People have different relationships with alcohol worldwide, and the difference is even more significant between different countries. Drinking is viewed as somewhat of national identity in some areas, while in other places, it has had severe effects on the country’s general health.
Symptoms of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a common chronic illness that affects millions globally. Medically, the condition is actually referred to as Alcohol Use Disorder, represented by an individual’s dependency and abuse of alcohol. When determining if a person is suffering from alcoholism, it is essential to assess the severity of their alcohol consumption. This is determined by specific criteria depending on the symptoms an individual exhibits. The person’s condition will be deemed serious if they meet six or more of the requirements, moderate if they meet 4 to 5 of the criteria, and mild if they meet 2 to 3 of these criteria.
- Having a powerful urge to take alcohol
- Drinking for longer and more than you wanted to on several occasions
- Spending a lot of time taking alcohol or recovering from the effects of drinking
- Wanting to drink to the extent where it is the only thing you can think about
- Your alcohol consumption has affected your school, work, or personal life.
- Continuous drinking, although it has caused problems with loved ones.
- Cutting back or giving up on activities that were interesting or important to you just to take alcohol
- You were severally getting into occasions after or during drinking, which increased your risky behavior engagement.
- Continued drinking even after experiencing memory blackouts or even though it is worsening another health problem you have
- Having to increase your alcohol consumption more than usual to experience the desired effects
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as increased heart rate, sweating, nausea, restlessness, or shakiness when the effects of drinking wear off
Individuals experiencing any of the above symptoms should be concerned, especially if they have more symptoms.
There are different severity levels for alcohol dependency, but treatment for the condition typically comprises medically supervised detoxification, medications, and counseling. All these methods are designed to help alcoholic individuals to quit alcohol safely.
Treatment for Alcoholism In Different Countries
There are a few evidence-based methods used for treating alcohol use disorder. Alcoholism treatment does not just use one approach to treat everyone because whatever works for one person might not be ideal for someone else. Treatment can be inpatient or outpatient-based and is typically provided by doctors, therapists, and specialty programs.
These groups offer peer support to help people affected by alcohol reduce or quit drinking. Most communities and countries provide this approach, and there are typically group meetings involved. These meetings are very beneficial to people who are more likely to relapse. This method can provide extra support when combined with behavioral treatment and medications.
This approach is also known as talk therapy or behavioral treatment, and certified therapists conduct it to help modify the individual’s behavior and drinking habits. Examples of this treatment approach include mindful-based treatment, coping skills to prevent relapse, reinforcement methods, and brief interventions.
There are currently three medications used to help people suffering from alcohol use disorder prevent relapse and stop drinking. They include Disulfiram, Acamprosate, and Naltrexone. They are all not addictive and can be combined with the other treatment methods or used alone.
The rates of alcoholism vary for each country, and high alcohol consumption rates do not necessarily translate into high alcoholism rates in that area. Approximately 1.4 percent of the world’s population suffers from alcohol use disorder.
Below are the top 10 countries with the highest alcoholism rates globally for both genders.
- Slovakia – 12.2%
- Estonia – 12.2%
- Poland – 12.8%
- United States – 13.9%
- Slovenia – 13.9%
- South Korea – 13.9%
- Latvia – 15.5%
- Belarus – 18.8%
- Russia – 20.9%
- Hungary – 21.2%
Risk Factors for Alcoholism in Various Countries
Alcohol use disorder causes multiple alcohol-related injuries and health conditions in individuals who consume heavily. A person’s risk of becoming an alcoholic will depend on how fast they drink alcohol and how much they consume. Heavy alcohol consumption and binge drinking constitute alcohol misuse, and this behavior can increase a person’s risk of developing Alcohol Use Disorder. Other contributing factors for the illness include:
- A previous history of trauma and co-existing mental health conditions: Various mental illnesses such as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression are connected to an increased risk of alcoholism. Individuals who have also experienced childhood trauma are more prevalent to alcohol use disorder.
- A family history of alcoholism and genetics: Heritability of health condition and a person’s genetics are both highly linked to each other. However, the risk of developing alcoholism is also affected by the connection between an individual’s environment and genes, just like other chronic illnesses. A parent’s drinking habits might also affect the child’s chances of developing alcohol use disorder one day.
- Alcohol consumption at a young age: Studies indicate that individuals aged 26 years or older who started taking alcohol before 15 years of age were five times more likely to become alcoholics. This is in comparison to individuals who waited until later than age 21 to start consuming alcohol. Females in this group were at a higher risk than males.
Alcoholism is a common problem for millions of people worldwide, and various factors contribute to it. It is also common to experience setbacks during treatment, but the best way to beat this medical condition is to get professional help. This will help your chances for recovery and help to improve your health in the long run.