Why do people drink alcohol?
People drink alcohol for various reasons and at various frequencies. People drink for social reasons to and believe it helps them socialize. Sometimes they drink because they use alcohol as a way of coping with stress. Other times it is due to peer pressure and because their friends drink etc.
Why do people become dependent on alcohol?
Some people who start drinking start getting dependent on alcohol. There are various factors that influence why a person would get dependent on alcohol. Genetics is also known to play a part. One’s personality, ability to cope with stress, cultural factors, the environment one is in, availability of alcohol all influences if a person will get dependent on alcohol.
What is craving?
Craving is defined as an intense longing such as for alcohol. Its components include longing to fulfil a desire and the necessity to avoid withdrawal symptoms by using the substance.
What does alcohol dependence mean?
Alcohol dependence is defined as a strong and uncontrollable urge for alcohol and is often concerning since it can put the person’s mental and physical health at risk and will need medical input.
What are the criteria for alcohol dependence?
International Classification of diseases which classifies various diseases in the world by the World Health Organization uses certain criteria for diagnosing alcohol dependence. Where 3 or more of the following, such as strong desire or compulsion to take alcohol, inability to control consuming alcohol, having symptoms of withdrawal on stopping alcohol, using more and more alcohol to get desired psychological effect, neglecting normal activities and persisting with use of alcohol despite its harmful consequences. When 3 or more of the above symptoms are present in the last year a diagnosis of alcohol dependence is made by the psychiatrist.
Is alcohol dependence a type of mental illness?
Alcohol dependence is a type of mental illness and requires treatment with a psychiatrist.
What percentage of the population is dependent on alcohol?
According to data around 1/3 of the male population (33%) and 5% of the women population consume alcohol in India. WHO reports that 7% of men and 0.4% of women suffer from alcohol dependence.
Which mental disorders are co morbid with alcohol?
Disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar depression and depression are co morbid with alcohol. It appears that people with these disorders consume alcohol at higher level and also people who consume alcohol excessively are prone to mental disorders.
How long does it take to become dependent on alcohol?
There is no set time before one starts to get dependent on alcohol. However, if one regularly exceeds the recommended allowance of alcohol of 14 units per week and binge drinks regularly, then it is more likely that one will become dependent on alcohol.
Does drinking everyday make you alcohol dependent?
Drinking every day is more likely to make a person dependent on alcohol and develop tolerance. Even when adhering to the maximum 14 units a week it is better to leave few alcohol-free days a week and not drink more than 3 units at one go.
What happens when a person is dependent on alcohol?
When a person is dependent on alcohol, they may start showing withdrawal symptoms if they reduce the amount they drink. They may crave alcohol strongly and may find it difficult to control the urge to drink. They may start taking increasing quantity of alcohol to achieve the desired effects and start neglecting their everyday activities. They may lose interest in their studies or job.
How do I know if I have a problem with alcohol?
If you think you have a problem with alcohol then you should talk to a psychiatrist to assess if you need help. There are some self-assessment questionnaires such as a short version of the AUDIT questionnaire with 3 questions that looks at how often you drink alcohol, the amount and whether you binge drink. It gives you a score at the end of these 3 questions. Depending on the score you can contact the psychiatrist for detailed assessment.
How to avoid risk of becoming dependent on alcohol?
Avoid alcohol totally if possible. If you cannot totally avoid, drink lesser than even the recommended weekly units. Avoid binge drinking.
Is there a genetic predisposition to becoming dependent on alcohol?
There is a risk of developing alcohol dependence if someone in your family suffers from alcohol problems. This does not mean there is a single gene which is responsible. There are several genes responsible for alcohol dependence syndrome. It is a combination of genes and environment that is responsible for expression of alcohol dependence syndrome.
How do doctors assess for alcohol dependence?
Psychiatrists assess for alcohol dependence by taking a detailed history of your drinking habits and how that affects your health. The extent of the problem is mostly revealed by the detailed assessment. The psychiatrist may then order for blood tests and scans if required before confirming diagnosis and suggesting treatment.
What kind of treatment is available for people who are dependent on alcohol?
Firstly, to come off alcohol, one may need medically supervised detox with medications. Secondly one should be supported with adequate fluids possibly intravenously. Thiamine is usually administered intravenously or intra muscularly. Following detox, options of anti-craving medications should be discussed with the patient along with COGNITIVE BEHAVIOUR THERAPY or counselling where appropriate.
Is admission necessary to come off alcohol?
Mild alcohol dependence can be treated in the community with supervision. However moderate to severe alcohol dependence need admission to detox and treat.
Why are blood tests required when treating people dependent on alcohol?
Blood tests are required to firstly diagnose alcohol dependence and then to assess the liver and renal function and any deficiencies as a result of long-term alcohol use. Also, to prescribe anti-craving medications blood tests results are important.
What do blood tests show in alcohol dependence?
Some liver enzymes may be elevated in alcohol abuse. Some biomarkers are indicative of long-term abstinence and your doctor may request those blood tests. Some changes to the total blood count results may also be found in long term alcohol abuse.
Why is the MCV value increased in alcohol dependence?
MCV is known as mean corpuscular volume or the cell volume. This can be increased in people with alcohol dependence as it can be because of vitamin deficiency or direct toxicity of alcohol on the bone marrow.
How do you test liver damage with alcohol?
Alcohol causes Alcoholic Liver disease. It is a spectrum of fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis and liver cirrhosis. It is also implicated in liver cancer. It is usually confirmed with a combination of clinical assessment, lab tests, ultrasound scan, CT or MRI scan.
What medications help people with alcohol dependence?
There are some medications that help during the stage of alcohol withdrawal. Anti-craving medications, vitamins and liver support medications will all help.
What are anti-craving medications?
Alcohol dependence can be caused by psychological and physical craving to alcohol. Anti-craving medications block these receptors associated with cues for craving. Some anti-craving medications include Naltrexone, Acamprosate and baclofen.
Can talk therapy help with alcohol dependence?
Talk therapies in the form of COGNITIVE BEHAVIOUR THERAPY AND COUNSELLING will help with alcohol dependence along with medications.
What happens if alcohol dependent people refuse to get treated?
It is possible that the person is in the stage of precontemplation. Therapy will help a person understand why he would need help.
What is the possibility of keeping off alcohol completely?
Recovery from alcohol is a life long journey and has to be supported with help of friends, family and your own motivation including taking medications, counselling and keeping off triggers. Finding alternate ways to cope with stress, alternate hobbies can all help.
What is relapse?
Relapse is a term when person who have successfully stopped alcohol start drinking alcohol again. You can prevent relapse by:
- Regular self-care
- Taking the prescribed medications
- Knowing the triggers for relapse are all important to prevent relapse.