Alcoholism is broadly any alcohol use that leads to significant mental or physical health problems. Alcoholism is not a recognized diagnostic entity. Predominant diagnostic classifications are alcohol use disorder (DSM-5) or alcohol dependence (ICD-11).

Excessive alcohol consumption can damage all organ systems, but it particularly affects the brain, heart, liver, pancreas and immune system. Alcoholism can lead to mental illness, delirium tremens, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, irregular heartbeat, impaired immune response, liver cirrhosis and increased risk of cancer. Drinking during pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Women are generally more susceptible than men to the harmful effects of alcohol, primarily because of their smaller body weight, lower ability to metabolize alcohol and a higher proportion of body fat. In a small number of individuals, long-term, severe alcohol abuse eventually leads to cognitive impairment and overt dementia.

Environment and genetics are two factors in the risk of developing alcoholism, with about half of the risk attributed to each. Stress and related disorders, including anxiety, are key factors in the development of alcoholism, as alcohol use can temporarily reduce dysphoria. Someone with a parent or sibling with an alcohol addiction is three to four times more likely to develop an alcohol addiction themselves, but only a minority of them do so. Environmental factors include social, cultural and behavioral influences. High stress levels and anxiety, as well as the low cost of alcohol and easy accessibility, increase the risk. People may continue to drink in part to prevent or ameliorate withdrawal symptoms. After a person stops drinking alcohol, he or she may experience low levels of withdrawal for months. Medically, alcoholism is considered both a physical and mental illness. Questionnaires are usually used to detect possible alcoholism. Further information is then collected to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment BeterKlinic

BeterKliniek is the clinic for Integrative Medicine that bridges regular and non-regular medicine.

An van Veen (physician) and Michael van Gils (therapist) look for the cause of a condition or disease. That is where the treatment starts otherwise, as people often say, it is 'carrying water to the sea'. We call this cause medicine. Sometimes it is also desirable to treat the symptoms (at the same time). We call this symptom medicine.

Chronic disorders often have their cause in epi- genetics. You can schedule a free informative telephone consultation (phone number 040-7117337 until 1 p.m.) at BeterKliniek to discuss your symptoms so that we can provide you with further advice.