Alcohol abuse and alcoholism

When alcohol consumption becomes addictive, we speak of alcoholism.

Overview

When alcohol consumption becomes addictive, we speak of alcoholism. It has physical, social and mental consequences, ranging from a state of intoxication to chronic illnesses affecting various organs.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

These symptoms mainly occur after once-off excessive consumption.

  • Intoxication
  • Slowed reactions and reduced concentration
  • Double vision (squint-eyed), “tunnel vision”
  • Lack of coordination
  • Increased aggression
  • Slurred speech
  • Danger of falling
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness, including coma (risk of respiratory paralysis)

Other symptoms

These symptoms tend to occur after long-standing and regular consumption.

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Stress, conflict and other problems are suppressed with the help of alcohol
  • Peer pressure
  • Loneliness, lack of social support

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Blood tests (e.g. inflammatory markers and liver function)
  • Ultrasound (e.g. of liver)
Possible therapies
  • Medicine-supported alcohol withdrawal
  • Therapy focusing on mental and social aspects

When to see a doctor?

How do you recognise alcoholism in your environment, or in yourself?

  • Strong desire for alcoholic drinks
  • The amounts of alcohol that can be tolerated increase (development of alcohol tolerance)
  • Efforts to reduce alcohol consumption are repeatedly unsuccessful
  • The ability to control the amounts and times of alcohol consumption decreases
  • A lot of effort goes into hiding the problem
  • Leisure activities and social contact progressively decline

Further information

Blaues Kreuz (Blue Cross)
www.blaueskreuz.ch

Synonyms

Alcohol abuse, alcoholism

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Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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