Alcoholism Treatment Strategy
Alcoholism is separated into two categories: dependence and abuse. Alcoholism is a powerful craving for alcohol - it can be uncontrollable and the need to drink alcohol is as great as the need for water or food. The causes of alcoholism are varied and typically involve psychological or social triggers such as stress, depression, family problems, peer pressure or low self-esteem. However, a person may be predisposed to alcoholism and the condition has been linked to genetic make-up. A family history of alcoholism increases the risks of someone developing the condition.
Alcohol abuse does not present an overriding craving for alcohol nor is there a loss of control or dependence on the substance. Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that leads to a break-down in personal and professional responsibility including actions such as drinking when driving, aggression while drunk and continual drinking even when it causes problems within relationships. Alcohol abuse can lead to alcoholism as a person develops the need for alcohol to function.
Binge drinking is defined as eight or more units for a man and six or more for a woman in a session, can be a precursor to alcohol abuse and alcoholism.
Functional alcoholics. Many people suffering with alcoholism can appear to function and perform day-to-day activities but inevitably performance will become impaired and relationship problems can ensue.
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For a successful diagnosis of alcoholism the individual must recognise their problem and seek confirmation and help. Your GP can help you by a physical examination and also by asking some pertinent questions about your drinking habits.
There are a number of physical diagnostic tests that can be carried out such as:
- Blood count
- Toxicology screen (this test will only determine that alcohol is present in the blood but does not confirm alcoholism itself)
- Folate test
- Uric acid test
- Liver function test
Should a GP diagnose you as suffering with alcoholism they will refer you to a psychological specialist to help with mental health issues and, if need be, to a specialist to help with any physical conditions that have resulted from excessive drinking.
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