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Friday, May 24, 2013
Addiction and Substance Abuse
I am currently 33 years old and have a problem with alcohol abuse, which of late has become a point of contention with my wife too. I like to come back home after a long days work and have 2 drinks before i take myu dinner and go to sleep. This increases on a sunday upto 4 or 5 drinks. I drinl atleast 4 to 5 days a week. Recently i did some tests during a viral fever in which my S.G.G.T.P. showed 69 U/l where the normal range is mentioned as 5-40 U/l. Though I did consult a doctor after that, he never made any comment on that nor did he advice on what I should be doing. I also do have a problem of insomnia on the days that I do not drink - this problem started since the last 6 months when i lost my father in a drowning accident while i was with him. Can you advice me on the SGTTP levels and the precaution that I should be taking. I am a working professional and as of now i lead a normal life both at home and work and never has my work got affected due to any of these. I need some advice here.
Thank you for the good questions.
It sounds as if you do have a significant issue with your drinking. This is based upon the emergence of family tensions around your use (this does not happen in non-problem drinkers), the evidence of some liver damage (elevated GGTP is a common marker of the earliest stages of alcohol liver damage), and your own concerns about it. When one has a drinking problem, they generally find it necessary to sooner-or-later quit using any form of alcohol entirely. This is difficult to do for sure!
You asked about your GGTP - the liver tends to demonstrate damage about 5 years after close love relationships (like marriage ) demonstrate damage. Abstinence will result in normalization of liver test very shortly.
You indicate that you are a hard working, self-reliant person. This is important since recovery requires a commitment to daily rigor and work.
You should see a physician/psychiatrist to see if your recent loss of a parent is resulting in a normal grief reaction, or if it drifting toward an anxiety disorder called PTSD. Although in the short term alcohol use seems to help anxiety disorders, in the long term it clearly makes them more severe and difficult to treat.
If you are offered medications to help you with sleep and with your mood or feelings, then be sure to ask the physician and pharmacist if the prescription was for a non-controlled drug. People with addictive disease have a markedly increased risk of developing prescription drug abuse.
I hope some of this information is helpful. Please do not hesitate to write back if my answer did not really hit the mark!
Ted Parran, MD
Associate Professor of General Medical Sciences
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University