These include: liver diseases, diseases of the gastro-intestinal tract, trauma, cardiovascular diseases and neurological diseases. Mental health problems such as suicide risk, depression, anxiety and psychosis may develop after a long-term abuse or dependence upon alcohol. A person’s cognition, memory, mood, speech, thought, perception and insight are also assessed as these mental functions are affected by alcohol abuse. The social consequences of alcohol dependence or abuse includes unemployment, financial difficulties, homelessness, relationship breakdowns and often, criminal charges.
The psychiatric evaluation which will be conducted as part of the initial comprehensive assessment, will not only determine the person’s motivation to get treatment for his alcohol abuse. Among other things that must be discussed and ascertained during the psychiatric assessment are the person’s treatment goals. These may include abstinence or reduced drinking. The person’s risk management plan will also be concretized.
Under the risk management plan, the steps to be taken in case the person harms himself or another, presents physical or mental illness that reduces his mental capacity to decide upon his own health and treatment will be discussed. More importantly, the treatment plan will be decided upon in consultation with health care and social work professionals.
Treatments plans may include management of other physical or mental illnesses, brief interventions for the alcohol dependency, controlled-drinking strategies, and intensive interventions such as: detoxification, psychosocial interventions, and relapse prevention strategies.
For those with alcohol dependencies, only a withdrawal program or detoxification can enable them to stop drinking and counseling, pharmacotherapy and self-help programs can help them stay sober. A person is alcohol dependent when he has impaired control over his alcohol use despite persistent physical, psychological or social harms to himself; when he has developed tolerance for alcohol such that alcohol’s effects is diminished with repeated use, inducing him to drink more; and lastly, a person is considered alcohol dependent when he experiences withdrawal syndrome following cessation of alcohol intake. Severity of the dependence on alcohol is a key factor in setting treatment goals.
Haber, P., Lintzeris, N., Proude, E., and Lopatko, O. (2009). ‘Quick reference guide to the treatment of alcohol problems:
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.