Alcoholism (Alcohol Dependence) is a disorder characterized by a wide spectrum of problems.
Central feature is the use of alcohol, which takes an increasingly dominant place in the user’s life in spite of experience of harm related to drinking.
Social and genetic factors are thought to be important in pathogenesis.
A life time prevalence of about 0.2 – 0.5% in Nigerian adult males
- Withdrawal episodes
- Compulsive desire to use alcohol
- Associated physical, social, or occupational impairments
- Dependence on (and withdrawal from) other substances
- Liver cirrhosis
- Damage to other organs (including the brain)
- Delirium tremens
- Increased mortality (reduce life expectancy)
- Family, social and occupational disability
- Full Blood Count and differentials
- Liver function tests
- Other investigations as indicated for medical/physical complications
- Reduction in alcohol consumption as an interim measure
- Abstinence as as the desired goal
- Prevention of relapse
- Psychosocial interventions.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
- Marital and family therapy Group therapy
- Only occasionally required, and following careful assessment
Detoxification is required for severe withdrawal syndrome or delirium tremens
This will involve the administration of a long-acting benzodiazepine and thiamine supplements over 7-10 days
- Rehabilitation to Sustain abstinence
- Acquire an alcohol-free life style
- Prevent relapse
- Health education (including school health education, peer group education and self help groupe.g. alcoholic anonymous)
- Government regulation of alcohol use