Alcohol and alcoholism: the symptoms

When the concentration of alcohol in the blood (alcohol) is 0.5 g / l, we observe a first symptom: the decrease in alertness.

If the blood alcohol level is higher than 0.8 g / l: this is the beginning of drunkenness. His symptoms are known to all. We are uninhibited, we laugh (or we cry) and we talk more easily ... Depending on the amount of alcohol drunk, we do not stand up well, we stagger, etc.

Then beyond 4 g / l, the subject loses consciousness and falls into the coma ethyl. In dependent people, the tolerance is higher, and coma can occur only above 6 g / l ...

Note that the blood alcohol level decreases by 0.15 grams / l in one hour.

Some drunkenness can be pathological. Drunkenness can be very agitated and violent, or associated with the exacerbation of a psychiatric disorder: mania, depression, paranoia, delirium, visual hallucinations, suicide.

In the long term, there may be cerebral complications: a Korsakoff syndrome (anterograde amnesia, fabrications and false recognitions), an encephalopathy of Gayet Wernicke, a dementia or an interpretive delirium of jealousy or persecution.

Withdrawal with alcohol can sometimes be very serious if not treated. This is the "unfortunately known" delirium tremens. The symptoms are brutal and fairly characteristic. It is a delirium with hallucinations, especially visual (threatening animals), accompanied by tremors, sometimes an epileptic fit, and dehydration. It can cause serious neurological sequelae, even death. This condition, which usually occurs two to four days after stopping the last drink in a highly alcohol-dependent person, requires emergency hospitalization. Fortunately, this delirium tremens is less common today.

The complications of alcoholism are serious and multiple:

  • digestive: gastritis, pancreatitis.
  • liverworts: hepatitis, cirrhosis and cancer.
  • metabolic: decreased glucose, increased lipids, vitamin deficiency.
  • blood loss: platelet reduction, coagulation disorder, esophageal varices.
  • heart disease: such as cardiomyopathy, for example.
  • cancers: mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, liver ...
  • during pregnancy: risk of prematurity, miscarriage, stunting.

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