HNO6008 Mental Health Nursing

Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder, one of the furthermost common disorders in most of the parts of the world (Kranzler & Soyka, 2018). Although, the cause of such disorder is still not clear enough, however, there are several factors that might contribute for its development in an individual. These factors might include peer interaction, home environment, level of the cognitive functioning, several pre-existing personality disorders and genetic factors (Kranzler & Soyka, 2018). The misuse of alcohol is linked too several social, health and economic problems. The estimates depend on several parameters, however, some studies suggested that around 40% of the patients have the experience of several complication regarding the misuse of alcohol. In few countries, around 186.32 billion people of age over 15 and older have reported the use of alcohol actively (Witkiewitz, Litten & Leggio, 2019). This was reported by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2020. Around 52.9% have reported their habit of binge drinking period within 45 days prior to the survey. Of those reported for binge drinking, around 30% reported about heavy use of alcohol which was distinct as the binge drinking for about 5 days or more in the previous 45 days, that accounted for around 13% of the total users of alcohol. It has been observed that around 17.2 billion people die due to excessive consumption of alcohol (Witkiewitz, Litten & Leggio, 2019).

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The main objective of the paper is to discuss about alcohol use disorder which is one of the important reasons of death worldwide. The paper is sub sectioned describing about different aspects of such disorder including gender difference, prevalence of the disorder, signs and symptoms, Risk factors of the disorder, treatment plan and other associated points. The paper concludes with a summary of the main points described in the paper.


Alcohol use disorder is the diagnosis that is as defined in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition which is normally known as DSM-5 (McHugh & Weiss, 2019). It has replaced analytical labels of the alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence that is described in DSM-4. The major motive for the alteration is that the criteria of DSM-4 assumed “abuse” as milder disordered then the “dependence” (Kim et al., 2020). However, it was observed that the outcome of this disorder with abuse of alcohol was similar with those with the dependence. estimated that different factors contribute for the development of this disorder in an individual. The factors that trigger such condition includes environmental influences like genetic factor, home atmosphere, peer interactions the level of the cognitive functioning along with pre-existing disorders associated with the personality of an individual (Sliedrecht et al., 2019). It has been suspected that some genes are responsible for developing the risk factor of alcohol use disorder. The presence of the alcohol use disorder signifies existence of several physiological, behaviour and psychosocial stress that is secondary to the use of excess amount of alcohol and severity is being rated that is grounded on the present number of criteria. The men are more prone to develop alcohol use disorder than the women as they tend to initiate the drinking habit from an earlier age (Castillo-Carniglia et al., 2019). The personality disorder is also related with the initiation of developing alcohol use disorder which includes impulsivity type disorder, depression, socialization related disorder and disinhibition (Bogowicz et al., 2018).

Gender Difference Of Alcohol Use Disorder

For most of the age group, men have the higher tendency of developing substance use than the females. Therefore, the men are dependent on illicit use of alcohol than the women. However, the women also possess the risk of developing alcohol use disorder. One the other side, it has been evident that, women have the risk of developing susceptibility towards craving of alcohol. The women also have higher chance of relapse of alcohol use disorder (Witkiewitz, Litten & Leggio, 2019).

Prevalence Of Alcohol Use Disorder

According to a report published by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health that was conducted by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration in 2020, an projected of about 30 million people of age 12 and more had been suffering from substance abuse disorder among which around 25.9 million high alcohol use disorder. Out of them around 3 million people had the illicit use disorder of drugs (Castillo-Carniglia et al., 2019). It is estimated that the leading substance use disorder is alcohol in most of the countries. It was reported that out of the population with the alcohol use disorder and the illegal drug disorder, about 0.7 million where between the age of 12 to 17 and were in the adolescent period of development (Medisauskaite & Kamau, 2019). Around 4 million people where between the age of 18 and 25 and 12 million people was equal to age 26 or older. These people were reported to have both alcohol use disorder and substance use disorder (Castillo-Carniglia et al., 2019). It has been reported in most of the cases that alcohol use disorder is associated with some other mental illness and is common among the population with reduced rate of education and income. People from the backward communities of a nation where mostly affected by such disorder (Castillo-Carniglia et al., 2019). Although, alcohol use disorder has affected billions of people globally, the most impact of it was observed in European and American population.

Signs And Symptoms Of Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder could be mild, moderate and severe, which is grounded on the symptoms experienced by the patient (Kranzler & Soyka, 2018). The major signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder is that the person is unable to limit the consumption of alcohol while drinking, making several unsuccessful attempts to cut down the amount of alcohol consumed, strong cravings towards alcohol, feeling to come up with the major obligations apps different field due to excessive consumption of alcohol reducing the social activities along with personal interests, consuming alcohol in several situations which might become life risk for the person, development of alcohol tolerance in an individual which requires more amount of it for feeling the effect of alcohol and experience of withdrawal symptoms that includes nausea, shaking and sweating when the person try to avoid drinking (Kuerbis, 2020). The alcohol use disorder includes alcohol toxication along with withdrawal symptoms observed in an individual.

