alcohol abstinence tips


Introduction
Causes
Symptoms
When to call the doctor
Dangers
Diagnosis
Care
Youth alcoholism
Sources and bibliography
Introduction
Alcoholism is a chronic condition in which the body becomes dependent on alcohol . Alcoholics are unable to control their relationship with alcohol and face:

a strong and urgent need to drink ,
loss of control , ie no longer able to stop drinking once started,
physical addiction with withdrawal symptoms,
tolerance , ie the need to drink more and more alcohol to feel the same effect.
When you suffer from alcoholism, you continue to drink even when you know perfectly well that alcohol causes relationship, health, work or economic problems.

It is possible to have a problem in the relationship with alcohol but without suffering from all the symptoms of alcoholism, this situation is known as alcohol abuse and is characterized by an exaggerated consumption that has repercussions in the affections and / or professional and social level, even though without the appearance of abstinence or symptoms of physical dependence.

A related problem sadly raised to the forefront of the news in recent years is the so-called binge drinking , that is the exaggerated but periodic intake of alcohol (for example every weekend), with the aim of losing control .

Too much alcohol is dangerous, always:

Drinking large amounts of alcohol can increase the risk of developing various cancers , can cause damage to the liver , brain and other organs.
Drinking during pregnancy can seriously damage your baby.
Even moderate consumption ultimately increases the risk of death from road accidents, injuries, murders and suicides .
If you suffer from alcoholism or abuse alcohol, you may not be able to decrease the amount or quit without resorting to outside help. When you want to stop drinking it is necessary to look for help without shame and the first step can be to talk about it with your doctor or even just the toll-free number prepared by the Ministry.

Are you drinking too much?
You could already be over the limit if:

feel inside yourself that you are exaggerating,
other people have criticized the way you drink,
you feel guilty,
you need to drink in the morning as soon as you wake up to relax,
you can't remember what happened the night before because you drank too much
it happens more or less often that you are not able to keep your commitments because of drinking.
Photograph of a man holding his head in his hands in front of a glass of wine and a cigarette
iStock.com/ejwhite

Causes
There is no single cause that can explain the risk of incurring alcoholism, but researchers believe that it is a delicate and complex intertwining of genetic and environmental factors.


  • The genes present in DNA ( genetics ) that control alcohol metabolism are responsible for an increase / decrease in risk; this is one of the possible explanations on the familiarity that can be found regarding problems related to the abuse of alcohol (the risk of alcoholism is greater among those who had an alcoholic parent).
  • The starting age could be a significant factor, as it seems that early consumption can influence gene expression ( epigenetics ) thus increasing the risk of dependence; in this case it is more likely a complex intertwining of causes and effects, since those who are genetically predisposed are more likely to start drinking at a young age.
  • A history of childhood trauma can increase the risk of falling victim to some kind of addiction, including alcohol, as well as the absence of a family during childhood and adolescence.
  • The men are at higher risk of addiction than women, but women most likely to suffer from diseases linked to drinking, such as liver disease.
  • Basically, addiction gradually develops, drinking too much and regularly for a long time can cause physical dependence on alcohol also due to changes that the substance induces on a physical and above all a metabolic level; these changes include, among other things, an increased sense of well-being during intake, which makes the subject more inclined to drink and do it more and more often. From this point of view they are therefore risk factors:


ease of access to alcohol,
depression and other mental disorders, which make the patient inclined to seek solutions to find relief from their illness,
social and cultural factors (having friends or partners who drink regularly can increase the risk of alcoholism, as well as the representation of alcohol given by the media that can pass the message that it is necessary to drink to feel fashionable, and that it does not there is nothing wrong with exaggerating with alcohol).
With time, like any other substance of abuse, the search for the pleasure induced by the substance gives way to the need to take it in order not to suffer the symptoms of withdrawal and the patient is therefore a prisoner of what previously seemed to be a way of escape.

Symptoms
The first symptoms of an alcohol dependence problem are unfortunately so mild that they often go unnoticed; knowing these warning signs can instead help patients and loved ones to recognize the situation and take immediate action.

