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alcoholism (GB)
alcoholisme (N)
alcoolismo (PO)
alcolismo (I)
alcoolisme (F)
alkoholismo (ES)

Alcoholism (including alcohol addiction, ethylism, dipsomania, potomania, drinking, alcohol addiction, alcoholism or alcohol consumption disorder) is the dependence on the psychotropic substance ethanol, The mental and / or physical dependence on alcohol is mostly a social and human problem of the individual, but experience has shown that it also has a negative impact on his environment, such as family and work. In the course of history there have been and still are bans of alcohol in various forms in individual countries or in entire cultural areas such as Islam, alcohol abuse or in principle to prevent alcohol consumption for various reasons by strict prohibitions. A significant example of the dubious success of alcohol bans is the prohibition in the United States from 1920 to 1933.

Alcoholism - man in a glass / hand with handcuff and shot glass

When do you become an alcoholic?

The line is fluid - there is no measurable no / yes point. According to Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Feuerlein (Head of the Psychiatric Polyclinic, Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich and author of recognized standard works) has five clinical definition criteria. These are 1. abnormal drinking behavior, 2. somatic alcohol-related damage, 3. psychosocial alcohol-related damage, 4. development of tolerance and withdrawal syndrome (physical alcohol dependency) and finally 5. development of “withdrawal syndrome at the subjective level” in extreme cases total loss of control, as well as the centering of thinking and striving for alcohol (psychological alcohol addiction).

If only the first four criteria are met, one speaks of alcohol abuse (alcohol abuse), with the fifth criterion of alcohol addiction. According to estimates by the German headquarters against addiction, around eight million Germans (10%) are at risk of alcohol, including 2.5 million as alcoholic. 20% of work accidents and 20% of traffic fatalities are due to the influence of alcohol. This data can be converted pro rata to the population of Austria (just under 9 million).

Classification or alcoholic types

A typological classification comes from Professor EM Jellinek. The US psychiatrist is considered the "pope" of alcoholism research; his major work "The disease concept of alcoholism" from 1940 led to the general recognition of alcoholism as a disease, the typology of alcoholism was published in 1960. Jellinkek assumes four or five types, which he describes as follows:

Alpha and beta alcoholics
These are "non-addicted alcoholics", whereby the alpha type is the conflict drinker who drinks to relax and relieve, but can stop at any time. The beta type is the casual and social drinker to which practically everyone who is not abstinent belongs. The groups of gamma, delta and epsilon alcoholics are classified as “addicted alcoholics”. The development of addiction takes place slowly over the prodomal phase (precursor phase, period between increased alcohol consumption until loss of control, duration is several months to a few years) up to the critical phase, combined with loss of control.

In order to preserve the appearance of an intact family, the partner's alcohol problem is very often ignored, downplayed or covered up. As a result, ever larger amounts of drink are consumed. The beginning of this phase is characterized by the appearance of regular gaps in memory as well as irritated reactions when the environment addresses the subject of alcohol due to the onset of guilt from self-awareness that one's own drinking behavior is not normal. In the further course it slowly comes with the progressive disturbance of the metabolic processes to the physical and psychological addiction training, connected with loss of control.

In a pre-alcoholic phase, drinking behavior is inconspicuous and socially motivated, it takes place in society. There is increasing relief when drinking, alcohol is increasingly drunk to balance the mood, whereby ever higher doses are required. There are gaps in memory. It is drunk alone and secretly, which begins the social isolation. The following critical phase leads to a loss of control. Smallest amounts of alcohol increase the urge for more alcohol. Attempting to stop drinking is characterized by physical withdrawal symptoms (sweating, restlessness, tremors). Self-esteem is increasingly lost. In the chronic phase, people drink excessively for days, with the result of increasing mental, physical and social degradation.

Delta alcoholics
Also known colloquially as a mirror drinker - mostly (still) without loss of control. To avoid physical withdrawal syndromes, a permanent blood alcohol level must be maintained. This can often remain hidden from the environment due to irregular consumption.

Epsilon alcoholics
This type of drinker (including quarterly drinkers) can do without alcohol for weeks, but in the event of a crisis or depression there is a loss of control and often excessive alcohol consumption for several days. This is followed by a more or less long abstinence, which can stretch over several months (quarter).

physical harm

The primary cause of the physical damage caused by alcohol abuse is the primary metabolite acetaldehyde, a biologically very reactive cell poison. Damages include fatty liver, cirrhosis of the liver, alcoholic hepatitis, inflammation of the stomach, gastric and intestinal ulcers, chronic inflammation of the pancreas (see also under diabetics wine ), neurological damage and epileptic seizures. In extremis, this leads to alcoholic hallucinosis "delirium tremens" (delirium), the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal, which leads to optical and acoustic sensory delusions, disorientation and trembling of the hands (tremor), as well as the "Korsakow- Syndrome ”(after the Russian psychiatrist Sergei Sergejewitsch Korsakow), the most severe, irreversible form of brain damage due to alcohol, with extensive loss of memory and orientation due to the death of entire brain cell regions.

Therapies for alcohol addiction

Successful therapy is not possible without the patient's admission that he is alcoholic. After an inpatient or outpatient physical withdrawal, which is partly supported by medication, psychological and socio-therapeutic treatment follows, in which self-help groups play a large part. The chances of success of a therapy are very good at around 50% (every second). The big difference between a moderate Weingenuss and health-related alcohol abuse is beautifully described in an essay by the Austrian poet Peter Rosegger (1843-1918). Although he wrote a prosaic declaration of love for wine, so to speak, he preached moderate use of it.

A frequently asked question is whether alcoholics / addicts are alcohol-free beer or Wine (up to 0.5%) or low-alcohol wine (up to 5.0%). It is not just a question of alcohol content, but also depends on the mental state of the alcoholic. There is no general limit that applies to all people, from which it becomes “dangerous”. This alcoholic or low-alcohol alcoholic beverages (which are defined by wine law) differ in terms of odor. taste and colour hardly of the alcoholic.

The dangerous thing is that a abstinent or "dry" alcoholic person gets a "taste" again through the enjoyment and starts again to drink higher-percentage drinks. That means that a beer / wine with 0.0% can be dangerous - because the taste and smell can be (not necessarily) animating. Incidentally, as stated above, a beer up to 0.5% is considered “non-alcoholic” (although it is actually not non-alcoholic); only one drink with 0.0% may be declared "without alcohol".

acceptable amounts of alcohol

The keyword is used to determine which quantities of wine or alcohol are acceptable to health or presumably are not harmful to health when consumed regularly health explained. The topic of alcohol abuse by the antiquity until modern times with bizarre stories and prominent protagonists can be found under the keywords intoxication and drinking culture, See also on this topic under ADH (Alcohol degradation) ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake = acceptable quantities), alcohol ban. allergy. Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAK = alcohol level calculation), Male cat. a headache. prohibition. Vinotherapie and To drink,

Source: Alcohol dictionary ALEX
Man in the glass: by Sarah Richter from Pixabay
Handcuff and glass: by Лечение наркомании on Pixabay

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