Literature Review Chapter: Alcohol Consumption and Symptoms

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¶ … Alcohol Consumption and Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

Depression and anxiety are related to cognitive as well as psychological impairments. Both these disorders not only affect the life of the ones suffering from it, but also that of the people in the surrounding. Similarly, alcoholism is also another multifaceted social and health concern. It has been well-documented that alcohol abuse has inflicted every part of the world with problems ranging from relationship, health and social problems (Newlin, 2010). The roots of alcohol consumption can be dated back to the times human history originated. There exist numerous ancient literatures and scriptures that indicate the use of alcohol as medicinal compound (Liu, 2011). However, alcoholism has passed down from generation to generation as a social habit (Enoch, 2012).

What is the reason behind alcoholism?

The difference between the consumption of alcohol has been subjected to transition in pattern. Until now, researchers have not yet discovered the reason behind alcohol consumption (Wallace, 2011). It is often linked to excessive happiness such as in celebrations or to events of grievance such as a loss of a loved one (Parkes, 2013). Apart from this, drinking alcohol is also in correlation to the social environment, genetics, age, culture, exposure, accessibility and personal attributes or choices (Milne, 2009). However, depression and anxiety are directly proportional to the level of alcohol abuse (McMurran, 2011). It means that when a person is depressed he is more vulnerable to alcohol consumption (McKenzie, 2011). In the same manner, higher level of alcohol abuse can lead to psychological and cognitive impairment marked by the symptoms of depression and anxiety (Gillihan, 2011).

There are many reasons of alcohol consumptions which include usage of alcohol as an element of bonding friendships in the social gathering, usage of alcohol in traditional rituals of different cultures and the usage of alcohol for the personal problems such as hardships of life, poverty and stress (Cerda, 2010). It is also used for the celebration of a victory to symbolize "machoism" (Gordon, 2013). Furthermore, people consume alcohol to fulfill the inner desire of intoxication so that they may get rid of the realities of this world (Silberman, 2009). Some people drink under the pressure of their peers (McKay, 2012). Such is the case with individuals surviving their high schools and colleges (Hingson, 2010). These individuals may use alcohol to combat their parent's troubled marriage, financial issues or betrayal by a loved one (Boyd, 2013). Once they are dependent on the dooming world of intoxication they keep going back to it (Bochand, 2010). They fell unaware of the realities of this world by proving as a slave to the cravings of alcoholism. If they are not provided with it, they fall uncontrollably (Bruschi, 2012).

Problem Formulation and Effect of Alcohol on Body

Long-term intoxication and acute alcoholism may result in adverse effects on the central nervous system, brain, liver, muscular system, reproductive system and heart (Dietze, 2011). Approximately 50 different diseases are resulted by or aggravated by alcoholism (Rehm, 2010). There is a direct effect of alcohol on brain (Sripada, 2011). Different behavioral problems such as impaired perception, uncontrolled emotions, learning impairment, memory loss and most importantly depression and anxiety are a result of alcohol abuse (Kelley, 2011). The effects of alcohol in brain are similar to the detrimental effects of Alzheimer's disease (Harwood, 2010). Other psychological co-morbidities are also associated with brain health such as attention deficit disorder, eating disorders and anxiety disorders (Ukai, 2009). Hence, alcohol also leads to increased violence and crime (Ganz, 2009).

It has been evidently documented that there exist a strengthened relationship between depression and physical health of a person who is dependent on alcohol (Williams, 2010). This relationship is significantly observed in both elderly as well as young population (Strandheim, 2010; Slinin, 2010). The prevalence of co-morbidities in elderly patient is due to the already existing chronic conditions such as liver damage, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and cognitive impairment. Many studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of alcoholism of co-morbid conditions involving alcoholism and depression (Seth, 2010; Taylor, 2009; Leite, 2009; Loeber, 2010). Poor perception and its correlation with anxiety lead to disability in majority of cases. Many researches have explored the possibility of specified diseases including cancer, heart disease and Parkinson's disease (Brooks, 2009; Brien, 2011; Palacios, 2012). However, in my quantitative studies it has been documented that depression can also be caused due to disability resulted from alcoholism such as in the case of liver cirrhosis. Other studies have indicated that the depression and disability go hand in hand (Kroenke, 2010; Sarda, 2009). The difference in the variety of measurements and definition in the literature related to alcoholism and depression makes it difficult to conclude generalized results.

