Diagnosis and Treatment of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol Addiction in Austria

Alcoholism in Austria is widespread:

An estimated 340,000 Austrian men and women are currently considered to be alcohol-dependent, almost one in four adults consumes alcohol to an extent that endangers their health. Although the total number of alcohol-dependent persons has remained stable in recent years, the relative percentage of women is rising significantly, while that of men has fallen slightly. Approximately 10% of Austrians will suffer an alcohol addiction during their lifetime and will therefore need some form of treatment.

When does alcohol use require treatment?

When trying to determine whether a person has a problem with alcohol consumption the following distinctions are made: Unproblematic alcohol consumption differs from the misuse of alcohol as in the latter case alcohol is consumed with the intention of achieving a specific effect (reducing stress, “switching off”, lifting one’s mood, calming nerves, easing anxiety or pain, “loosening up”).
 
A person is alcohol dependent if he or she has little or no control over when, for how long and how much alcohol he or she drinks. A craving or compulsive desire to drink is a key symptom of alcohol addiction. 
 
Alcohol withdrawal refers to symptoms that occur when a heavy drinker stops drinking and include shaking, sweating, sleeplessness, restlessness and nausea or vomiting in the morning. These symptoms ease initially if there is a renewed intake of alcohol. Psychological withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and depressive moods may occur in addition to the physical symptoms.
 
A dependence on alcohol may develop as a result of excessive drinking and is a chronic disease that requires treatment, for example an alcohol therapy, just like other chronic illnesses. 
 
One especially problematic aspect of alcohol addiction is the development of tolerance and the resulting need to increase alcohol intake. This means that more and more alcohol has to be consumed to achieve the same effect. Many people with alcohol use disorders also neglect other interests and activities to engage in alcohol consumption. Despite the demonstrably harmful effects users persist in alcohol consumption.
 
The goal of alcohol addiction treatment is to minimise the harmful physical and psychological effects of the substance abuse. 
 
The treatment programme at the Anton Proksch Institute in Vienna is based on the assumption of a link between the body and mind (concept of corporeality). The treatment programme therefore takes account of these different aspects.

Further Information about Alcohol Dependence: