Alcohol Use Disorder

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Alcohol use disorders are among the most prevalent mental disorders worldwide and rank high as a cause of disability burden in most regions of the world. (Grant et al., 2006)The following paper discusses the recent research findings and essential features based on the content of diagnosis, assessment and treatment. Diagnosis

The DSM-IV-TR classifies drug disorders into substance use disorders (substance dependence and abuse) and substance-induced disorders (substance intoxication, substance withdrawal, induced delirium, anxiety, depression, psychosis and mood disorders). Sometimes it is difficult assessing patient’s psychiatric complaints because heavy drinking is associated with alcoholism can co-exist with, contribute to or result from several different psychiatric syndromes. (Shivani, Goldsmith & Anthenelli, 2002) In order to improve diagnostic accuracy, distinguishes among alcohol-related psychiatric symptoms and signs, alcohol-induced psychiatric syndromes and independent psychiatric disorders that are commonly associated with alcoholism emerges to be essential. Patients’ gender, family history, and course of illness over time also should be taken into account. Alcohol-related psychiatric symptoms and signs

Heavy alcohol consumption directly affects brain function and brain chemical and hormonal systems known to be involved in many common mental disorders thus can manifest itself in a broad range of psychiatric symptoms and signs. (Koob, 2000) And this usually the first problem which brings the patients seek help. The symptoms vary depending on the amount of alcohol used, how long it is used and how recently it was used as well as patient’s vulnerability to experiencing psychiatric symptoms in the setting of consumption. For example, during intoxication, smaller amount alcohol may produce euphoria whereas larger amount may produce more dramatic changes in mood. Alcohol also impairs judgment and aggressive, antisocial behaviours that may mimic certain externalizing disorders such as ASPD. Alcohol-induced psychiatric syndromes

The essential feature of alcohol-induced psychiatric syndromes is the presence of prominent and persistent symptoms, which are judged- based on their onset and course as well as on the patient’s history, physical exam, and laboratory findings to be the result of the direct physiological effects of alcohol. Given the broad range of effects of heavy drinking may have on psychological functioning, these alcohol-induced disorders span several categories of mental disorders, including mood, anxiety, psychotic, sleep, sexual, delirious, amnestic and dementia disorders. Alcoholism with comorbid, independent psychiatric disorders Alcoholism is also associated with several psychiatric disorders that develop independently of the alcoholism and may precede alcohol use and abuse. One of the most common of these comorbid conditions is ASPD, and axis II personality disorder marked by a longstanding pattern of irresponsibility and violating the rights of others with alcohol. (Stinson et al., 2006)

The three major purposes for a comprehensive assessment are to determine a diagnosis, devise a treatment plan and to make appropriate referrals. The assessment should provide a clinical picture of the client’s personal level of functioning, history, presenting problems, family and social context in the client’s life. It is very important that the assessment process requires the gathering of comprehensive, accurate information, for a valid diagnosis and appropriate treatment. - It is vital that the counsellor needs to collect valid and reliable information. Both formal diagnosis, as listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (APA, 1994) and informal diagnosis, if the client has had therapy in the past can be made.

- Comprehensive assessment is essential in designing a treatment plan. The more information provided concerning the etiology, functioning level and...
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