What is Alcohol Use Disorder and Alcohol Dependence Disorder?
Alcohol dependence disorder is also termed alcoholism and alcohol addiction. It is characterized by a condition where a person is unable to stop drinking even after they have experienced negative consequences. It is a chronic condition that affects the person’s physical health, behavior, and interactions with others.
An individual is addicted to alcohol when they cannot control their desire for alcohol and they keep drinking alcohol in large amounts. When their alcohol intake reaches the intoxication level and they engage in this behavior frequently, it results in an alcohol use disorder.
A person is addicted when they have faced negative health, psychological, or social effects but they continue to drink. Once a certain threshold is reached the person will be unable to reduce their alcohol intake because of the severe physical symptoms they will experience.
What are the types of Alcohol Dependence Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder?
There are two types of alcohol use disorder:
- Late onset of alcohol use.
- Chances are low of being dependent on alcohol.
- Feeling guilty and ashamed about drinking.
- Presence of health issues related to alcohol use is less.
- Early onset of alcohol use.
- High risk of severe dependence.
- No feeling of guilt and shame for the use of alcohol.
- Alcohol use causes severe health issues.
What are risk factors of Alcohol use disorder and Alcohol Dependence disorder?
When and how much consumption of alcohol in a person’s social circle or community effects the amount of alcohol intake.
Alcohol is legal and easily available.
Research suggests that alcoholism is higher in males compared to females.
- Continuous drinking overtime:
If someone keeps drinking alcohol steadily over time, there is a higher risk of becoming dependent on alcohol.
- Early onset of alcohol use.
Consuming alcohol at a young age increases the chances of developing alcohol dependence disorder.
What are the causes of alcohol use disorder?
- Family History:
Alcohol use disorder is highly associated with family history of alcoholism.
- Mental Health disorders:
Sometimes alcohol intake can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression temporarily. This temporary relief leads the person to drink more often.
- Childhood trauma:
One of the most important causes of alcohol abuse is a severe trauma.
Many people drink socially which can provoke dependence on it.
What are symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder and Alcohol Dependence Disorder?
These conditions can be characterized by following signs and symptoms:
- Inability to limit the intake of alcohol.
- Efforts to stop or limit the use of alcohol resulting in failed attempts.
- Individual keeps consuming or recovering from alcohol.
- Desire to drink alcohol increases day by day.
- Inability to fulfil job responsibilities.
- In students, this disorder results in a poor academic performance.
- Limited social life.
- Becoming physically tolerant to the amount of alcohol used and need to consume more to reach the desired effect.
What are the complications of Alcohol Use Disorder and Alcohol Dependence Disorder?
Alcohol abuse can severely affect mental and physical health. The followng are the common complications seen with alcohol abuse:
- Destruction to internal organs such as the liver, heart, and brain. Some of ways organs become damaged is the development of liver disease, gastrointestinal bleeding, esophageal cancer, stroke, hypertension, and cardiac arrhythmias.
- Excessive alcohol use causes many neurological disorders.
Delirium Tremors/Withdrawal syndrome:
When a heavy alcohol user tries to stop drinking the body goes into physical withdrawal. They develop increased heart beat, excessive sweating, tremors, irritability, mood swings, seizures, dementia, and sleep problems.
Diagnosis of Alcohol Use Disorder and Alcohol Dependence Disorder:
Diagnosis must be made using a proper physical examination to find out to what extent alcohol abuse has effected the person’s organs and overall physical well being. Psychological examination is also necessary for the diagnosis.
- The Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, DSM-5, is often used in conjunction with the physical and psychological examination.
- Alcohol abusers must restrict the intake of alcohol.
- Avoid alcohol use after experiencing health or social problems.
- Avoid family or friends who encourage drinking.
When to see a doctor for Alcohol Dependence Disorder?
- If drinking alcohol more than intended
- All the efforts to cut down the alcohol usage fails.
- Drinking in excess and it is interfering daily functioning.
- If depression or anxiety is present.
- Therapy: Counseling is important with alcohol use disorder and alcohol dependence disorder. If the person is sincerely motivated to stop, therapy will help to change thinking patterns and triggers that promote alcohol use.
- Withdrawal of alcohol:
Withdrawal must be medically managed to prevent seizures and minimize withdrawal symptoms.
Oral and injected medications such as disulfiram and Vivitrol may be used by health professionals to help avoid using alcohol. These medications may not directly cure the disorder but they can help with coping with it.
- Motivation and Support:
The person must be motivated to stop or no therapeutic or family intervention will work.