There are certain characteristics or conditions that could describe alcoholism; a craving or compulsion to drink without control; physical dependence, signs of withdrawal like heavy sweating, nausea, etc. and tolerance to increased amounts of alcohol consumption. Alcohol misuse is common to alcoholics; such abusive act can be considered harmful, hazardous, especially if the person develops dependency towards it.
The World Health Organization has estimated that there are 140 million people worldwide who suffer from alcohol dependency. In the United States, alcohol abuse ranks third from among the leading causes of preventable death and has even surpassed the expense for cancer in 2005 at approximately US$220 billion, with the expense for cancer was only US$196 billion. (Adewale & Ifudu, 2014). Alcohol is pointed out as the cause of 200 disease and injury conditions, while worldwide; 3.3 million deaths are accounted every year due to alcohol or 5.9% in proportion to the aggregate number of deaths. Further, alcohol accounts for 5.1% of the world’s burden of disease and injury, measure in disability and adjustment life years. Alcohol abuse is no respecter when it comes to death and disability at a young age (20-39 years old) as it is estimated to account for 25% of the total deaths recorded (World Health Organization, 2018). Further, alcohol dependence has been pointed out as a mental disorder that is most prevalent and the most severe (Schomerus, et al., 2011).
The World Health Organization estimates that 76.3 million people worldwide suffer from alcohol use disorders (WHO, 2004). About 4% of all deaths and 5% of all disability-adjusted life-years lost can be attributed to alcohol and alcohol abuse(Rehm et al., 2009). Negative consequences of alcohol dependence are not restricted to physical health alone: alcoholism also has profound negative effects on one’s social behavior, social interactions and social environment (Klingemann, 2001).
The stigma of alcoholism may hinder the seeking of professional and lay help due to the fear of being labelled as an alcoholic and as a consequence the patient may lose his status and undergo social discrimination or social exclusion (Room, 2005). Similarly, it may also create structural discrimination against alcoholic persons when it comes to its treatment which insurance companies would not cover. However, research on psychiatric attitude does not give that much attention than other substance abuse disorders (Schomerus et al., 2010).
In a research by Shivani, Goldsmith, & Anthenelli (2002), the authos noted that there can be difficulty in assessing psychiatric disorders with persons with alcoholism. This is becaise psychiatric syndromes can be associated with alcoholism thus, alcoholism can either cmplicate or mimic psychiatric syndromes that are present in mental health surroundings.thereby affecting accuracy of the diagnosis. It was also noted in the study that there can be instances when psychiatric disorders and alcoholism occur together and patients become more likely to have difficulty in sustaining abstinence, attempting suicide and utilizing mental health services. A comprehensive and exhaustive evaluation of psychiatric syptoms is thus necessary among alcoholic patients to lessen the severity of these symptoms.
Alcohol addiction is manifested in many signs and symptoms like depression, anxiety, psychosis, and antisocial behavior, either when intoxicated and during withdrawal. They could last for few weeks right after abstinence (Shivani, Goldsmith, & Anthenelli, 2002). Other symptoms of alcohol addiction are uncontrollable behaviors, neglect of duties and important activities, relationships issues, changes or deterioration in hygiene and appearance, tolerance to the substance, fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches, irritability, insomnia and depression (NCADD, 2016).