It was found in the study by Moore et al. (2003), that functional ability impairment are higher in individuals who drink more than seven drinks in a seven day period. This study was performed on advance living scales and instruments. The relationship between outcomes of depression and the onset of depression and its dependency on the level of alcoholism is subject to more research in this regard. In another study by Zimmerman et al. (2005), have studied about depression but have the alcoholics were excluded. In the same manner, the studies that focus on the correlation of depression and anxiety and alcohol abuse often mention very little about the alcohol level consumption. Hence, the onset and prevalence of social and health related consequences of anxiety due to alcoholism have certainly made it important subject for research.

Alcoholism and Cognitive Impairment

In individuals, major depression can be devastating which is caused by cognitive impairment or medical co-morbidities due to alcoholic abuse (Cardenas, 2011). Numerous studies suggest that depression and anxiety are preventable and curable (Tang, 2009; Jeon, 2011). However, when the correlation is formed between the two and the alcohol abuse, the cure can be very crucial and technical. A complete detoxication system has to be performed in a rehabilitation center (Ross, 2012). This has to be done under the supervision of trusted, experienced and capable team of psychiatrist and practitioners (Zambon, 2013). Many newer drugs and therapies have been formulated over the past decade, which have proven to be effective (Soyka, 2010). These drugs and therapies have offered the choice of intervention to patients (Vergne, 2011). The newer drugs include antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs with much fewer adverse effects (Litten, 2012). Moreover, these drugs are also used as a placebo for the replacement of alcohol (Pettinati, 2010). This also gives time to the liver for relaxation and detoxification.

Literature Search

There is a significant correlation of alcohol abuse with homelessness, unemployment, legal issues, relationship difficulties, domestic violence, chronic medical conditions, and mental illness (Elkashef & Condon, 2008; Clay, 2010; Fiellan, 2006; Reif et al., 2011; Roy & Miller, 2010). Effectiveness of treatment for alcohol abuse in reducing the risk associated with the use of illicit drugs is evident in many reports (e.g., Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2011). A review of both state and national data indicated a trend of growth of high inpatient hospitalization related alcohol abuse. The last decade experienced development in identification tests of alcohol abuse, most of the development used the clinical standardized tests and used the cross-sectional data of subjects gathered at one point of time (Bador, Higgins-Biddle, Saunders, & Monteiro, 2001). Compton and Volkow (2006) emphasized the importance of using medical history in identifying drug abuse in the United States; however, Compton and Volkow did not provide a successful method of early identification. Since 2006, research in the context of using medical history focused on the use of epidemiological primary data collected through surveys using standardized tests of identification (Compton & Volkow, 2006).

Approximately 149 to 272 million people abuse drugs and alcohol (United National Office on Drugs and Crime, 2011), in addition to living with the negative consequences of alcoholism such as depression and anxiety (Elkashef & Condon, 2008; Clay, 2010; Fiellan, 2006; Reif et al., 2011; Roy & Miller, 2010; Gossop, Brown, Stewart, & Marsden, 2003). The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2011) estimated that during 2009, 3.3% to 6.1% of the population aged 15 to 64 years used illicit substances globally at least once in the year during the survey. In 2009, the Mental Health Business Weekly reported on a program designed to expand addiction treatment ("Addiction Medicine, Addiction Treatment Will Help Make Health Reform Affordable, New Analysis Shows," 2009). According to "Addiction Medicine, Addiction Treatment Will Help Make Health Reform Affordable, New Analysis Shows" (2009), the program, Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap, is described as a national program initiated by the Open Society Institute and involving nine other local and national organizations working to expand addiction treatment. This initiative is designed to create an awareness of -- and increase resources to close -- an alarming treatment gap: currently, four out of five Americans who need drug and alcohol addiction treatment are unable to get it. (p. 12)… [END OF PREVIEW]

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