Alcohol use disorder

Alcohol dependence; Alcohol abuse; Problem drinking; Drinking problem; Alcohol addiction; Alcoholism - alcohol use; Substance use - alcohol

Alcohol use disorder is when your drinking causes serious problems in your life, yet you keep drinking. You may also need more and more alcohol to feel drunk. Stopping suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms.

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  • Bipolar disorder - Animation

    Bipolar disorder

    Animation

  • Bipolar disorder - Animation

    If you, or a person close to you, have frequent episodes of extreme mood swings, going between periods of mania, or an exaggerated elevated "good" mood, to quickly experiencing a lowering or depressed mood often without reason, you may have bipolar disorder. Let's talk about this condition, and how it can be managed. As just stated, Bipolar disorder is a brain condition that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, and ability to carry out daily tasks. Symptoms can be severe, lasting from days to months. Someone with bipolar disorder may be easily distracted, have little need for sleep, exercise poor judgment and temper control, and exhibit reckless behavior and a lack of self control. They may have very elevated moods, be very involved in their activities, and may occasionally seem very agitated or irritated. On the flip side, depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder may include daily sadness, a difficulty concentrating, eating problems, a lack of energy, feeling worthless, and thoughts of death or suicide. People with bipolar disorder have a higher risk of suicide than people without this condition. They also may abuse alcohol or other substances, which usually only make their symptoms worse. So, how is bipolar disorder treated?The main goals of treatment are to help the person avoid moving from one phase to another, avoid the need to stay in a hospital or treatment center, to help the patient function as well as possible between episodes, to prevent self-injury and suicide, and make bipolar episodes less frequent and less severe. Keep in mind periods of depression or mania often return in someone with bipolar disorder, even when they are treated. Drugs, called mood stabilizers, are usually the first line of treatment. Often accompanied by psychotherapy and psychoeducation. A person with bipolar disorder may need stronger medicines as well, such as anti-psychotic or anti-seizure drugs. Anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants to treat depression, are problematic because they can increase the likelihood of a manic episode even when people also take a mood stabilizer. Some patients may have a procedure called electroconvulsive therapy, in which a small amount of electrical current will be delivered to their heads to cause seizure activity in the brain to treat either depression or mania. Evidence to support this treatment exists, but it limited. Support programs for people with bipolar disorder are important. Family programs that combine support and education about bipolar disorder may help families cope and reduce the odds of symptoms returning. Programs that offer outreach and community support services can help people who do not have family and social support. It is also important for people with bipolar disorder to learn to cope with their symptoms, get enough sleep, live a healthy lifestyle, avoid recreational drugs, and take their medications correctly, and learn to watch for the early signs of return symptoms, having a plan of action to know what to do if and when they do return. Also, keep in mind, support is very important in the treatment of bipolar disorder. Family members can help the patient find the right support services and make sure the patient takes their medication correctly.

