Alcoholism is an excessive and regularly repeated use of alcoholic beverages to the extent that the drinker regularly harms themselves or others. Damage can be physical or mental; it can also be social, legal or economic. Since such alcohol consumption is usually considered insurmountable and uncontrollable, alcoholism is considered by most, but not all, clinicians as a disastrous addiction and disease.
The concept of drunkenness as a disease seems to be rooted in antiquity. The Roman philosopher Seneca classified him as a form of insanity. However, the term "alcoholism" appeared in the classic essay "Alcoholismus Chronicus" (1849) by the Swedish physician Magnus Huss. The phrase chronic alcoholism quickly became a medical term for a state of regular intoxication, and the carrier of the "illness" was called an alcoholic (for example, the Italian alcoolisto, the French alcoolique, the German alkoholiker, the Spanish alcohólico, the Swedish alkoholist).
Definition of alcoholism
Alcoholism is a complex multifaceted phenomenon, and its many formal definitions differ depending on the point of view of the determinant. In a simplified definition, alcoholism causes a disease caused by chronic, uncontrolled drinking. Purely pharmacologically, the physiological definition of alcoholism classifies it as a drug addiction that requires consumption of increasing doses to produce the desired effects and causes withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is consumed. However, this definition is not entirely correct, since alcoholics, unlike other addicts, do not always need ever-increasing doses of alcohol. Opium drug addicts, on the other hand, are so adaptable to the drug that they can survive a dose that is a hundred times more lethal to an average person, but those doses to which alcoholics adapt rarely rarely exceed the normal single lethal dose. Moreover, abstinence syndromes in alcoholism occur inconsistently, sometimes do not appear in a person who has experienced them before and never occurs in some drinkers whose destructive behavior otherwise does not differ from those who are pharmacologically dependent on alcohol.The
The third definition, behavioral, defines alcoholism as a disorder in which alcohol acquires a significant significance in a person's life and in which the individual experiences loss of control over his desired use. This definition of alcoholism can or does not include physiological dependence, but invariably it is characterized by sufficient consumption of alcohol to cause regret and regular physical, mental, social, economic or legal difficulties. Clinicians call this behavioral disorder a disease, because it persists for many years, is hereditary and is the leading cause of death and disability. In addition, alcohol alters the ability of the brain to control the possibility of voluntary cessation of its use. As in the case of other medical diseases, but unlike most bad habits, studies show that willpower when curing alcoholism in itself is insignificant.
Some sociologists believe that medication of alcoholism is a mistake. Unlike most of the symptoms of the disease, loss of control over alcohol consumption is not always relevant and not in all situations. The alcoholic is not always under internal pressure to drink, and sometimes can withstand the impulse to drink or drink in a controlled manner. The early symptoms of alcoholism range from culture to culture, and recreational public drunkenness can sometimes be misnamed alcoholism as a biased observer. In the general population, the variability of alcohol consumption in everyday life is distributed over a smooth continuum. This characteristic is incompatible with the medical model, which implies that alcoholism is present or absent, as is the case, for example, with pregnancy or a brain tumor. For such reasons, the sociological definition regards alcoholism as one of the symptoms of social deviation and believes that its diagnosis is often dependent on the world view and the value system of the observer. For example, periodic alcohol intoxication can cause diseases that require absence from work. In the modern industrial community, this makes alcoholism clearly like a disease. However, in rural society, periodic drunkenness, which occurs at community festivities and leads to the suspension of work for several days, is normal. It should be noted that this drunkenness at the fiesta is a voluntary choice and does not cause regret. If the sociological model was completely correct, one often expects that alcoholism will disappear by increasing social consciousness, as is the case with many other symptoms of social deviations. However, this does not happen.
Finally, epidemiologists need a definition of alcoholism that will allow them to identify alcoholics among the population who may not be available for an individual survey. To determine alcoholism, they can rely on quantitative and frequency measurements of reported hospitalization cases associated with alcohol use, according to a formula based on the incidence of cirrhosis deaths, or on arrests due to alcohol abuse.
In this section, the use of alcohol in the historical aspect is considered. Alcoholism is described as a disease. The urgency of the problem of overcoming drunkenness and alcoholism is substantiated. Biochemical, psychopharmacological, neurophysiological and psychological aspects of the formation of alcoholism are discussed. The description of the main clinical manifestations of the disease is given. Modern scientific methods of treatment and prophylaxis are given.
It also contains information about the harmful effects of alcohol on children and adolescents. It is described not only the direct negative impact of alcohol use on the developing organism, but also the indirect influence of adult drunkenness on the formation of the child's personality is considered in detail. Recommendations are given to prevent the spread of alcohol consumption among children and adolescents.
Designed for a wide range of readers.
Supplemented with new data on the prevalence and consequences of alcoholism, the main chapter "Organization of the fight against alcoholism" was subjected to substantial processing, a new section on primary prevention of alcoholism was introduced, a great place is given to promoting healthy lifestyles.
For the organizers of health care, narcologists and other professionals interested in alcohol problems.
