Alcohol abuse and dependence along with other forms of substance abuse and dependence have formal psychiatric definitions. Alcohol withdrawal is a potentially life-threatening medical condition.
More harm occurs in the community as a result of the acute health and social effects of alcohol intoxication and abuse than from the consequences of long-term alcohol dependence (Table 2.12.1). Upwards of 30% of all emergency department presentations are alcohol-related. The incidence of alcohol-related problems is even higher in the population that presents to emergency departments with deliberate self-poisoning with either self-harm or recreational intent.
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