This thesis will explain why, and how alcohol mimics symptoms of psychological disorders, distinguish between alcohol induced syndrome and independent comorbid disorders, and explain what psychological disorders are brought on by alcohol abuse. Treatment of alcohol and psychological disorders will be explained.
Alcohol abuse can mimic symptoms of depression, anxiety, psychosis, and antisocial behavior, both during intoxication and during withdrawal. Heavy drinking associated with alcoholism can coexist with, contribute to, or result from several different psychiatric syndromes. For decade’s psychological professionals have had challenges when treating and or diagnosing psychological symptoms when the patient has either alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence. When mental health professionals are developing a treatment plan for individuals that are alcohol dependent, those plans will include treatment for a co-occurring psychological disorder.
What causes alcohol related disorders.
Research has shown that there are several factors to causing alcohol related disorders. Poverty1, and physical or sexual abuse2 can increase the odds of developing alcohol dependence3. In many sexual assaulted victim’s will develop an alcohol related disorder to cope with the mental symptoms of the sexual assault. There is substantial evidence that rape victims had higher rates than non-victims of drug and alcohol consumption and a greater likelihood of having drug and alcohol-related problems. Sexual assault victims are 13.4 times more likely to have alcohol related problems and 26 times more likely to have major drug abuse problems. (Kilpatrick, 2000)
After years of psychological studies researchers have concluded that heavy drinking can cause psychological changes that make more drinking the only way to avoid discomfort. Heavy drinkers will continue to drink to avoid withdrawal symptoms.4 withdrawal symptoms can be extremely harmful and fatal without the proper medical detox. Individuals with alcohol use disorders that try to quit cold turkey will 7 out of 10 times start drinking again due to the symptoms of withdrawal (Helzer & Przybeck, 2008).
What are the psychological disorders brought on by alcohol abuse.
People with some form of mood disturbance is the most common psychiatric complaint from people that are seeking treatment from alcohol. Independent major depression is an expected time limited consequence of alcohol’s depressant effects on the brain (Shivani, Goldsmith, & Anthenelli, 2002). Approximately 30 to 40 percent of alcoholics experience a comorbid5 depressive disorder (Anthenelli &Schuckit 1993). In a study of 2,954 alcoholics that Shuckit did in 1997 he found that patients with alcohol-induced depression appeared to have different characteristics than patients with independent depressive disorder. It is clear that alcoholism or heavy binge drinking is known to cause alcohol-induced depression6, that can also be comorbid...