8. Alcohol

  1. Professor G. Hussein Rassool PhD, MSc, BA, FRSPH, ILTM Cert. Ed., Cert. Couns., Cert. Director Visiting Professor Formerly Senior Lecturer1,2,3

Published Online: 4 SEP 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444327816.ch8

Addiction for Nurses

Addiction for Nurses

How to Cite

Rassool, G. H. (2010) Alcohol, in Addiction for Nurses, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444327816.ch8

Author Information

  1. 1

    Departamento de Psiquiatria e Ciências Humanas da Escola de Enfermagem de Ribeirão Preto da Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

  2. 2

    Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

  3. 3

    Department of Addictive Behaviour and Psychological Medicine, Centre for Addiction Studies, St George's University of London, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 SEP 2010
  2. Published Print: 15 OCT 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405187466

Online ISBN: 9781444327816



  • alcohol, part of social and cultural fabric - actively promoted in many cultural, social and religious circumstances;
  • rate of alcohol - related deaths, levelling out;
  • alcohol misuse, associated with a wide range of problems - cancer, heart disease, offending behaviours, social exclusion, domestic violence, suicide etc;
  • Wernicke's encephalopathy, caused by alcohol and thiamine (vitamin B) deficiency -characterised by unsteady gait (ataxia), involuntary, jerky eye movements;
  • problems associated with alcohol intoxication;
  • Korsakoff's psychosis, differing from most dementias - damage to large area of cortex (outer part of the brain);
  • major symptoms of Korsakoff's syndrome - anterograde and retrograde amnesia, or severe memory loss, confabulation and apathy;
  • CAGE questionnaire, simplest - four questions easily incorporated in routine assessment process and FAST alcohol screening test;
  • vitamin deficiency in alcoholism - causing Wernicke's encephalopathy, frequently seen in heavy drinkers with poor diet


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • What is a unit of alcohol?

  • Health consequences of alcohol use

  • Alcohol withdrawal syndrome

  • Assessment

  • Care planning

  • Detoxification and management of withdrawal

  • Intervention strategies

  • Structured aftercare

  • Alcoholics Anonymous

  • Harm reduction

  • References