Risks | Alcohol addiction diagnosis and treatment


Excessive consumption of alcohol and especially manifested alcoholism can have a significant negative impact on the body of the person concerned. Typical risks associated with alcoholism range from withdrawal syndromes and significant changes in character to sustained damage to certain organ systems. Especially the so-called alcohol-toxic changes of character are described by many relatives of people suffering from alcoholism.

It is regarded as a poisoning syndrome triggered by the long-term excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. Among the classical abnormalities that this change of character brings about are In addition, one’s own drive and attention is also limited in the long term by the toxic influence of alcohol. In addition, concomitant diseases often occur in the course of alcoholism, which in turn promote the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Before all depressions, the main number of long-term alcohol addicts can be diagnosed. From a psychological point of view, the alcoholic is therefore in a vicious circle that can hardly be broken by his own efforts. Pathological alcohol consumption (alcoholism) can also lead to serious problems in the social environment, especially within the family.

Alcoholism not only impairs the well-being of the dependent person, as this illness usually has to be borne by the life partner, the children and other relatives. In about 35 percent of the cases observed, this even goes so far that the compulsive consumption of alcohol by the person concerned leads to the occurrence of domestic violence. This fact can be explained by the fact that a person suffering from alcoholism is permanently influenced by strong external stimuli and in the course of which an increase in aggressiveness with loss of control can occur.

In addition, the person suffering from alcoholism leads to social decline within the family, which can be traced back to possible unemployment due to dependence and/or loss of social standing. Another significant consequence of alcoholism that has been present for several years is the development of organ-specific impairments. The toxic effect of the ethanol contained in alcohol can cause considerable damage.

In addition, the development of slight erectile dysfunctions and even impotence can be observed in many people suffering from alcoholism. Tongue cancer is also favoured by excessive alcohol consumption. – significant reductions in performance

  • Impairments in memory performance and
  • Severe concentration deficits. – of the liver
  • Of the kidneys
  • Of the pancreas
  • Of the gastrointestinal tract and
  • Of the brain.


Basically, the self-assessment of the respective patient would play a decisive role in the diagnosis of alcoholism. In most cases, however, there is the problem that dependent alcoholics do not regard their own behaviour and consumption levels as critical. Many of those affected have to be made aware of their problems several times through friends, doctors and family.

In addition, carrying out a self-test can help to regain a feeling for the amount of alcohol consumed daily and to detect the presence of alcoholism. In medical diagnostics, there are four methods for identifying an alcoholic as such. As the family doctor is usually the first point of contact for affected patients, special screening procedures are the first priority in the diagnosis of alcoholism.

The so-called AUDIT test (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) uses ten questions to determine the drinking behaviour of the test person. The MALT test (Munich Alcoholism Test), on the other hand, consists of two parts, a third-party assessment part based on laboratory values, withdrawal symptoms and secondary diseases, and a self-assessment part. The third screening method that is frequently used in the GP’s practice is the so-called CAGE interview, which consists of four questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no”.

If there are at least two “yes” answers in this test, this indicates the presence of alcoholism. The name CAGE is derived from the first letters of the questions asked. C = Cut down: “Have you (unsuccessfully) tried to limit your alcohol consumption?

A = Annoyed: “Have other people criticised your drinking behaviour and thereby annoyed you?” G = Guilty: “Have you ever felt guilty about your drinking?” E = Eye Opener: “Have you ever drunk right after getting up, to ‘get going’ or to calm down?

  • C = Cut down: “Have you (unsuccessfully) tried to limit your alcohol consumption?” – A = Annoyed: “Have other people criticized your drinking behavior and made you angry? – G = Guilty: “Have you ever felt guilty about your drinking?” – E = Eye Opener: “Have you ever drunk right after getting up, to ‘get going’ or to calm down?