Long-term use of alcoholic beverages in any case has an impact on the psyche of a previously healthy person. The disorders that alcohol provokes (more correctly, the products of its decay) are all kinds of psychotic disorders that differ in the clinical picture and symptoms. Acute alcoholic psychosis, schizophrenia, pseudoparalysis , delirium and hallucinosis are not all disorders that can occur in an alcoholic. The first manifestations of acute mental health disorders can be observed both after 10 years of alcohol abuse, and after a three-year “experience”.
Alcoholic psychosis: what is it?
Alcoholic psychosis is a general term for all psychotic disorders that have been triggered by long-term alcohol use. The decay products of ethanol negatively affect all organs, especially the cerebral cortex and nerve cells. Against the background of alcoholism, complex and often irreversible disorders of the functions of internal organs and metabolism develop. Surrogate alcoholic beverages are of particular danger. For the first clinical manifestations in this situation, a long period of time is not required, it is enough to abuse alcohol for 2-3 years.
In turn, alcoholic psychoses are divided into:
- alcoholic pseudoparalysis ;
- alcoholic delusional psychosis;
- Korsakov’s psychosis;
- alcoholic encephalopathy;
- alcoholic delirium (delirious tremens);
- alcoholic schizophrenia;
- pathological intoxication;
- alcoholic epilepsy.
Treatment of alcoholic psychosis and its duration depends on the stage of the disease (as a rule, hospitalization is carried out in the late stages of alcoholism), etiology and pathogenesis. Any violation that was provoked by alcohol intoxication requires immediate hospitalization in a polyclinic hospital. Often alcoholics in this state are a danger to others, behave inappropriately and aggressively. In acute forms of the disease, there may be a risk to the patient’s life – the development of heart failure, stroke, heart attack.
More on alcohol: delirium , pseudoparalysis and epilepsy
Post -alcohol delirium tremens is the most common diagnosis of alcohol addicts who, after a long binge, stop taking alcohol (usually develops on the 3rd-4th day of sobriety). The course of this disease is characterized by the manifestation of a violent reaction of the patient to sound and light stimuli, he is haunted by hallucinations of a different nature (tactile, visual, sound). Motor agitation and poor sleep are constant companions of the disease.
Strengthening of symptoms is observed in the evening and at night, the patient sleeps in fragments for several hours, disturbing sleep, accompanied by nightmares and abrupt awakenings. Hallucinations manifest themselves depending on the individual characteristics of the character of an alcoholic: for a person who is calm in life, hallucinations will appear in the form of small insects, for people with increased aggression, devils, dead relatives, rats, etc. will be characteristic visual hallucinations. The first attack of delirium is most acute, all the others regress, become frequent but less impulsive. The duration of symptoms is 3-5 days. Treatment is inpatient.
Chronic alcoholic psychoses against the background of constant use of surrogates are accompanied by the manifestation of such a condition as pseudoparalysis . The patient cannot control his body, an imaginary paralysis of the lower extremities occurs without an obvious clinical picture. Most often, such conditions are observed in alcoholics who drink low-quality alcoholic beverages, medical tinctures, home-made moonshine. The course of the disease is accompanied by:
- lack of pupillary response to light changes;
- lower limb pain;
- hand tremor (both during a hangover and in the normal state);
- beriberi against the background of an inadequate diet;
- dysarthria , inhibited reaction;
- tendon dysfunction;
- polyneuritic phenomena.
prognosis of pseudoparalysis is positive: already after 2 days the patient’s condition stabilizes, the symptoms disappear.
Epilepsy due to alcoholism
Epileptic seizures occur during the period of abstinence from alcohol. Epileptiform seizures are associated with general intoxication of the body. Accompanied by loss of consciousness, muscle spasms of the whole body, tilting the head back, pain and convulsions. The duration of the attack is 2-3 minutes. Often the first attack is the most severe. Further abuse of alcohol provokes the formation of a chronic disease.
Alcoholic encephalopathy and Korsakoff’s psychosis
It is diagnosed in persons who have been drinking alcohol of dubious quality for a long time (surrogate, tinctures, alcohol pharmaceutical drugs). Violations mainly concern the patient’s memory. An alcoholic with Korsakov ‘s psychosis cannot remember basic things: when was the last meal, who is the neighbor, what is the name of the child, etc.
