Both environmental factors and genetics are involved in causing alcoholism with about half the risk attributed to each.
Prevention of alcoholism is possible by regulating and limiting the sale of alcohol, taxing alcohol to increase its cost, and providing inexpensive treatment. Treatment may take several steps.
The World Health Organization estimates that as of 2010 there were 208 million people with alcoholism worldwide . In the United States about 17 million of adults and 0.7 million of those age 12 to 17 years of age are affected. It is more common among males and young adults, becoming less common in middle and old age. A total of 3.3 million deaths are believed to be due to alcohol. In the United States it resulted in economic costs of $224 billion USD in 2006. In 1979, the World Health Organization discoura...
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...nce anxiety and depression for up to 2 years. These post-acute withdrawal symptoms have also been demonstrated in animal models of alcohol dependence and withdrawal. A kindling effect also occurs in alcoholics whereby each subsequent withdrawal syndrome is more severe than the previous withdrawal episode; this is due to neuroadaptations which occur as a result of periods of abstinence followed by re-exposure to alcohol. Individuals who have had multiple withdrawal episodes are more likely to develop seizures and experience more severe anxiety during withdrawal from alcohol than alcohol dependent individuals without a history of past alcohol withdrawal episodes. The kindling effect leads to persistent functional changes in brain neural circuits as well as to gene expression. Kindling also results in the intensification of psychological symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
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