Teenagers and youths sometimes suffer from alcoholism, however, most often the disease occurs before the age of 30, less often up to 40 years. The sooner children begin to drink and abuse alcohol, the earlier chronic alcoholism develops and the more malignant it is. In elderly people, chronic alcoholism is rarely detected, usually alcoholism is observed in PERSONS who drink alcohol for a long time, in whom tolerance decreases and signs of alcohol dependence are distinctly apparent with age and worsening somatic and mental state.
Features of female alcoholism are: its occurrence when using lower doses of alcoholic beverages and in a shorter period of abuse; a long period of latent alcohol abuse in a narrow circle of women or in private (abuse with men indicates a far-reaching stage of the disease); pronounced tendency to dissimulation; high affective dependence on the situation (usually family and intimate personality), less stability of therapeutic remissions; high frequency of somatic pathology.
Recently, women suffer from alcoholism more often than before, mostly women aged 15 to 30 suffer from it. Various depressive disorders are considered to be a characteristic feature of the clinical manifestations of alcoholism (V.V. Anuchin, 1981; A.D. Vasilevskaya, 1981), however, at the onset of the disease, neurosis and psychopathic symptoms developing in a hysterical manner were observed much better in patients. Sick women with delirium tremens, alcoholic hallucinosis, Korsakov’s psychosis, and a picture of pseudo-paralysis enter a psychiatric hospital . Usually these are single women over the age of 45-50 years who have lost hope for a personal life.
The course of alcoholism is in a certain dependence on the premorbid personality traits. G.V. Morozov and N.N. Ivanets (1980) note that people with the asthenic circle traits are characterized by a tendency to constant alcohol consumption, an early transition to solitary drunkenness, the predominance of depressive disorders in the structure of withdrawal symptoms, and the development of degradations with manifestations of aspontality , passivity, decreased motives, loss of interests and initiative; for people with hysterical traits – the predominance of secondary forms of pathological attraction, the periodic form of alcohol abuse, increased irritability, conflict, aggressiveness in a state of withdrawal, degradation with psychopathic manifestations. In individuals with psychasthenic traits, alcohol consumption quickly acquires a systematic character, the primary (“psychological”) pathological attraction predominates, in the state of withdrawal, exacerbation of character traits (introspection, self-flagellation) is first observed, accompanied by mood depression and anxiety, and with the disease progressing, especially in Stage III – leveling of these traits, the development of dementia with the phenomena of aspontality (T. T. Nebarakova, 1980). Persons with stenic personality traits are characterized by a slow and prolonged development of alcoholism, a predominance of primary attraction, an increase in irritability, rudeness, a decrease in criticism, and dysphoria (O. N. Trubchannova, 1980).
In chronic alcoholism, a decrease in androgen concentration and an increase in estrogen levels, sexual impotence and sterility are often observed, and signs of testicular atrophy and gynecomastia are found in 20-90% of these individuals (R. Ferranilo, 1982).