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - Animation

    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

    Animation

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - Animation

    A lot of kids are what we call "high energy. " They seem to bounce off walls and find it impossible to sit still. For some kids, though, overactive and impulsive behaviors are severe enough to affect their schoolwork and home life. These kids may have a condition called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. ADHD is very common. In fact, it's the most common behavioral problem in children. About 3 to 5% of school-aged kids are diagnosed with ADHD. Most of them are boys. So, what causes ADHD?Doctors aren't sure exactly what causes ADHD, though we do know some things that contribute. And we do know that the brain looks different in kids with this condition than it does in kids without the disorder. Most kids with ADHD also have other problems with behavior, depression, sleeping, or learning. How do you know for sure that your child has ADHD?There are three types of ADHD: inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive. Kids with the inattentive type get distracted easily. You'll find them staring out of the window in class instead of paying attention. They tend to lose their pens and pencils, and can't seem to ever finish their homework. Kids with hyperactivity are the ones who can't sit still. Their feet are always tapping and their mouth is always moving. It's like someone wound them up, but never wound them back down. Kids with impulsivity have trouble controlling themselves. They'll blurt out the answer to a question before the teacher has even finished asking it. They often won't let their friends finish a sentence, or a game, without butting in. In kids with these kinds of symptoms, ADHD can be a tricky diagnosis to make. Sometimes kids are mistakenly diagnosed with ADHD when they're just high energy. Other kids have ADHD and never get diagnosed. To get diagnosed with ADHD, kids need to have at least six symptoms of inattention and six symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity that have lasted for at least 6 months. A pediatrician, psychologist or psychiatrist can test the child and talk to the parents and teachers to make the diagnosis. How do doctors treat ADHD?Many kids with ADHD respond to a combination of medicines and behavior therapy. The drugs that are used most often for ADHD are called psychostimulants, like Adderall, Focalin, and Ritalin. A nonstimulant drug called Strattera may also be effective. Because these drugs can have side effects, kids should only use them under a doctor's guidance. Talk therapy that involves both the parents and child can help gain more control over ADHD behaviors. Parents can learn how to limit distractions, make sure their child gets enough sleep and eats right, and learn how to set consistent rules, rewarding good behavior and addressing bad behavior. Good sleep, good food, and plenty of physical activity, especially outdoors may help. About half of kids with ADHD eventually grow out of it. If they don't grow out of it, it can lead to problems in adulthood, like drug and alcohol abuse, difficulty keeping a job, and sometimes trouble with the law. Diagnosing ADHD early and addressing it right away can give kids the best chance for a healthy, happy future. So if you see any signs of ADHD in your child, talk to a pediatrician or child psychologist.

  • Depression - Animation

    Depression

    Animation

  • Depression - Animation

    If you often feel sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps, you may have depression. Let's talk about depression, and what you can do to get out of your funk. Depression often runs in families. This may be due to your genes, passed down by your parents and grandparents, the behaviors you learn at home, or both. Even if your genetic makeup makes you more likely to develop depression, a stressful or unhappy life event may trigger the depression. Depression can have many causes, including internal factors like genetics, or negative personality. External factors, substance misuse, or trauma and loss. Common triggers include alcohol or drug use, and medical problems long-term pain, cancer or even sleeping problems. Stressful life events, like getting laid off, abuse at home or on the job, neglect, family problems, death of a loved one, or divorce, can send someone spiraling into depression. There are three main types of depression, major depression, atypical depression and Dysthymia. To be diagnosed with major depression, you must demonstrate 5 or more of the primary symptoms for at least two weeks. Atypical depression occurs in about a third of patients with depression, with symptoms including overeating, oversleeping, and feeling like you are weighed down. Dysthymia is a milder form of depression that can last for years if not treated. Other forms include the depression that is part of bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, occurring after a woman gives birth, Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, occurring 1 week before a woman's menstrual period and seasonal affective disorder, occurring in both males and females during the fall and winter seasons. No matter what type of depression you have and how severe it is, some self-care steps can help. Get enough sleep if you can, exercise regularly, and follow a healthy, nutritious diet. Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. Get involved in activities that make you happy and spend time with family and friends. If you are religious, talk to a clergy member. Consider meditation, tai chi, or other relaxation methods. If you are depressed for 2 weeks or longer, contact your doctor or other health professional before your symptoms get worse. Treatment will depend on your symptoms. For mild depression, counseling and self-care may be enough. Either psychotherapy or antidepressant medicines may help, but they are often more effective when combined. Vigorous exercise and light therapy could offer significant benefit alone or in combination. Healthy lifestyle habits can help prevent and treat depression, and reduce the chances of it coming back. Talk therapy and antidepressant medication can also make you less likely to become depressed again. In fact, talk therapy may help you through times of grief, stress, or low mood. In general, staying active, making a difference in the life of others, getting outside and keeping in close contact with other people is important for preventing depression.

