Alcohol Dependence & Abuse
Alcohol dependence is a chronic condition requiring sustained intervention and treatment. Those who are dependent on alcohol experience:
- A craving for alcohol.
- A loss of control over their drinking.
- Withdrawal symptoms when they are not drinking.
- An increased tolerance to alcohol so that they must drink more to achieve the same effect.
Alcohol dependence is considered as a progressive condition characterised by a strong need to drink despite undeniable problems associated with continued use. Like substance abuse, dependence on alcohol is a serious health issue potentially leading to deteriorating functioning, problems relating to loved ones, and chronic health problems like cirrhosis of the liver. Families and friends are often adversely affected by the deteriorating functioning of an affected family member and if left untreated, alcoholism can lead to early mortality.
If you or someone you love are unclear about the extent of their alcohol use, an on-line self-test using the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) tool developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is available to determine if a persons alcohol consumption might be harmful.
The test is available here as a PDF download.
Here is an online version of the test here
Fortunately, there are a range of treatment options available including self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, residential programmes and a wide range of counselling options. Treatment is offered in both private and public sectors with costs varying enormously depending on the type of treatment sought.