Alcohol addiction, disease - 27 illnesses

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Alcohol addiction - 27 illnesses 

The mortality of alcohol dependent patients in general hospitals is many times higher than that of patients without alcohol dependency. In addition, they die about 7.6 years earlier on average than hospital patients without a history of alcohol addiction. 

The researchers are calling for earlier and more intensive psychotherapeutic support of persons with alcohol addictions. 

Typically, persons affected tend to deny their addiction and suffer from withdrawal symptoms and the habituation to alcohol consumption increases. Alcoholism leads to changes in personality as well as to family and workplace problems.

"Mental problems as well as significant physical health impairments are associated with alcohol addiction," says Dr. Dieter Schoepf from the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the University of Bonn Hospital. "Alcoholics who were treated in British general hospitals for health problems die an average of 7.6 years earlier than non-alcohol dependent patients; this is due to the interaction of several concomitant physical illnesses," reports the scientist. For the study, Dr. Schoepf and Prof. Dr. Reinhard Heun from the Royal Derby Hospital in England evaluated patient data from seven general hospitals.

27 concomitant illnesses occur more frequently with alcohol addiction

A total of 27 physical illnesses occur more often in patients with alcohol addiction: the liver, the pancreas, the airways, the gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system. "Patients with addiction problems are often admitted to hospitals as emergency cases. At the time of diagnosis, priority is then given to the acute symptoms - this may contribute to the fact that not all physical illnesses are recorded," suspects Dr. Schoepf. Reduced pain sensations and perception disorders of addicted persons can also cause certain conditions to not be detected by doctors.

Researchers call for screening and the administration of therapies early on

From the scientists' standpoint, the elevated mortality of patients with alcohol dependence in general hospitals makes it clear that addiction as a major cause of the multiple physical consequences must be treated at a significantly earlier stage. "Through diligent screening and early treatment of concomitant mental and physical illnesses, it should be possible to significantly increase the life expectancy of alcoholic patients," says Prof. Heun.

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the University of Bonn Hospital. European Psychiatry

Drinking just 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks a day linked to liver disease

According to the World Health Organization, excessive alcohol drinking is the most common cause of cirrhosis worldwide. A new worldwide study has shown the significant influence of daily drinking on this disease burden. 

According to the World Health Organization's Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health, around 6% of global deaths are caused by drinking alcohol, the majority from alcoholic cirrhosis - scarring of the liver as a result of continuous, long-term liver damage. Half of all cases of cirrhosis are caused by alcohol.

The International Liver Congress TM

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Alcohol addiction, disease - 27 illnesses

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