Alcohol intoxication is cost due to the presence of excessive amount of the alcohol in the bloodstream open individual. With the increasing alcohol concentration in blood, the person becomes more impaired. Alcohol intoxication results in behavioural problems and alteration of the mental states of an individual which might cause unstable moods, inappropriate behaviour, impaired judgment capability, poor body coordination, impaired memory, slurred speech and impaired attention (Bölte, Girdler & Marschik, 2019). The individual might experience blackouts during which the events cannot be remembered. Excessive amount of alcohol in blood stream of an individual could lead to coma or death as well.

Withdrawal symptoms of alcohol use my talker when an individual has been consuming alcohol for a prolong time and then suddenly reduced the consumption. The withdrawal symptoms might develop within few hours to about five days after reducing the alcohol consumption. The signs of such withdrawal include rapid heartbeat, nausea, sweating, sleeping problems, hallucination, anxiety, body shaking and many more. Sometimes the symptoms can become severe for impairing the ability to function properly indifferent time (Mellinger, 2019).

Risk Factor Of Alcohol Use Disorder

Although, the use and consumption of alcohol might initiate at an early age of about 12 to 15 years, however the development of alcohol use disorder might occur in the age between 20 to 25 years. There are several risk factors that might trigger the development of search disorder in an individual (Ramlakhan et al., 2018). Excessive consumption of alcohol on regular basis and for prolonged period of time which can also be regarded as binge drinking could lead to several problems related to alcohol and the initiation for developing alcohol use disorder. An individual who has started binge drinking at an early age poses high risk for developing alcohol use disorder. The jeopardy of developing such disorder is found to be higher among the people who possess family history of problems with the consumption of alcohol. This situation might be influenced by certain genetic factors that is inherited (Carvalho et al., 2019). Alcohol use disorder has been observed to be a common practice for the people suffering from the mental health issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Several research have indicated association of bariatric surgery with the development of alcohol use disorder or its relapse after being recovered from the same (Glantz et al., 2020).

Treatment Of Alcohol Use Disorder

There are several evidence best treatment procedures which are available for treating alcohol use disorder. Although the treatment procedures have been effective in most of the cases, however the treatment varies from person to person depending upon several factors that contributes for the condition. Medication is one of the most common approaches for treating alcohol use disorder by reducing several symptoms associated with the condition (Ritchie & Roser, 2018). Medicines are also used to prevent relapse of the disorder and it has been observed that these medicines are non-addictive and are usually used in combination with other medications. There are several behavioural treatments that has been found to be effective which are usually termed as alcohol counseling. The behavioural counselling process build motivation and educates the patient to cope up with the craving and thus prevent relapse of the previous state of binge drinking (Ritchie & Roser, 2018).

The biopsychosocial approach of treating alcohol use disorder tries to evaluate the biological, psychological and social factors that have contributed for the addiction. (Kim et al., 2020) If the factors are well evaluated, the approach would help to manage the factors that triggered the alcohol use disorder. Biological factor determines the biological aspect of the disorder, psychological factors evaluate the psychological triggering factors along with the presence of mental health issues, and the social element helps to evaluate the social cause that might have acted as risk factor for such disorder (Kranzler & Soyka, 2018).

The recovery-oriented systems of care for alcohol use disorder or any other substance abuse is utilized for effectively treating such disorder. The treatment plan would be able to limit the symptoms of the disorder and simultaneously helps the patient to overcome such disorders (Carvalho et al., 2019).

The trauma informed care for alcohol use disorder or other substance abuse is the method of treating addiction which treats each individual “as if they have experienced trauma”. This method helps the health care professionals by treating the trauma of the patient which is usually present in everyone’s life. Since trauma plays an important role in ones’ life, therefore, treating and managing the trauma would help to overcome such addiction. It helps to promote life in community of the patient (Mellinger, 2019).


From the above discussion it can be concluded that, alcohol use disorder is one of the common burdens of disease recorded in Australia. Excessive alcoholism results in the development of alcohol use disorder among the population. The initiation of alcohol consumption is found to be present among the individual between the age of 12 to 15 years and thus the development of alcohol use disorder is found to be between 18 to 25 years. There are several factors that lead to the development of the disorder in association with the environmental factors which triggers for developing such condition. There are several symptoms that might indicate binge drinking habit in an individual and the initiation of developing alcohol use disorder. Alcohol intoxication and alcohol withdrawal symptoms are often observed among the people who has been consuming alcohol for prolonged period of time. The genetic, social, psychological and environmental factors have greater impact on the drinking habits of an individual. The metabolism of alcohol differs person to person and is one of the main reasons for developing pinch drinking habits that results in alcohol use disorder in the population. Behavioral therapy and medicines can be used caught reading the disorder effectively.  


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