Symptoms are similar to amnesia. This condition is also associated with impaired coordination of movements, changes in visual and auditory perception, while the core of the personality remains unchanged. An alcoholic is not oriented in space, and all movements and actions are performed on the territory of the bed, room. A distinctive feature of this violation is the plausibility of stories: the patient talks about events that allegedly occurred in his life. At the same time, all stories look believable and real. Thus, the brain tries to resume thinking and memory.
This disease is typical for people who drink alcohol in large doses for a long time. Encephalopathy is the result of constant exposure to the breakdown products of ethanol on the nerve cells of the brain. The destruction of nerve bundles occurs as a result of severe intoxication of the body and a lack of B vitamins . It can be conditionally divided into acute and chronic encephalopathy (the most common variety is Gaye -Wernicke). Hospitalization and subsequent treatment is mandatory, otherwise the disease ends in death.
Neurological disorders are extensive and persistent:
- violations of the heart;
- change in heart rate;
- fever with difficulty breathing;
- sphincter weakness;
- increased muscle tone with cramps in the lower extremities;
- paralysis of the oculomotor muscles;
- weight loss, decreased or complete lack of appetite;
The general physical condition is associated with progressive weight loss. The skin also changes: the characteristic signs are reddening of the skin of the face and body, the manifestation of spider veins and pigmentation of a different nature (often dark brown in color). Treatment of alcoholic psychosis of this nature depends on the degree of complexity. In acute and pathological diseases, full restoration of functions is impossible.
One of the types of alcoholic psychosis, which is accompanied by manifestations of aggressive delirium towards relatives and friends. Occurs during a period of abstinence from alcohol after a long binge. Delusional ideas alternate with obsessive thoughts, jealousy, a worldwide conspiracy against them. Alcoholics think that some group of people is out to kill or rob. Confusion is accompanied by bouts of panic fear and anxiety.
Actions in this state are often impulsive: the patient, in a fit of fear, can jump out of a moving vehicle, start running or call for help. Attacks of aggression that are directed at relatives and people around them are justified by an imaginary conspiracy against the patient. Also, delirium may be accompanied by illusions, visual hallucinations that resemble delirious symptoms. The course of alcoholic paranoid is short – up to 7 days. Long-term psychosis for more than a month is even less common.
A characteristic distinguishing feature of this state is the occurrence of primary delirium, which does not depend on hallucinations that occur from time to time. The structure of its development occurs according to the paranoid type (dependence on psychogenic circumstances). Less often, symptoms with a certain paranoid structure are diagnosed (the reaction of an alcoholic depends on hallucinatory manifestations). Alcoholic paranoid is the accumulated fears that the patient experiences again and again in a state of extreme intoxication, or at the moment after a hangover.
Most often, relatives and friends who are forced to endure aggression, jealousy and screaming at themselves suffer from this disease. What to do in case of aggressive behavior of an alcohol addict ? Ambulance and hospitalization in a psychiatric or narcological department is the best solution for both the patient and his relatives. Treatment at home is often impossible for a number of reasons. Among the main problems is the refusal of the patient from alcohol abstinence.
Alcoholic psychosis: treatment and prevention
The toxic effect on the nervous system forms complex and life-threatening conditions. The clinical picture in some cases is accompanied by a manifestation of aggression towards others, psychosomatic manifestations and a violent reaction to the provision of assistance from the outside. An alcoholic at the moment of mental excitement is inadequate and dangerous for the environment. Crime reports are often accompanied by murders (suicides) on the background of alcohol intoxication. It is for this reason that it is important to call an ambulance at the first alarming clinical manifestations, accompanied by:
- a sharp change in mood;
- apathy, followed by aggression;
- lack of appetite;
- sleep disturbance or its complete absence;
- obsessive ideas;
- fantastic stories that could not occur in the patient’s life;
- aggression on the offer of any help from relatives and friends;
- intoxication even from small doses of alcohol;
- impulsiveness and unpredictability of behavior;
- pathological jealousy, especially if this character trait has not been manifested before.
Alcoholic psychosis, its symptoms and treatment depend on the stage of the disease, as well as on the concomitant chronic diseases of the patient. First aid in this case is the protection of the alcohol addict from the usual environment, the conduct of therapy aimed at removing toxins from the body. Naturally, such events at home are impossible to carry out. The prognosis, in most cases, depends on the desire of the patient himself to recover and realize the cause of all his troubles.
Alcoholism is a factor that causes previously smart and purposeful people to degrade. The decrease in the level of material security also has an impact on the increase in alcohol consumption. However, education and constant preventive educational activities will help to bring up a healthy nation without alcohol and drug addiction.