacement of liver tissue by fibrosis, scar tissue and regenerative nodules , leading to loss of liver function...

 and failure of the liver. With cirrhosis patients develop an inability to process hormones and toxins. The skin of a patient with alcoholic cirrhosis can feature cherry angiomas, palmar erythema and - in fulminent liver failure - jaundice and ascities. The derrangements of the endocrine system lead to gynecomastia. Inability to process toxins leads to hepatic encephalopathy. Furthermore, children aged 16 and under who consume alcohol heavily display symptoms of conduct disorder (CD).It's symptoms include troublesome behaviour in school, constantly lying, learning disabilities and social impairments.

Binge drinking is associated with individuals reporting fair to poor health compared to non-binge drinking individuals and which may progressively worsen over time. Binge drinking is associated with alcohol poisoning, unintentional injuries, suicide, hypertension, pancreatitis, sexually transmitted diseases, and meningitis
Meningitis
Meningitis is inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known collectively as the meninges. The inflammation may be caused by infection with viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms, and less commonly by certain drugs...

, among other disorders. Other negative consequences include social costs (including interpersonal violence), drunk driving, and lost economic productivity. Impairments in neurophysiological and neurocognitive function can result from binge drinking. A substantial proportion of alcohol-related deaths are due to binge drinking.

Causes


Peer pressure influences individuals to abuse alcohol; however most of the influence of peers is due to inaccurate perceptions of the risks of alcohol abuse. According to Gelder, Mayou and Geddes (2005) easy accessibility of alcohol is one of the reasons people engage in alcohol abuse as this substance is easily obtained in shops.
Risk factors include having a psychiatric condition such as schizophrenia, depression, or anxiety disorders. This may lead to alcohol abuse. All drugs affect a "reward mechanism" in the brain. If a person feels good each time he or she uses a drug, it tends to make them want to use the drug again. This common feature could explain why people abuse drugs, including alcohol.

Some of the causes of alcohol abuse may have cognitive roots as experiments conducted by Cooper, Russel, and George Demonstrate that people engage in this drug due to the perceived positive effects associated with drinking. If one engages in excessive drinking, one is more likely to be perceived as "cooler, popular, attractive, and likable". In other words people engage in alcoholism in order to compensate for their lack of self confidence such as their ability to be outgoing or experiencing discomfort in the company of others and so on.

Prevention


Preventing or reducing the harm has been called for via increased taxation of alcohol, stricter regulation of alcohol advertising
Alcohol advertising
Alcohol advertising is the promotion of alcoholic beverages by alcohol producers through a variety of media. Along with tobacco advertising, it is one of the most highly-regulated forms of marketing...

 and the provision of brief Interventions. Brief Interventions for alcohol abuse reduce the incidence of unsafe sex, sexual violence, unplanned pregnancy and, likely, STD
STD
STD may refer to:* Sexually transmitted disease* Doctor of Sacred Theology * São Tomé and Príncipe dobra, the ISO 4217 code for the currency of São Tomé and Príncipe...

 transmission. Information and education on social norms and the harms associated with alcohol abuse delivered either via the internet or face to face has been found to result in a decrease in harmful drinking behaviours in young people.

Prevention strategies can be worked on to focus on the person, family, peers, and the social community.

Epidemiology


Alcohol abuse is said to be most common in people aged between 15 and 24 years: however this particular study of 7275 college students in England collected no data about other age groups or other countries.

Societal and economic costs


Alcohol abuse is associated with many accidents, fights, driving offenses, domestic abuse and unprotected sex. Alcohol is responsible in the world for 1.8 million deaths and results in disability in approximately 58.3 million people. Approximately 40 percent of the 58.3 million people disabled through alcohol abuse are disabled due to alcohol related neuropsychiatric disorders. In South Africa, where HIV infection is epidemic, alcohol abusers exposed themselves to double the risk of this infection. Additionally, alcohol abuse increases the risk of individuals either being the victim of sexual violence or perpetrating sexual violence.

Alcohol misuse costs the National Health Service
National Health Service
The National Health Service is the shared name of three of the four publicly funded healthcare systems in the United Kingdom. They provide a comprehensive range of health services, the vast majority of which are free at the point of use to residents of the United Kingdom...

 (UK) 3 billion pounds sterling per year and the cost to employers is 6.4 billion pounds sterling per year. These figures do not include the crime and social problems associated with alcohol misuse. The number of women regularly drinking alcohol has almost caught up with men.

Prognosis


Alcohol abuse during adolescence, especially early adolescence (i.e. before age 15), may lead to long-term changes in the brain which leaves them at increased risk of alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

 in later years; genetic
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 factors also influence age of onset of alcohol abuse and risk of alcoholism. For example, about 40 percent of those who begin drinking alcohol before age 15 develop alcohol dependence in later life, whereas only 10 percent of those who did not begin drinking until 20 years or older developed an alcohol problem in later life. It is not entirely clear whether this association is causal, and some researchers have been known to disagree with this view.

College/university students who are heavy binge drinkers (3 or more times in the past 2 weeks) are 19 times more likely to be diagnosed with alcohol dependence, and 13 times more likely to be diagnosed with alcohol abuse compared to non-heavy episodic drinkers, though the direction of causality remains unclear. Occasional binge drinkers (one or two times in past 2 weeks), were found to be 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with alcohol abuse or dependence compared to non-heavy episodic drinkers.

Alcopops


The introduction of alcopops, which are flavoured alcoholic drinks which have a sweet and pleasant taste was responsible in Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 for half of the increase in alcohol abuse in 15-16 year olds in a survey. In the case of girls the alcopops, which disguise the taste of alcohol, were responsible for two thirds of the increase. The introduction of alcopops to Sweden was a result of Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 joining the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and adopting the entire European Union law
European Union law
European Union law is a body of treaties and legislation, such as Regulations and Directives, which have direct effect or indirect effect on the laws of European Union member states. The three sources of European Union law are primary law, secondary law and supplementary law...

. Alcohol abuse is highly associated with adolescent suicide. Adolescents who abuse alcohol are 17 times more likely to commit suicide than adolescents who don't drink.

Association with violence


Alcohol abuse is significantly associated with suicide and violence. Alcohol is the most significant health concern in Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 communities because of very high rates of alcohol dependence
Alcohol dependence
Alcohol dependence, as described in the DSM-IV, is a psychiatric diagnosis describing an entity in which an individual uses alcohol despite significant areas of dysfunction, evidence of physical dependence, and/or related hardship.-Definition and diagnosis:According to the DSM-IV criteria for...

and abuse; up to 80 percent of suicides and 60 percent of violent acts are a result of alcohol abuse in Native American communities. This occurs due to social, cultural, and economic problems. http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1986-10152-001

The World Health Organization says alcohol abuse is the third leading cause of death and disability in the world. A new WHO report says the harmful use of alcohol kills 2.5 million people a year.

The overuse of alcohol has led to 16% of intoxicated people that have abused children. Abusing children can also come in the form of verbal abuse while under the influence, as well as physical abuse. Alcohol can impair one's judgment and make emotions more easily emphasized, such as anger towards a minor topic, which can cause them to become dangerous.

External links

  • www.dassa.sa.gov.au
  • Rethinking Drinking, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  • Recovery REALM, Online Addiction Recovery Community featuring 12 step meetings