"In the phase of unhabitation, the medication is only a support that must always be filled with psychosocial tactics".


What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism is defined, according to the WHO, "as any impairment in the physical, mental or social functioning of a person, the nature of which would lead one to reasonably infer that alcohol is a part of the causal link causing such an impairment.

Alcoholism is related to 40-50% of traffic accidents, 15-20% of work accidents, 50% of homicides, etc.

It is important to remember that all alcoholics usually present high consumption of tobacco, coffee and important disorders in the diet, so their pathology is increased.

What are the symptoms of alcoholism?

Alcoholism causes a serious and deep pathology in the organism, and its symptomatology and complications can be distributed in the following sections: physical, psychic and social.

The clinical data of greatest interest are usually the ingestion of alcohol on an empty stomach, the existence of tremor or morning sickness and amnesiac gaps that coincide with significant intakes of alcohol.

Nevertheless, at the present time, the weekend drinker does not present these types of symptoms but does present alterations of behavior (among them, the traffic accidents and the familiar disputes).

Among the most common psychological problems caused by alcoholism are

  • Behavioral disorders due to alcohol consumption.
  • Irritability in the family environment. Drunkenness.
  • Delirium tremens. Alcoholic hallucinosis.
  • Korsakoff's alcoholic psychosis. Delirium of jealousy.
  • Dementia of alcoholics. Precocious aging.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

You may have a drinking problem

How is alcoholism diagnosed?

For the diagnosis of this problem, the specialist will take a complete medical history oriented to detect the problem.

The collaboration and help of the patient's family environment is fundamental.

It will be necessary to carry out screening questionnaires and analytical tests (determination of MCV, gamma-GT, transaminases and lipid studies) to evaluate the patient's physical condition.

Modes of arrival of the patient

The patient suffering from alcoholism can reach the primary care physician's office or the specialist in three different ways:

  • By family initiative: it is usually the family members or people in the alcoholic's environment who, once the problem has been detected, go to the doctor for help. This usually happens because it is difficult for the alcoholic to recognize himself as such.
  • For complaints to the authorities: in cases of traffic accidents, disturbances of order, etc., which may occasionally require the presence of the doctor who may thus have the first contact with the alcoholic patient.
  • On his own initiative: in the context of an organic, psychic or social pathology. They may consult for other types of problems such as paresthesias, tremors, pain in the right hypochondrium, etc. and in the course of the interview, a striking situation is discovered when asking about alcohol consumption.

How is alcoholism treated?

The treatment of alcoholism goes through several phases

The first thing to do is the diagnosis of the disease, with a subsequent phase of sensitization of the patient and motivation to actively collaborate in the treatment.

The recognition of the problem will be the basis for any subsequent intervention.

The next stage is the treatment of chronic intoxication or detoxification: alcohol must be suppressed abruptly and completely.

In the event that the patient presents an abstinence syndrome, a pharmacological regimen will be initiated with intravenous rehydration, vitamin B, specific sedatives and a diet rich in carbohydrates.

In the event that the patient is not very motivated and the family does not wish to collaborate actively, detoxification should be carried out with the hospitalized patient.

A very important part of the treatment is to get rid of the habit, since eliminating the habit is more difficult than eliminating the toxic. De-habitation must be done by a multidisciplinary and specialized team, using drugs and psychosocial techniques.

The discussion groups with alcoholic patients, free, open and with the presence of a therapist moderator, are the technique of choice at this stage of the treatment of alcohol dependence.

This phase is the longest, lasting approximately 24 months, and during this time the patient must come regularly to the specialized center for 1 or 2 times a week.

During the entire process, it is advisable for the patient to be in direct contact with his or her primary care physician, since once the treatment has been completed, he or she will once again be under his or her care.

The family of the alcoholic patient needs in many cases medical and social attention to alleviate the negative effects of the presence of an alcohol dependent patient in their midst.

Where do we treat it?


The Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology of the
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Through a multidisciplinary work, the Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology assists patients in a comprehensive way: it identifies the main causes of the disease and provides an individual approach with the most appropriate and effective treatments. 

Thanks to the experience of its team, it is able to offer the most advanced biological therapies, as well as an adequate psychotherapeutic orientation. In this way, the patient is helped to solve both personality problems and alterations in interpersonal and family dynamics.

Organized in specialized units

Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • Integral evaluation of the patient.
  • Personalized diagnosis.
  • Multidisciplinary team.

Nuestro equipo de profesionales