What is Alcoholism?
The term refers to the addiction of drinking alcohol so much that your body eventually becomes dependent on it. On this stage, alcohol becomes the most important part of your life. They often have a physical and/or emotional desire to drink alcohol ahead of their capability to control it, regardless of how it affects their life. The improper use of alcohol consists of misuse, abuse and heavy use of alcohol may cause physical, social, or ethical harm to the drinker.
Symptoms/signs of Alcoholism
The symptoms of Alcoholism can be seen from the person craving for alcohol and has no control over its intake. Especially when a person is addicted to alcohol, he finds hard to stop himself from drinking which is a sign of alcoholic. The most common symptoms are if a person is drinking alone and hiding it from everyone, not being able to control its quantity and always desiring for more. Most of the times, an alcoholic puts alcohol as its first priority and even make excuses to drink. Sometimes, an alcoholic can get easily annoyed when someone asks about their drinking habits and ask them to control its consumption. Moreover, the alcoholic spends a huge amount of money to overcome his need.
Types of Drinkers
Generally, there are four types of drinkers excluding those people who don’t drink alcohol. The first type of drinker is the “Social drinker” which mostly includes teenagers and young adults who usually drinks for having fun with friends and are typically moderate drinkers. The second type is “Conforming drinker”. They drink occasionally only in social gatherings just to fit in the society and avoid receiving negative feedback on not drinking. These people usually take a sip or just grab a glass of wine to show off. The third type is “Enhancement drinker”, people who drink to feel drunk. These people are mostly loud, spontaneous, and violent. The fourth and the last type is “Coping drinker” who drinks to deal with the problems in their life such as depression and anxiety. They consume a large amount of alcohol and experience more alcohol-related problems.
Causes of Alcoholism
People who drink alcohol have different reasons for why they started drinking. We all know that drinking is harmful and could be dangerous for our health. Reasons behind drinking could be to relieve stress from our daily life routines just to refresh our mind and body. Some drinks to develop a sense of pleasure in them. Some drink to cope up with grief and overcome anxiety which can lead to alcohol addiction.
Effects of alcohol on your body
Alcohol addiction might lead to serious health issues which have a minor effect or could be serious or life-threatening. Short-term effects include slow reflexes, breathing problem, blurry vision, digestive problems, and restlessness. Whereas long-term effects are liver disease, heart problems, damaged eye-sight, the risk of cancer, diabetic complications, and sometimes brain defects as well.
How to reduce alcohol intake
Although drinking alcohol can turn into addiction but one can always reduce its intake to be in the safe drinking zone. Taking regular breaks from drinking can reduce the quantity of intake also. Consuming a lot of alcohol makes you dependent on it. Your brain and body get tolerant to alcohol too. To reduce alcohol intake, a person needs to break the cycle of dependency on alcohol by working on the amount of alcohol on daily basis.
Responsible Drinking vs. Problematic Drinking
People who are responsible for their act or behavior even after alcohol consumption are known to be a responsible drinker. They usually drink less than four glasses a day and have a control over their drinking habits. On the other hand, problematic drinking includes people who are obsessed with alcohol and who cannot control themselves from drinking anywhere or everywhere. This high consumption of alcohol leads to health problems. So responsible drinking is the right way to consume alcohol and avoid problematic drinking.
How to treat alcoholism
There are many treatment programs available to help alcoholics to cure Alcoholism if they seek help, but there is no availability of therapeutic cure. Despite reasons diagnosed for alcohol dependence, the initial step for the treatment is to believe in getting help. Alcoholics who are forced to get the treatment or have social pressures do not have a long-term impact on the treatment.
Although every individual has their own treatment plan but mostly following methods are used:
In this, the patient is helped to ease the withdrawal symptoms to recover from alcohol addiction. This is done with the help of medical professionals.
To treat alcoholism, there are two kinds of rehabilitation: inpatient and outpatient. Inpatient is when a patient is supposed to stay in the required facility for 30,60 or 90 days under intensive treatment programs. Outpatient rehab allows the individuals take part in a recovery program while continuing their daily life routines.
Through counseling, individuals can communicate and obtain guidance during their recovery. In this therapist will help you recover the sense of drinking to avoid anxiety, depression or any relationship problems etc.
Three medicines are usually suggested to patients which are disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate. These medications help alcohol dependents to reduce their alcohol cravings, also prevent withdrawal symptoms, and maintain soberness.
Once the rehabilitation process is over, that person will slowly get used daily life routine. It’s important to give yourself time and also remain motivated to live a normal life. One can always attend support groups or counseling to stay positive and maintain sobriety in your lifestyle to live a happy, healthy life.
Alcoholism is a term which needs to be discussed with your friends and family to help prevent its use. Talk about it openly with your child; let them know the disadvantages of alcohol use. To remain moderate, one should not take more than 2 drinks per day. Never drink and drive or let your teenagers drive or sit with the drunk driver. Stay safe and help protect others with this.
