Academic journal article Alcoholism

Alcoholism - A Public Health Issue

Academic journal article Alcoholism

Alcoholism - A Public Health Issue

Article excerpt

The organization of treatment and methods used vary in different countries and partly depend on country's resources and its social philosophy and tradition.1 Since alcohol and the problems related to its excessive consumption take up an important place in social context, a policy of treatment (or prevention) that presumes that the alcohol-related problems are not connected with the wider social and economic consequences is doomed to fail.2

The family procedures in hospital and out-patient treatment are generally recognized in the world and had proved successful in our practice, particularly at the Department of Psychiatry, Sestre milosrdnice University Hospital with the Referral Center of Ministry oh Health of the Republic of Croatia for Alcoholism, Vinogradska c.29, Zagreb, Croatia. We also attempt to, besides various other positive effects achieved in the clubs of treated alcoholics, include the kids in the treatment procedure and succeed in breaking the family chain of alcoholism, i.e. return the sober happiness to the entire family.3-7

The range of factors and measures dealing with counseling and treatment of alcoholics, and persons with problems related to alcohol is wide. That range encircles activities and employees from primary health care, general hospitals, psychiatric services and specialized services, designed to treat both hospitalized patients and out-patients. There is also a contribution of laymen's organizations and self-health groups. In our social surroundings, such are the clubs of treated alcoholics (CTA).8-9

The requirements that need to be fulfilled for the treatment of alcoholics vary considerably. The public policy should strive to provide different modes of intervention, to suit the needs of different individuals, depending on the level of addiction, level of problems related to alcohol, weaknesses, personalities, psychopathologies and somatic and social status.

In many countries, the modes of treatment are not enough specialized to suit the individual needs of different patients. The various, but indispensable types of services are not always provided, and some services, particularly those dealing with out-patients, are frequently concentrated just in towns. In some countries, we have noticed the uniformity of the models of treatment.10

Leading the program of treatment according to some rule-book can not be the right way, although even such strict approach to the treatment can have its advantages. Different patients with different problems related to alcohol require the different models of aid. Thus, the medical services should be various, and we stress the importance of the development of their variability and establishing which models of treatment could be the most efficient for particular cases, considering the personality of the patient and the type of problems he has got. Planning the public health interventions to deal with the problems related to alcohol, and in wider perspective also to other health, psychosocial and economic problems, requires both using the existing resources fighting with different aspects of alcohol-related problems and providing the separated services. In the context of health services, planning can be carried out at several different levels. The most interesting levels, in the context of public-health approach are national, regional and local level. There is another level, planning the individual treatment services.11-12

Anyone working in the field of problems related to the excessive drinking should be aware that the problems of alcoholism and mental disorders are frequent and often overlapping. The mental disorder can lie in the basis of alcoholism, develop as a consequence of excessive drinking or develop simultaneously, so we talk about co-morbidity. Furthermore, alcohol is the most accessible "medicine" for many symptoms of mental diseases, and in these cases, alcoholism is symptomatic, i.e. represents the extension of the primary psychopathology. …

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