Medical Care for Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a chronic form of addiction. It is difficult to know when social drinking becomes addiction. Many people who drink frequently in parties and occasions eventually end up in alcohol addiction. There are many factors which can lead to alcoholism. There is very thin line that separates drinking on social occasions and becoming dependent on alcohol and people often without any warning signals cross the line. People with family history of alcoholism or alcoholic friends are more likely to develop this addiction. Other factors are mental health problem such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder.
When alcohol becomes addiction, it starts interfering with social life, professional life and the health of the alcoholic. Addicts are less likely to seek medical help on their own. They need to be forced by friends or family for medical treatment. But it is not easy to find out when an alcoholic needs medical help. There are certain conditions associated with alcoholism, which ask for immediate medical attention.
If an alcoholic suffers any injury or serious health issue due to alcohol, it is necessary to seek medical help. The responsibility lies with family or friend to avail medical help for the alcoholic as he may not be in a condition to ask for it. Some of the emergency conditions requiring medical help for alcoholism are discussed below-.
- An alcoholic may develop withdrawal symptoms if he is deprived from it. He may suffer tremors, seizure, hallucination and other physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. The worst stage of withdrawal symptoms is delirium tremens. Addicts suffer from profound confusion in this state. These symptoms may last for 3 to 10 days. All these withdrawal symptoms need to be treated. Thus it is necessary that the addict avails the medical treatment in case of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Some patients have even suffered death due to withdrawal symptoms, thus it is treated as an emergency.
- Some addicts may suffer Alcoholic ketoacidosis (AKA) due to persistent use of alcohol. It is another condition demanding emergency medical treatment. Alcoholic Ketoacidosis may start within two to four days after an alcoholic has stopped taking alcohol. It could result due to lack of fluids, and food in the body. This is caused due to gastritis or pancreatitis. It may also show up simultaneously with withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of Alcoholic Ketoacidosis are nausea, vomiting, pain in stomach, dehydration and acetone-like odor in the addict’s breath. When the addict’s body is deprived of alcohol, fluid and food, the body uses carbohydrate fuel and water stored in the body. When body is exhausted of carbohydrate and water, it starts using fat and protein in the body and breaks them into ketone. These Ketone bodies gather in the blood and increases acidity and addict feels very sick.in this condition, it is important to get medical help for the addict.
- Alcoholism could lead to many psychiatric disorders too. An alcoholic could suffer from anxiety, depression, and psychosis. For being relieved of all these psychological problems, he needs immediate medical attention. Otherwise there are changes that patient’s condition may worsen and he may even have suicidal thoughts or try to suicide.
- Alcoholism could lead to many physical health issues too. It could cause damage to liver or kidney. It may also affect the heart. If any symptom of these health issues show up, it is advisable to arrange medical help for the addict.