Drunk people generally experience the following symptoms and behaviors:


  1. they laugh and speak aloud,
  2. show vertigo ,
  3. they have a blurred vision,
  4. have difficulty standing and swinging when they walk,
  5. mumble words,
  6. tend to fall asleep,
  7. they can faint or vomit ,
  8. they become violent.
  9. The drunkard can carry out actions or say words which he then regrets, he is also at risk of incurring accidents and getting hurt. After drinking a lot, during the recovery phase, it is then normal to feel a more or less deep state of discomfort, often accompanied by an intense headache.


People who become addicted to alcohol


  • they start having to drink more and more to get drunk,
  • may need alcohol already in the morning between being reassured or to reduce hangovers,
  • they may have to drink secretly and keep this secret habit.
  • If alcohol consumption is continuous, the quantity and extent of symptoms can constantly increase and make recovery longer and longer.


Among the characteristic symptoms of alcohol abuse and / or alcoholism we find:


  1. Drink more and / or longer than originally planned or decided.
  2. One or more attempts to reduce the amount consumed or even quit, without succeeding.
  3. Expose yourself to potentially risky situations after consuming alcohol (driving, swimming, using dangerous machinery, unprotected sex, ...).
  4. Need to drink more than in the past to achieve the same effect.
  5. Need to continue drinking despite the obvious appearance of depression and / or anxiety.
  6. Occurrence of black-out periods, in which you do not remember what was done and the impregnation taken.
  7. Spend a lot of time drinking and / or vomiting often after drinking.
  8. Need to continue drinking despite the appearance of social, family and / or professional problems (which can lead to drinking alone or secretly).
  9. Interruption of activities that in the past were considered pleasant and loss of interest in favor of time spent drinking.
  10. Legal problems due to alcohol consumption.
  11. Spirits stored in unlikely places, at home, at work or in the car.
  12. Appearance of withdrawal symptoms, such as:
  13. sleep disorders ,
  14. tremor ,
  15. restlessness,
  16. nausea,
  17. increased sweating ,
  18. tachycardia ,
  19. convulsions .
  20. Anyone who abuses alcohol can have many symptoms in common with those suffering from full-blown alcoholism however, when it is overdone, one is not completely dependent because one does not feel all that compulsive desire to drink. Furthermore, when not drinking, the physiological symptoms of abstinence may not occur.


Alcohol abuse can still cause serious problems, as in the case of alcoholism it may seem that you are not able to quit without external help.

When to call the doctor
If there has already been the doubt that your relationship with alcohol overflows into abuse or addiction it may be so and it is certainly worth talking about it with a doctor, all the more so if:

you feel unable to control your relationship with alcohol,
if you feel that alcohol is causing you problems in your daily life,
even if you don't feel you have a problem, but your family or friends have doubts about it (the refusal to recognize an addiction is very common and there is nothing to be ashamed of).
Contact the ER in case of alcohol intoxication symptoms, such as:


  • He retched,
  • cough with blood,
  • irregular and insufficient breathing ,
  • seizures;
  • cold and pale skin (or bluish, in case of lack of oxygen),
  • fainting and / or absence of response to external stimuli,
  • coma .
  • Dangers
  • Although it is often considered an excitement, the truth is that alcohol depresses the central nervous system and has a sedative action, especially at higher doses. It also has an anxiolytic effect and causes a lowering of the inhibition threshold. It can also cause:


loss of muscle coordination,
inability to make rational speeches,
loss of balance,
excitement,
irritability,
redness of the face and eyes
and in the most serious cases you can get to the ethyl coma , a potentially fatal situation.

Drinking too much can also cause several problems, among them we remember:

judgment skills and inhibited brakes lowered, resulting in inconsistent or harmful choices and behaviors (including unprotected sexual intercourse, with the risk of contagion of sexually transmitted diseases , but also increased risk of suffering abuse and violence),
accidents (automotive, domestic, ...),
poor performance at work or school,
increased likelihood of committing violent crimes,
loss of personal items (wallet, keys, cell phone, ...),
alcohol poisoning (vomiting, convulsions, loss of consciousness).
A habitual use of alcohol, regardless of the amount consumed, causes tumors to

mouth,
pharynx,
esophagus,
larynx,
otherwise,
colon,
liver,
pancreas;
it is estimated that 10% of all cancers affecting males and 3% of those affecting females are attributable to alcohol consumption.

