More substantial amounts of alcohol cause cognitive disorders, speech problems, and coordination disorders. In the worst case, alcohol poisoning can lead to death from circulatory failure or respiratory arrest. Psychologically speaking, alcohol dependency comes with a disinhibition to use, which can end up being a complete loss of control around the substance. This makes accidents or ill-considered acts under the influence of alcohol more likely. Alcohol may cause physical and psychological harm to an unborn child during pregnancy as well.
Symptoms of chronic alcohol abuse
Alcohol also acts as a cytotoxin. Regular and excessive alcohol consumption leads to:
- Liver damage
- Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and the pancreas
- Cardiovascular disease
- Brain damage
Alcohol abuse also increases the risk of cancer around the mouth, throat, and esophagus. Withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, trembling and restlessness occur. The risk of anxiety and depression increases. Frequent consequences of alcohol dependence include social exclusion, family problems and the loss of friends or work.
Typical signs of alcoholism can be the hiding of alcohol from family and friends and drinking in private. To learn how to spot the signs of an alcoholic, click here.
Examinations & diagnosis
If you suspect an alcohol addiction, the doctor first clarifies the typical symptoms and behavior in a conversation:
- How often does the individual drink?
- How often does the user think about alcohol?
- Has he or she already reduced their alcohol intake and how did they feel then?
- What causes a person to drink alcohol?
- Does the person have any physical symptoms such as sleeping, shaking, sweating?
Additional information indicates certain blood levels, such as liver enzymes. If the suspicion grows, a referral to a specialist or clinic usually takes place.
Opportunities and benefits of addiction rehab
Alcohol addiction cannot be “cured.” However, most of those affected manage to give up alcohol consumption and become “dry” through rehab. Experts recommend visiting a rehab facility after going through withdrawal symptoms. This is especially effective when done inside an in-patient clinic.
Eighty-five percent of all patients who undergo detoxification without subsequent weaning tend to relapse. Visiting a rehab center improves the person’s chances considerably. One year after treatment, around 70 percent are still sober.