Table of contents
Chapter I. Definition and classification of alcoholism
Chapter II. Methods of studying alcoholism
2. Chapter III. Consumption of alcoholic beverages
Chapter IV. Prevalence of alcoholism
Chapter V. Medical and social consequences of alcohol abuse
Chapter VI. Social causes of alcoholism and drunkenness
Chapter VII. From the history of the fight against alcoholism
Chapter VIII. Organization of the fight against alcoholism in the USSR
Chapter 1 . A look into the past
Chapter 2 . Alcohol in the modern world
Chapter 3 . Alcohol and Alcoholism
Chapter 5 . Vicious circles, or pathogenesis of alcoholism
Chapter 6 . A disease called alcoholism
Chapter 7 . Classification of alcoholism and diagnosis
Chapter 8 . Modern approaches to the treatment of alcoholism
Chapter 9 . Prevent illness
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Alcoholism and alcohol use are an obstacle to the development of any society and civilization in general. The obstacle that must be overcome, since alcohol costs too much for mankind. And the essence is not only in material losses, but in the loss of spiritual forces, broken lives and lost lives.
Alcoholism can not be considered in isolation, it is closely related to alcoholism and the use of alcohol in general. If you look more widely, then the very attention to alcohol is only a fragment of a more complex problem - the relationship of a person to the use of psychotropic (capable of changing the mental state) drugs. Among them there are a lot of means that cause addiction and addiction, leading to the development of drug addiction and substance abuse. Although the distribution spectrum of abuse of psychotropic drugs is not the same in different regions, alcohol is an absolute leader here.
The real picture is that in most countries of the world it is the consumption of alcohol and alcoholism that cause the most serious anxiety and lead to grave consequences. At the same time, according to the World Health Organization, in the early 80's world production of alcoholic beverages reached 2.5 liters per capita per year in terms of 100% alcohol.
The narcological situation, historically developed in the USSR, is also characterized by the prevalence of alcoholism. The consumption of alcohol in comparison with any other psychotropic drugs is largely due to the diverse customs, traditions and rituals that exist in our society. Therefore, today it has come to understand that overcoming drunkenness and alcoholism is not a one-stage action, but a multi-stage process aimed at the transition of society to a new, healthy lifestyle. This requires a serious restructuring in different spheres of life. Such a restructuring in the USSR has already begun and is taking place before our eyes.
The party and the government adopted documents whose principal feature is their fundamental character: they are not aimed at reducing, but in overcoming drunkenness and alcoholism, which is especially important in "modern conditions, when the creative forces of our socialist system are becoming more fully revealed, the advantages of the socialist way of life, special importance assumes strict observance of the principles of communist morality and morality. " Corresponds to the goals set and the national scale of the activities carried out.
The task is to achieve the eradication of conditions that support the use of both alcohol and other addictive means. This task is solved only through the implementation of a long-term program of a set of measures, including socio-economic, educational, psychological and medical-biological aspects of combating alcohol. However, the special difficulty is the overcoming of alcoholism proper.
What is alcoholism? The debate about whether the disease is or not is a long time ago. Alcoholism is a weight gaining in proportion to progression and becoming a chronic disease that develops during regular drinking and is characterized by the development of a pathological craving for alcohol, the appearance of other mental and physical disorders, and the social consequences associated with the use of alcohol. Alcoholism as a disease is mainly a medical problem. However, its development among drinkers becomes possible only if there is a large-scale social phenomenon - the production and preservation of the traditions of alcohol consumption. The danger of the disease lies in every link of the chain "alcohol consumption - alcoholism (regular use of alcohol) - alcoholism." Each previous link is necessary for the appearance of the next. And it is clear that to solve the problem it is not enough to concentrate efforts only on combating the most obvious, terrible disease - alcoholism. It should not be forgotten that the tragic results of taking alcohol are manifested in any part of the chain. As it is established, "ordinary" alcohol consumption reduces labor productivity, contributes to offenses, injuries , can lead to death. There is no need for proof and the assertion about the danger of the systematic use of alcohol - drunkenness, pernicious for both the drinker and others. Hence the natural tendency of society to supersede any form of alcohol use. Although the reduction in alcohol consumption in itself is clearly insufficient (it must be supported by a set of constructive measures), it is clear that radical overcoming of alcoholism and drunkenness is fundamentally feasible only against the background of a significant reduction in alcohol consumption. And the decisive here are the reduction of interest and the elimination of the need for alcohol.
Of the total contingent of alcohol users, alcoholics become an average of 6% (Slowik, 1984). It seems a little? But if we take into account the real scale of alcohol consumption in the world, the significant severity of alcoholism as a disease, the entire amount of negative consequences for society, brought by alcoholism, then the vigorous efforts being made to study and overcome this disease will become clear.
At the same time, a wide study of alcoholism by representatives of various specialties and directions caused an ever-deepening differentiation of scientific research, led to the accumulation of a huge mass of factual material, sometimes heterogeneous.
The problem of alcoholism is so complex that, in order to understand it, you need to be an expert at the same time in several areas of knowledge. In this regard, the authors, while being doctors, nevertheless made an attempt not to confine themselves in this book to medical aspects of the problem, but to analyze also the main results of biological, sociological and other studies. This approach will require some effort from the reader, but we hope that the efforts will be fruitful and lead to a more complete understanding of alcoholism.