Other health problems caused by excessive alcohol intake include:


  • Hepatic disorders. Alcoholism can cause fatty liver and alcoholic hepatitis, which is liver inflammation. After years of alcoholism, hepatitis can irreversibly and progressively destroy and destroy the liver tissues ( liver cirrhosis ).
  • Gastric disorders. Alcohol can cause inflammation of the mucous membrane of the stomach ( gastritis ) and can interfere with the absorption of B vitamins and other nutrients.
  • Immune system. Drinking too much weakens the immune system, making the patient more susceptible to developing diseases, infectious and otherwise. Alcoholics are particularly prone to pneumonia, tuberculosis and other infections. Exaggerating once in a while produces tangible effects up to 24 hours later.
  • Pancreatic disorders. If you drink too much, the pancreas can also be affected, which produces the hormones that regulate metabolism and the enzymes that contribute to the digestion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates . Pancreatitis  and digestive problems may appear .
  • Heart problems. Alcoholism can cause high blood pressure problems and increase the risk of heart failure or stroke , but even occasionally drinking can cause cardiomyopathy and arrhythmia .
  • Complications of diabetes . Alcohol interferes with the release of glucose in the liver and may increase the risk of hypoglycemia (blood glucose level too low). It is a dangerous situation if you are diabetic and are on insulin therapy to decrease blood glucose levels.
  • Sexual function and menstrual cycle . Alcohol abuse can cause erectile dysfunction or interrupt the menstrual cycle.
  • Eye problems. Over time, alcohol abuse can cause weakness and paralysis of the eye muscles.
  • Congenital diseases. Alcohol abuse during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol syndrome: the child may already have physical and developmental problems at birth.
  • Osteoporosis . Alcohol can interfere with bone formation. The bones, therefore, can become brittle (osteoporosis) and present a greater risk of fractures.
  • Neurological complications. Alcohol abuse can negatively affect the nervous system and cause difficulty in transmitting nerve signals, thereby altering the functioning of the brain. They can appear:
  • changes in mood,
  • changes in behavior,
  • loss of judgment,
  • loss of coordination,
  • numbness of the extremities,
  • mental disorders,
  • dementia ,
  • short-term memory loss .
  • Equally terrible are the social effects of alcohol abuse:

  • job loss,
  • divorce,
  • domestic violence,
  • loss of affections and home.
  • Alcohol intake can cause serious consequences even among adolescents. Alcohol-related accidents are a major cause of death in this age group. Furthermore, alcohol can also cause deaths at a young age due to drowning, suicide and murder. Adolescents who drink are more likely to have an active sex life, have more frequent relationships and risky relationships are more frequent than among their non-teetothal peers.


Abstinence crisis
An addicted drinker experiences more or less severe physical symptoms if he stops drinking abruptly, including:


  • hand tremors,
  • chills,
  • sweating,
  • visual hallucinations ,
  • depression,
  • anxiety ,
  • sleep disorders ( insomnia ).
  • Diagnosis
  • If your doctor suspects that you suffer from alcohol-related problems, you will be asked many questions about your habits, or you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire. Your doctor may ask you for permission to have an interview with your family or friends, perhaps it was your family members who contacted him to tell him their concerns. However, the information that emerged during the visit is strictly confidential: the doctor cannot disclose information about you without your consent.


Test
One of the most used questionnaires is the so-called CAGE questionnaire, which has shown great sensitivity in identifying subjects with problems related to alcohol consumption.

Cut Down, Have you ever felt the need to reduce your alcohol intake?
Annoyed, Have you ever been bothered by people who have criticized your excessive alcohol intake?
Guilty, Have you ever felt guilty or uncomfortable about drinking alcohol?
Eye opener, Have you ever had a drink when you woke up to fight anxiety or eliminate hangovers?
Two or more affirmative answers indicate the need for further information.

Blood and urine tests
The most commonly used test is the dosage of alcohol in the blood (alcohol), which gives information on the quantity taken in the last hours.

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