Signs and Symptoms
- Craving for alcohol
- Inability to control drinking habits
- Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety, when alcohol use is stopped after a period of heavy drinking
- Tolerance (the need for increasing amounts of alcohol in order to feel its effects)
- Psychological, social, occupational dysfunction
- Malnutrition, anorexia
- Cardiovascular symptoms (leading cause of death)
- Increased levels of cancer (second leading cause of death)
- Repeated infections—for example, tuberculosis, urinary tract infections
- Lung conditions—complicated by smoking; for example, respiratory failure, pneumonia
- Central nervous system disorders—unsteady gait or stance; cognitive impairment; psychiatric manifestations (for example, mood, anxiety, psychotic disorders); blackouts; coma; sleep disruptions
- Diarrhea, vomiting
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Men—increased sexual drive with decreased ability to maintain an erection
- Women—miscarriage, stopping of menstrual periods
- Inflammation of the pancreas
- Hepatitis (a disease of the liver)
- Poor wound healing
- Buildup of fluid in the body
- Swollen, painful muscles, paralysis, lack of reflexes
- Increased bone fractures
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Hypothermia (reduction of body temperature)
- Genetically predisposed
- Preexisting psychiatric disorder
- Began consuming alcohol at an early age
- Getting started (assessment and evaluation of disease symptoms and accompanying life problems, making treatment choices and developing a plan)
- Detoxification (stopping use)
- Active treatment (residential treatment or therapeutic communities, intensive and regular outpatient treatment, medications to help with alcohol craving and discourage alcohol use, medications to treat concurrent psychiatric illnesses, 12-step programs, other self-help and mutual-help groups)
- Maintaining sobriety and relapse prevention (outpatient treatment as needed, 12-step programs, other self-help and mutual-help groups)
- nutrition (Western Medicine)
ANNEX 1 - 'Alcohol worse for female brains'
Pictures of the brains of more than 150 volunteers revealed how women come to more harm and quicker than men when they drink heavily.
Scientists have suspected for some time that men might be more resilient to booze than women. The German research gives visible evidence of this. The University of Heidelberg team published their findings in Alcoholism.
In the study, around half of the volunteers were alcoholics. All of the volunteers had brain scans at the start and end of the six week study. Those who were alcoholic were helped to "dry out" during the six weeks.
When the researchers analyzed the brain scan results they found obvious evidence of brain damage among the heavy drinkers.
The drinkers had smaller brains, due to loss or atrophy, than the controls.
Women who were heavy drinkers lost the same amount of brain volume as the drinking men, but over a much shorter period of alcohol dependence.
Lead author Professor Karl Mann said although men generally drink more alcohol, women probably develop alcohol dependence and adverse consequences more readily.
Other alcohol-related disorders, such as heart problems, depression and liver disease, also occurred earlier in women than men, he said:
"Women typically start drinking later in life, consume less...and one could reason that women are less affected by alcohol. But there is evidence for a faster progress of the events leading to dependence among female alcoholics and an earlier onset of adverse consequences of alcoholism. This suggests that women may be more vulnerable to chronic alcohol consumption."
For these reasons, he said it was even more important to spot and treat alcohol abuse early in women.
A spokesman from the Institute of Alcohol Studies said: "This study supports previous findings that women experience much alcohol-related harm before men at the same level of drinking. These results are particularly concerning given the rising alcohol consumption in UK women, and the increased risk of alcohol dependence that goes with it. This worryingly suggests that alcohol-related damage experienced by women in the UK is set to increase rapidly in the coming years."