  • Alcoholic liver disease - Animation

    Alcoholic liver disease

    Animation

  • Alcoholic liver disease - Animation

    Long-term alcohol abuse can lead to dangerous damage called alcoholic liver disease. Let's talk today about alcoholic liver disease. Alcoholic liver disease usually occurs after years of drinking too much. The longer you've abused alcohol, and the more alcohol you've consumed, the greater likelihood you will develop liver disease. Alcohol may cause swelling and inflammation in your liver, or something called hepatitis. Over time, this can lead to scarring and cirrhosis of the liver, which is the final phase of alcoholic liver disease. The damage caused by cirrhosis is unfortunately irreversible. To determine if you have alcoholic liver disease your doctor will probably test your blood, take a biopsy of the liver, and do a liver function test. You should also have other tests to rule out other diseases that could be causing your symptoms. Your symptoms may vary depending upon the severity of your disease. Usually, symptoms are worse after a recent period of heavy drinking. In fact, you may not even have symptoms until the disease is pretty advanced. Generally, symptoms of alcoholic liver disease include abdominal pain and tenderness, dry mouth and increased thirst, fatigue, jaundice (which is yellowing of the skin), loss of appetite, and nausea. Your skin may look abnormally dark or light. Your feet or hands may look red. You may notice small, red, spider-like blood vessels on your skin. You may have abnormal bleeding. Your stools might be dark, bloody, black, or tarry. You may have frequent nosebleeds or bleeding gums. You may vomit blood or material that looks like coffee grounds. Alcoholic liver disease also can affect your brain and nervous system. Symptoms include agitation, changing mood, confusion, and pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation in your arms or legs. The most important part of treatment is to stop drinking alcohol completely. If you don't have liver cirrhosis yet, your liver can actually heal itself, that is, if you stop drinking alcohol. You may need an alcohol rehabilitation program or counseling to break free from alcohol. Vitamins, especially B-complex vitamins and folic acid, can help reverse malnutrition. If cirrhosis develops, you will need to manage the problems it can cause. It may even lead to needing a liver transplant.

  • Depression and men

    Depression and men

    Depression is less reported in the male population, but this may be caused by male tendency to mask emotional disorders with behavior such as alcohol abuse.

    Depression and men

    illustration

  • Breath alcohol test

    Breath alcohol test

    The breath alcohol test measures the amount of alcohol in the blood by testing exhaled air. The test is performed by blowing into a breath machine 15 minutes after alcohol consumption. The test determines how much alcohol it takes to raise the blood-alcohol level to a dangerous level.

    Breath alcohol test

    illustration

  • Bipolar disorder - Animation

    Bipolar disorder

    Animation

  • Bipolar disorder - Animation

    If you, or a person close to you, have frequent episodes of extreme mood swings, going between periods of mania, or an exaggerated elevated "good" mood, to quickly experiencing a lowering or depressed mood often without reason, you may have bipolar disorder. Let's talk about this condition, and how it can be managed. As just stated, Bipolar disorder is a brain condition that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, and ability to carry out daily tasks. Symptoms can be severe, lasting from days to months. Someone with bipolar disorder may be easily distracted, have little need for sleep, exercise poor judgment and temper control, and exhibit reckless behavior and a lack of self control. They may have very elevated moods, be very involved in their activities, and may occasionally seem very agitated or irritated. On the flip side, depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder may include daily sadness, a difficulty concentrating, eating problems, a lack of energy, feeling worthless, and thoughts of death or suicide. People with bipolar disorder have a higher risk of suicide than people without this condition. They also may abuse alcohol or other substances, which usually only make their symptoms worse. So, how is bipolar disorder treated?The main goals of treatment are to help the person avoid moving from one phase to another, avoid the need to stay in a hospital or treatment center, to help the patient function as well as possible between episodes, to prevent self-injury and suicide, and make bipolar episodes less frequent and less severe. Keep in mind periods of depression or mania often return in someone with bipolar disorder, even when they are treated. Drugs, called mood stabilizers, are usually the first line of treatment. Often accompanied by psychotherapy and psychoeducation. A person with bipolar disorder may need stronger medicines as well, such as anti-psychotic or anti-seizure drugs. Anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants to treat depression, are problematic because they can increase the likelihood of a manic episode even when people also take a mood stabilizer. Some patients may have a procedure called electroconvulsive therapy, in which a small amount of electrical current will be delivered to their heads to cause seizure activity in the brain to treat either depression or mania. Evidence to support this treatment exists, but it limited. Support programs for people with bipolar disorder are important. Family programs that combine support and education about bipolar disorder may help families cope and reduce the odds of symptoms returning. Programs that offer outreach and community support services can help people who do not have family and social support. It is also important for people with bipolar disorder to learn to cope with their symptoms, get enough sleep, live a healthy lifestyle, avoid recreational drugs, and take their medications correctly, and learn to watch for the early signs of return symptoms, having a plan of action to know what to do if and when they do return. Also, keep in mind, support is very important in the treatment of bipolar disorder. Family members can help the patient find the right support services and make sure the patient takes their medication correctly.

