Causes, special features and the course of the disease

Alcohol use disorder (AUD), or alcoholism, is a chronic biosocial and mental disease that develops as the person abuses alcohol on a regular basis.

It occurs due to the effect of ethanol – a narcotic substance which causes addiction. At the psychological level, the patient undergoes a radical change in his/her life values and the disintegration of personality. Physiologically, the disease manifests itself when the body is forced to consider alcohol a vital substance, essential for the function of its all organ systems.

A huge number of factors and matters can provoke a person into drinking alcohol, eventually making him/her dependent. Generally there is a set of reasons like various kinds of emotional stress (problems at work, conflicts with the family, troubles with the loved one) along with some internal causes including depressive personality type, low self-esteem, constant self-rejection, etc. Of course, factors like a difficult social environment, upbringing problems and even certain traditions of family celebrations may also contribute to the development of the disease. Unambiguously, alcoholism is associated with genetic predisposition, but at the same time it does not anyhow correlate with the person’s social status or income level. The causes of the craving for alcohol in each patient are individual, but in a broad manner, they can be all taken as one primary cause: the inability of the human psyche to accept the reality as it is, without perception altering substances.

The gravity and trickery of alcoholism is that it is not a simple physical ailment - the addiction develops in many years, slowly bringing under control the patient’s personality. Unlike other kinds of drugs, addiction to alcohol occurs almost imperceptibly, in the beginning absolutely not showing itself in any types of antisocial behaviour. Co-workers or a loving wife may not suspect their colleague or husband to be alcohol-dependent for many years. Therefore, the awareness of the problem’s magnitude comes when the use of alcohol has already turned into a heavy psychophysiological dependence.

There is a framework of criteria for alcohol addiction – some more detailed information on the features of its onset and course will be given below.