Author: Malik Noureed Awan
Hunter Syndrome or MPS II is an extremely rare, incurable and an inherited genetic disease which is caused by the absence of an enzyme known as the iduronate-2-sulfatase (I2S). The lack of this enzyme in the body or even the mere malfunctioning of it results in the accumulation of molecules that are harmful to the body. Generally, not apparent at the time of birth, the affected babies do not show any signs or symptoms until probably after the first year of their life.
History & Discovery
Named after the Scottish-Canadian physician and professor of medicine, Charles A. Hunter, the disease was first discovered when Hunter identified it in two brothers in the year 1917. Hunter, who was born in Scotland but moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada, was working at the Winnipeg General Hospital at that time. According to his research paper submitted to the Royal Society of Medicine, both brothers started walking whilst in their 17th month, albeit late but were generally as fine and healthy as normal boys would be, with the exception of having throat issues such as adenoids and tonsils. Furthermore, as time passed, they started hearing lesser than usual.
The probability of Occurrence & Ethnic Epidemiology
The statistics on Hunter Syndrome only assert its claim as a genuinely rare disease. It affects only about 1 in 170,000 males. Although as rare as it may be but the syndrome has also been diagnosed in females too. According to the statistics, currently, only 2,000 people in the entire world are said to be afflicted, out of which, at least 500 belong from the United States itself, 70 from South Korea, 20 from the Philippines, 6 from Ireland, 2 from New Zealand, 1 each from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Chile, Pakistan, and Palestine.
Causes & Inheritance
Mucopolysaccharides are the binding sugar molecules that essentially construct the connective tissues in our bodies. Mucopolysaccharides also referred to as GAGs, lie in the lysosomes, from where they are excreted via the urine. The iduronate-2-sulfatase (I2S) enzyme is responsible for breaking down these molecules for disposal in a normal person. On the contrary, a person affected with Hunter syndrome does not possess this enzyme. This is the reason as to why the GAGs or mucopolysaccharides molecules in a person with Hunter Syndrome do not find their way out via the urine and start accumulating in the lysosomes which hinders the usual functionality of the tissues, cells, and organs. This results in the clinical features observed in the Hunter Syndrome to develop among affected individuals.
If the mother is a carrier of the disorder, there is a highly likely chance, almost as good as 50% that it may be transmitted to a son as this affliction targets the male population predominantly. On account of this reason, often prenatal testing is recommended among pregnant carriers, whereby a sample extracted from the placenta can be tested to verify whether the defective gene is present or not.
Symptoms, Development & Diagnosis
As mentioned before, symptoms remain undiscovered at birth and may take as long as ages 2 to 4 to be discovered. For making an early diagnosis, however, it is pertinent to observe certain key symptoms that generally include the enlargement of the head also known as macrocephaly, the unusual thickening that may show up at the lips, a deep voice, other skeletal abnormalities and delayed developments in the most basic skills of walking and talking. In addition to these, other symptoms may include flared nostrils and the broadening of the nose, diarrhea, stiffness in the joints and aggressive behavior in the affected individual as a result of these underlying symptoms felt by the individual.
Although visible symptoms are hard to miss and help in the initial diagnosis, however, doctors may opt for additional testing in a medical laboratory to further second their opinions. For this purpose, doctors measure the enzyme activity of the iduronate-2-sulfatase (I2S) as the basic premise behind this testing is to confirm whether this enzyme is present in the first place or not. The method used to detect this is via a urine test for GAGs.
If you notice your child’s facial features or appearance starting to change, book an immediate appointment with a specialist to pursue further testing.
As symptoms start to appear right after infancy, it is highly important to treat this in early childhood in order to prevent any complications.
Science, as advanced as it is right now and equipped with the latest technological tools, still has not been able to find a cure for Hunter Syndrome. At present, treatment relies on merely the mitigation of symptoms and the temporary relief to avoid complications. Some of these methods include the elimination of tonsils that would open the flow of an affected child’s respiratory channel and help avoid congestion. This would also help with better sleep patterns eventually.
There is a highly likely chance of developing a heart condition if the child is affected with Hunter Syndrome. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to monitor any cardiovascular complications that may arise in the wake of this. Heart valves may even be replaced via surgery in order to mitigate chances of a heart failure.
Bones are fragile in children with Hunter Syndrome and healing is a process that does not come naturally to them. Physical therapy is one way to help improve the stiffness but is by no means a permanent solution. A wheelchair may eventually be required to help ease the pain and to counter the effects of a low stamina.
Enzyme therapy is one such treatment that is utilizing man-made enzymes, genetically engineered specially to replace the missing enzymes in a child. The idea is to ease the symptoms of the disease and delay as much damage as possible right from the early stages. The treatment takes place via the use of an IV (intravenous) on a weekly basis.
Gene therapy, another new treatment, is aimed at replacing the very chromosome, that produces the iduronate-2-sulfatase (I2S) enzyme. This could actually become the ultimate remedy for this disease. However, an extensive research is required in this regards to making this practical.
Author: Malik Noureed Awan