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - Animation

    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

    Animation

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - Animation

    A lot of kids are what we call "high energy. " They seem to bounce off walls and find it impossible to sit still. For some kids, though, overactive and impulsive behaviors are severe enough to affect their schoolwork and home life. These kids may have a condition called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. ADHD is very common. In fact, it's the most common behavioral problem in children. About 3 to 5% of school-aged kids are diagnosed with ADHD. Most of them are boys. So, what causes ADHD?Doctors aren't sure exactly what causes ADHD, though we do know some things that contribute. And we do know that the brain looks different in kids with this condition than it does in kids without the disorder. Most kids with ADHD also have other problems with behavior, depression, sleeping, or learning. How do you know for sure that your child has ADHD?There are three types of ADHD: inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive. Kids with the inattentive type get distracted easily. You'll find them staring out of the window in class instead of paying attention. They tend to lose their pens and pencils, and can't seem to ever finish their homework. Kids with hyperactivity are the ones who can't sit still. Their feet are always tapping and their mouth is always moving. It's like someone wound them up, but never wound them back down. Kids with impulsivity have trouble controlling themselves. They'll blurt out the answer to a question before the teacher has even finished asking it. They often won't let their friends finish a sentence, or a game, without butting in. In kids with these kinds of symptoms, ADHD can be a tricky diagnosis to make. Sometimes kids are mistakenly diagnosed with ADHD when they're just high energy. Other kids have ADHD and never get diagnosed. To get diagnosed with ADHD, kids need to have at least six symptoms of inattention and six symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity that have lasted for at least 6 months. A pediatrician, psychologist or psychiatrist can test the child and talk to the parents and teachers to make the diagnosis. How do doctors treat ADHD?Many kids with ADHD respond to a combination of medicines and behavior therapy. The drugs that are used most often for ADHD are called psychostimulants, like Adderall, Focalin, and Ritalin. A nonstimulant drug called Strattera may also be effective. Because these drugs can have side effects, kids should only use them under a doctor's guidance. Talk therapy that involves both the parents and child can help gain more control over ADHD behaviors. Parents can learn how to limit distractions, make sure their child gets enough sleep and eats right, and learn how to set consistent rules, rewarding good behavior and addressing bad behavior. Good sleep, good food, and plenty of physical activity, especially outdoors may help. About half of kids with ADHD eventually grow out of it. If they don't grow out of it, it can lead to problems in adulthood, like drug and alcohol abuse, difficulty keeping a job, and sometimes trouble with the law. Diagnosing ADHD early and addressing it right away can give kids the best chance for a healthy, happy future. So if you see any signs of ADHD in your child, talk to a pediatrician or child psychologist.

