Every person in the world has heard of the dangers of alcoholism. Alcoholism is known to be quite serious and common among people. In addition to this, it is quite expensive as well. People all over the world go to the hospital every single day and complain about alcohol-related cirrhosis, cardiomyopathy, pancreatitis, gastrointestinal bleeding, intoxication and alcohol addiction. People should also know that various types of cancer are connected with alcoholism. Mental retardation is known to occur due to fetal alcohol syndrome. Apart from this, various cases of car accidents, depressions, dementias, suicides and homicides as well occur due to alcoholism.
There are various symptoms of alcohol withdrawal but some of the most common include nausea, vomiting, diaphoresis, anxiety, agitation, headache, tremor, seizures and visual and auditory hallucinations.
A person may also experience delirium tremens and some of the most common signs are tachycardia, hypertension, raised temperature and delirium.
In case of chronic alcoholism, there are also symptoms which are easily seen and noticed by the doctor, like gynecomastia, spider angiomata, testicular atrophy, enlarged or shrunken liver and enlarged spleen.
In most cases of alcoholism, the patients use a psychiatric disorder in order to deny alcohol abuse. However, only in cases where there is strong evidence that the psychiatric disorder is apparently present before the alcoholism or it is there for a long period of sobriety, it is best that alcoholism is considered as a primary diagnosis. In situations when the patient’s state is a difficult one, there is need for a psychiatrist.
It is important that the physician performs a quick mental status exam in order for it to guide the referral process. In these exams, it is important that several basic elements are being covered, like an assessment of mood, perceptual problems and safety screen. In some cases, the physician will use certain instruments in order to ensure that the important questions are asked and that the results have a degree of objectivity.
It is not uncommon that in some cases of alcoholism, certain genetic disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are connected with it. A dual diagnosis is a case when a patient is diagnosed with both alcoholism and a mental illness. In these situations it is important that the physician does not neglect one problem in favor of the other. A family history will tell a physician if the patient suffers from bipolar disorder, alcoholism or, in some cases, from both.
People should know that the gene for alcoholism has not yet been found. However, the genetics do play an important role in alcoholism.