Essay on Alcoholism And Alcohol Use Disorder

Essay on Alcoholism And Alcohol Use Disorder

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Alcohol abuse occurs when drinking becomes a problem that has begun to negatively impact one’s life (Nathan, Wallace, Zweben, & Horvath). “At least 38 million adults drink too much [but] most are not alcoholics. Drinking too much includes binge drinking, high weekly use, and any alcohol use by pregnant women or those under age 21” ("Alcohol Screening and Counseling"). Alcoholics are alcohol abusers who have lost control of their alcohol use (Nathan, Wallace, Zweben, & Horvath). In the DSM V, both alcoholism and alcohol abuse are fall under the category of Alcohol Use Disorder, or AUD, which can range from mild to severe ("Alcohol Use Disorder").
Alcoholism is similar to most physical illnesses in that is caused by a combination of controllable and uncontrollable risk factors. Controllable risk factors include the age drinking started and the number of years spent drinking regularly. Another controllable risk factor is having close friends or family who have problems with alcohol ("Alcohol Use Disorder"). Uncontrollable risk factors include gender, mental health, and genetics. “Males, individuals of lower socioeconomic status and military veterans are at increased risk of abusing alcohol” (Freedman & Duckworth). “[H]alf of [the] risk for alcoholism is influenced by genetics. The remaining risk is related to the influence of environment” ("The Genetics of Alcoholism"). People with a certain gene called GABRA2 may be more likely to become alcoholics because alcohol triggers a more pleasant response from their brain’s neurotransmitters ("The Genetics of Alcoholism"). The more tolerant a person is to the effects of alcohol (i.e. the better able they are to “hold their liquor”), the more likely they may be to become an alcoholic (Nathan...

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...Those with other mental health illnesses, such as depression, may have more difficulty following through with a treatment plan. Once a person has become physically dependent on alcohol, they will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are tremors, increases heart rate, nausea, anxiety and insomnia. ("Alcohol Use Disorder"). Delirium Tremens, or DT is the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal. It occurs in people who drink very heavily (7 or more drinks) on a daily basis for a prolonged period of time. Symptoms can last for two to ten days. Psychological symptoms of DT include irritability, confusion, mood changes, and hallucinations. Physical symptoms of DT can include seizures and body tremors, and even chest pain or fever. Delirium tremens requires a hospital stay to ensure the patient’s safety (“Delirium Tremens”).

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