The Science Behind Alcohol Dependence

The Science Behind Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol Dependence

In scientific terms, a person is considered to be suffering from harmful drinking if he or she faces health issues borne as a direct consequence of excessive alcohol consumption. These problems could include psychological problems such as depression or physical problems like pancreatitis, liver damage, cancer, and heart diseases.

Am I dependent on alcohol?

It is typical for dependents to experience excessive craving and preoccupation with alcohol consumption. If you are unable to control your urge and use of alcohol in spite of experiencing the negative effects of alcohol consumption- you are probably addicted. Statistical studies reveal that alcohol dependence also has a strong correlation with criminal activity and domestic violence.

Alcohol dependence is defined in DSM- IV in terms of severity, but in essence the severity of dependence on alcohol ranges over a continuum. Statistical studies have been conducted by various institutions and based on statistical analysis (Regression analysis done on responses given by a sample of population), most alcohol dependents can be classified into three broad categories:

  1. Mild Dependence:  People who can administer self-alcohol rehab and usually do not need an assisted withdrawal program.
  2. Moderate dependence: Such people can easily be lured into drinking and need a drink for “every occasion.” Such people also do not stop with one or two drinks and often pass out after a heavy intake. Such dependents usually require administered withdrawal but can do so without medical supervision. Extreme dependence: Such people rely on alcohol for everyday living, and alcohol consumption overpowers important commitments like a team-meeting, a friend’s wedding or meeting parents. Such people find it toughest to withdraw from alcohol use and should start their alcohol rehab program under strict medical supervision.

As per some medical studies, only about 6% of all alcohol addicts seek treatment to combat addiction. Most addicts do not enroll for de-addiction programs because of various reasons: social stigma, expenditure, and the mere unwillingness to part away from the bottle for psychological or personal reasons. Moreover, there aren’t enough medical professionals in the world to correctly identify the severity of alcohol addiction and render a clear diagnosis.

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Why is diagnosis of alcohol addiction difficult?

Alcohol addiction diagnosis is usually made on the basis of externally visible symptoms and consequences of alcohol consumption. However, because of the social stigma associated with being an addict, most addicts are able to moderate or feign their reaction to a diagnostic exercise, thereby forcing the medical professionals to understate the extent of addiction.

What should I do to be diagnosed appropriately?

Therefore, in order to be treated appropriately, the patient must introspect. Being honest about your condition and the extent of craving for alcohol will help your medical supervisor suggest the best possible de-addiction plan.

Remember, addiction happens because you draw pleasure out of an action and consequently, it becomes all the more difficult to work towards negating that action. Therefore, it becomes all the more important to give in to those excuses and submit yourself completely to help if you are severely addicted to alcohol use.

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