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Understanding alcohol use disorders and their treatment

However, up to 30% of patients who continue to drink progress to cirrhosis within 10 years. In adults who do not drink regularly, relatively low blood alcohol levels (50–150 mg/dl) result in intoxication in which all modalities of perception are adversely affected . Binge drinking can lead to a rapid increase in blood alcohol concentration (due to rapid absorption, distribution and zero-order kinetics) and consequently to ‘drunkenness’. They also need to have more and more drinks to bring about the same effects. These traits mark the beginnings of a physical dependence on alcohol. Have mental health issues, such as grief, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. Someone suffering from alcohol abuse can become more aggressive and his or her ability to function can seriously deteriorate.

  • Referring employees to your agency’s Employee Assistance Program .
  • The introduction of alcopops, sweet and pleasantly flavoured alcoholic drinks, was responsible for half of the increase in alcohol abuse in 15- and 16-year-olds, according to one survey in Sweden.
  • Causes of alcohol abuse are complex and are likely the combination of many factors, from coping with stress to childhood development.
  • They can help you cope, make a treatment plan, prescribe medications and refer you to support programs.

In other cases, you may know, either because the employee admits to being an alcoholic, or the problem is self-evident. For example, an employee may become intoxicated while on duty or be arrested for drunk driving. Your role is not to diagnose the alcohol problem but to exercise responsibility in dealing with the performance or conduct problem, hold the employee accountable, refer the employee to the EAP, and take any appropriate disciplinary action. Your role in dealing with alcoholism in the workplace is crucial.

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Results of the ISCD 2010 study showing that alcohol has the highest economic cost to society of all drugs considered. In the United States alcohol-related violence is related to more severe injuries and chronic cases. Find out how you can help and be a positive influence in their journey to be alcohol-free. If you have a concern that you have AUD, you can see a health professional for consultation. They may ask you about your drinking habits and health history.

Alcohol abuse can lead to a number of physical issues and may even create a mental health condition, leading to a double classification for the alcoholic. The stress, the social perceptions of these issues may reinforce abusive drinking habits. Alcoholism is the most severe form of alcohol dependence and abuse, it is often in fact a complicated hereditary disease. While it can run it families this is only a correlation and does not prove that the inherited factors play a role. Genetic influences on its genesis are suggested by numerous different sources of evidence.

What causes alcohol use disorder?

The brain goes through dynamic changes during adolescence as a result of advancing pubertal maturation, and alcohol can damage long- and short-term growth processes in teenagers. The rapid effect of drugs releases the neurotransmitter dopamine which acts as reinforcement for the behavior. They may also use blood tests to assess your overall health, paying special attention to areas of the body most impacted by alcohol, including the brain and other parts of the nervous system, as well as the heart and liver. Health professionals sometimes prescribe medications to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. Other medications can help you quit drinking by suppressing alcohol cravings or making you feel sick when alcohol enters your body. Treatment of AUD focuses on relieving symptoms of alcohol withdrawal in the short term and then suppressing alcohol cravings in the long term.


It is extremely important that such an intervention be led by a trained professional and not by a lay, such as a supervisor, because it can be a very emotional and powerful event and, if not conducted properly, may very likely backfire. Supervisors should contact an agency EAP counselor for more information about the intervention technique. If an employee chooses to use the EAP at your urging, he or she may enter some type of treatment program as described earlier in this booklet. If the employee does not choose to go into treatment, the next step will be to take any disciplinary or corrective actions that are necessary.

Next step: Finding help for a drinking problem

Individuals often hide their drinking or deny they have a problem. Problems caused by alcohol abuse in Ireland cost about 3.7 billion euro in 2007. Alcohol abuse is said to be most common in people aged between 15 and 24 years, according to Moreira 2009. However, this particular study of 7275 college students in England collected no comparative data from other age groups or countries.

fetal alcohol spectrum

Alcohol misuse has other detrimental effects on the reproductive process and the fetus. These include infertility and miscarriages, and infant perinatal death, aneuploidy, structural congenital anomalies, prematurity, intra-uterine growth retardation, low birth weight and susceptibility to disease in adult life.

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