  • Depression - Animation

    Depression

    Animation

  • Depression - Animation

    If you often feel sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps, you may have depression. Let's talk about depression, and what you can do to get out of your funk. Depression often runs in families. This may be due to your genes, passed down by your parents and grandparents, the behaviors you learn at home, or both. Even if your genetic makeup makes you more likely to develop depression, a stressful or unhappy life event may trigger the depression. Depression can have many causes, including internal factors like genetics, or negative personality. External factors, substance misuse, or trauma and loss. Common triggers include alcohol or drug use, and medical problems long-term pain, cancer or even sleeping problems. Stressful life events, like getting laid off, abuse at home or on the job, neglect, family problems, death of a loved one, or divorce, can send someone spiraling into depression. There are three main types of depression, major depression, atypical depression and Dysthymia. To be diagnosed with major depression, you must demonstrate 5 or more of the primary symptoms for at least two weeks. Atypical depression occurs in about a third of patients with depression, with symptoms including overeating, oversleeping, and feeling like you are weighed down. Dysthymia is a milder form of depression that can last for years if not treated. Other forms include the depression that is part of bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, occurring after a woman gives birth, Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, occurring 1 week before a woman's menstrual period and seasonal affective disorder, occurring in both males and females during the fall and winter seasons. No matter what type of depression you have and how severe it is, some self-care steps can help. Get enough sleep if you can, exercise regularly, and follow a healthy, nutritious diet. Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. Get involved in activities that make you happy and spend time with family and friends. If you are religious, talk to a clergy member. Consider meditation, tai chi, or other relaxation methods. If you are depressed for 2 weeks or longer, contact your doctor or other health professional before your symptoms get worse. Treatment will depend on your symptoms. For mild depression, counseling and self-care may be enough. Either psychotherapy or antidepressant medicines may help, but they are often more effective when combined. Vigorous exercise and light therapy could offer significant benefit alone or in combination. Healthy lifestyle habits can help prevent and treat depression, and reduce the chances of it coming back. Talk therapy and antidepressant medication can also make you less likely to become depressed again. In fact, talk therapy may help you through times of grief, stress, or low mood. In general, staying active, making a difference in the life of others, getting outside and keeping in close contact with other people is important for preventing depression.

  • Alcoholic liver disease - Animation

    Alcoholic liver disease

    Animation

  • Alcoholic liver disease - Animation

    Long-term alcohol abuse can lead to dangerous damage called alcoholic liver disease. Let's talk today about alcoholic liver disease. Alcoholic liver disease usually occurs after years of drinking too much. The longer you've abused alcohol, and the more alcohol you've consumed, the greater likelihood you will develop liver disease. Alcohol may cause swelling and inflammation in your liver, or something called hepatitis. Over time, this can lead to scarring and cirrhosis of the liver, which is the final phase of alcoholic liver disease. The damage caused by cirrhosis is unfortunately irreversible. To determine if you have alcoholic liver disease your doctor will probably test your blood, take a biopsy of the liver, and do a liver function test. You should also have other tests to rule out other diseases that could be causing your symptoms. Your symptoms may vary depending upon the severity of your disease. Usually, symptoms are worse after a recent period of heavy drinking. In fact, you may not even have symptoms until the disease is pretty advanced. Generally, symptoms of alcoholic liver disease include abdominal pain and tenderness, dry mouth and increased thirst, fatigue, jaundice (which is yellowing of the skin), loss of appetite, and nausea. Your skin may look abnormally dark or light. Your feet or hands may look red. You may notice small, red, spider-like blood vessels on your skin. You may have abnormal bleeding. Your stools might be dark, bloody, black, or tarry. You may have frequent nosebleeds or bleeding gums. You may vomit blood or material that looks like coffee grounds. Alcoholic liver disease also can affect your brain and nervous system. Symptoms include agitation, changing mood, confusion, and pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation in your arms or legs. The most important part of treatment is to stop drinking alcohol completely. If you don't have liver cirrhosis yet, your liver can actually heal itself, that is, if you stop drinking alcohol. You may need an alcohol rehabilitation program or counseling to break free from alcohol. Vitamins, especially B-complex vitamins and folic acid, can help reverse malnutrition. If cirrhosis develops, you will need to manage the problems it can cause. It may even lead to needing a liver transplant.

  • Depression and men

    Depression and men

    Depression is less reported in the male population, but this may be caused by male tendency to mask emotional disorders with behavior such as alcohol abuse.

    Depression and men

    illustration

  • Breath alcohol test

    Breath alcohol test

    The breath alcohol test measures the amount of alcohol in the blood by testing exhaled air. The test is performed by blowing into a breath machine 15 minutes after alcohol consumption. The test determines how much alcohol it takes to raise the blood-alcohol level to a dangerous level.

    Breath alcohol test

    illustration

Review Date: 4/8/2018

Reviewed By: Ryan James Kimmel, MD, Medical Director of Hospital Psychiatry at the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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