Alcoholism

Back to life, fast

Alcohol consumption has been firmly established as part of German society. Every German drinks an average of almost 136 litres of alcoholic beverages per year. That’s the equivalent of over ten litres of pure alcohol. Especially during times of chaos and stress, many people reach for alcoholic drinks. The probability of developing health problems is increasing. Men who consume an average of 24 grams per day already have increased health risk. For women, it only takes half that amount.

In our psychosomatic special clinic, consultants and therapists with vast amounts of expertise work in therapy to treat alcoholism. We use a comprehensive, holistic addiction therapy concept to get you back to your life in just three weeks.

Causes & symptoms

What do we mean by alcholism?

Around 1.3 million people in Germany are considered to have an alcohol addiction.  About 300,000 of those are in treatment. Alcohol addiction is not treated until after 10 to 15 years on average.
But when is it considered an alcohol addiction? The formation of an alcohol addiction is a creeping development that takes an individual path. It often goes undetected or denied for some time. Neither certain quantities of alcohol nor the emergence of withdrawal symptoms are imperative requirements.
An alcohol addiction forms when at least three of the six diagnosis criteria have been met concurrently over the past year:
  • Strong desire or compulsion to consume alcohol
  • Developing tolerance: It takes increasingly higher quantities of alcohol to achieve an effect
  • Continued alcohol consumption despite harmful consequences
  • Difficulties controlling the beginning, end and quantity of consumption
  • Physical withdrawal symptoms if no or little alcohol has been consumed
  • Progressive neglect of other interests in favour of alcohol consumption

Causes: Many factors contribute to alcoholism

Personality, heredity and calamity have an impact on the development of an alcohol addiction, but individual learning processes are always
crucial. They can cause the development of an addiction even in seemingly ordinary lives.
Alcohol creates a pleasant state or reduces a negative state by bonding to various receptors on the brain. This increases the likelihood of further consumption.
Regular drinking also cultivates tolerance, so that
it takes an increasingly higher quantity of alcohol to achieve the same effect or to stave off the symptoms of withdrawal. The long-term result is structural changes in the brain that form the addiction memory, which is no longer easy to get rid of and is responsible for relapses even after long periods of abstinence. Both mental and physical as well as social factors play a role in the development of an alcohol dependency (also alcoholism or alcohol addiction).

Factors that influence the development of an alcohol addiction:
  • genetic predisposition
  • difficult social situation
  • sex
  • mental illness
  • peer pressure
  • cultural influences
  • emotional trauma

Alcoholism: Symptoms and complications that can arise with chronic alcohol consumption

Those who drink too much will have a considerably lower life expectancy. Alcohol is jointly responsible for over 200 illnesses, as it damages almost every organ.

The following physical and mental consequences are especially common:
  • stroke, dementia, alcohol withdrawal with tremors, epileptic seizures and delirium
  • heartburn, inflammation, ulcers and cancer of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum
  • fatty liver, hepatitis, cirrhosis and cancer
  • Renal failure
  • Shrinking testicles, sexual function disorders
  • Nerve damage and muscular atrophy
  • Personality changes, depression, anxiety
  • Heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, high blood pressure
  • Infection and cancer of the pancreas
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Skin changes
  • Blood clotting disorders, anaemia
  • Increased infections
  • Being overweight
  • Diabetes
Alcohol addiction can also have social consequences:
  • Compromising the workplace with reduced performance and quality of work
  • Co-dependency with partner and children
  • Decreased social contact
  • Impaired ability to drive
  • High risk of accidents
  • Diminished perception
  • Longer reaction times

Diagnostics

How we diagnose alcoholism

The basis of treatment at Schoen Clinic is a careful diagnosis. In addition to a detailed conversation with you, there will also be a comprehensive physical exam right away. The instrument-based diagnosis includes, for example, an electrocardiogram (ECG) and electroencephalography (EEG) to identify cardiac damage and increased risk of epileptic seizures. In addition, there will be lab tests, an ultrasound of the stomach (abdominal sonography) and a bio-impedance measurement, during which information about individual health and nutrition will be collected. A detailed psychological and psychiatric diagnosis will be made as well.