Alcoholism known also as alcohol dependence is and addictive disorder. It is characterized by massive and uncontrolled consumption of alcohol regardless of its negative effects. Like any other addiction, alcohol is defined as a treatable disease.

The risk factors that trigger alcohol addiction are social environment, stress, mental health, age, ethnicity and sex. Long-term abuse causes significant damages to all body organs especially the brain.

Long-term alcohol abuse has physical and psychiatric symptoms as:

-          Physical – fetal alcohol syndrome in pregnant women, liver failure, pancreatitis, heart disease, epilepsy, sexual dysfunction, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. It can damage the central and peripheral nervous system that can cause hand tremor, visual and cognitive difficulties. Women with alcohol addiction rick developing breast cancer and have reproductive problems. It was found that women have a higher mortality rate due to alcoholism than man do.

-          Psychiatric – long term alcoholism causes any entire range of mental problems and 10% of dementia cases are caused by alcohol. Other symptoms are depression, psychosis, confusion, panic, anxiety and even borderline personality disorder. People, especially women with a history of physical or sexual abuse have a higher predisposition to massive alcohol consumption and develop a psychiatric disorder more easily.

Like any disease alcoholism can be treated and the medications currently on use are:

-          Antabuse, that prevents the elimination of acetaldehyde, the natural body chemical in charge of breaking down ethanol.

-          Temposil that works in the same way as Antabuse

-          Naltrexone that is effectively blocking the effects of endorphins and opiates and it is used to decrease the craving for alcohol.

-          Campral that stabilizes the brain chemistry after it had been altered by alcohol addiction

-          Topamax, an experimental medication, proved effective in reducing alcohol craving.

Another important part is detoxification, but alcohol withdrawal has its own symptom like:  anxiety, depression, rapid heart rate, hand tremor, convulsions and even black-outs.

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