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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
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
"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
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.
Department of Psychiatry
and Psychotherapy of the University of Bonn Hospital.
Drinking just 1 or 2 alcoholic
drinks a day linked to liver disease
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.
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.
International Liver Congress TM
children to thousands of alcohol-adverts
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