Exogenosis: causes, symptoms, treatments.

Verified on 06/23/2022 by PasseportSanté

Exogenosis is a term in medical jargon that is usually used to describe any pathology linked to increased or chronic alcohol consumption. These may be symptoms of drunkenness or diseases directly or indirectly related to alcoholism.

What is exogenosis?

The term exogenous comes from the Greek exo (meaning “outside”), Genoa (meaning “begotten”) and osis (meaning “impulse”, “cause”).

Exogenosis designates a pathology due to intoxication due to the consumption of a foreign body. In theory, it could be any type of poisoning (such as metal poisoning or food poisoning). But in practice, this term is often used by doctors to qualify any pathology related to increased or chronic alcohol consumption.

Exogenosis designates in a broad sense:

  • Acute intoxications linked to excessive alcohol consumption (binge drinking, alcoholic coma, etc.);
  • Chronic diseases linked to chronic alcoholism (malnutrition, chronic gastritis, liver failure, alcoholic cardiomyopathy, immunosuppression, cognitive disorders (Korsakoff syndrome), encephalopathy, neuropathy, stroke, myopathy, cancer, etc.);
  • Diseases indirectly related to alcoholism (craniocerebral trauma and accidental injuries, centropontine myelinolysis, stroke, neuroinfections, disulfiram-induced neuropathies, fetal alcohol syndrome);
  • Withdrawal syndrome due to alcohol dependence, etc.

What are the different exogenous?

Alcohol intoxication can lead to acute or chronic disorders.

Acute exogenous

These are the immediate effects of excessive alcohol consumption. The patient may be subject to:

  • A simple drunkenness (joviality, disinhibition, incoherent comments);
  • Delusional or pathological intoxications (behavior disorders, sometimes violence or dangerousness, hallucinations, delusions);
  • Convulsive intoxication (single generalized attack during acute intoxication in an occasional drinker, not requiring antiepileptic treatment);
  • Alcoholic coma: in case of massive absorption of alcohol, encephalopathy may occur in the form of a phase of obtundation, then stupor, finally an alcoholic coma that may include signs of severity (respiratory depression, hypothermia, hypotension, etc.) involving vital prognosis and then requiring transfer to intensive care. Neurological sequelae are possible.
  • The hangover (headaches, digestive disorders, tiredness, intense thirst) or even fainting (no memory of the day after the binge).

Chronic exogenous

Chronic exogenosis refers to all diseases caused by chronic alcohol consumption. The main alcohol-related diseases are:

  • Cancers (upper aerodigestive tract, esophagus, liver, breast, colon, and rectum);
  • Cardiovascular diseases (arterial hypertension, angina pectoris, alcoholic cardiomyopathy, heart rhythm disorders, stroke, etc.);
  • Liver and digestive diseases (steatosis, liver fibrosis or cirrhosis, gastritis and chronic pancreatitis);
  • Neurological diseases (cognitive disorders, memory loss, Korsakoff syndrome, alcoholic polyneuropathy);
  • Malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies;
  • Metabolic diseases and electrolyte disorders (hypoglycemia, hypertriglyceridemia, hyponatremia);
  • Bone, skin and joint disorders (gout, osteoporosis, worsening of rosacea);
  • Alcohol dependence and withdrawal syndrome (anxiety, sweating, agitation, confusion, insomnia, tremors, even seizures).

What are the treatments for exogenosis?

It is necessary to treat the exogenous disease as well as its cause and this requires the cessation of alcohol consumption or abstinence in case of chronic alcoholism.

Treat acute exogenous

In case of acute alcohol intoxication, it is advisable to stop its consumption immediately.

The symptoms of drunkenness should disappear within hours. In case of “hangover” (the day after the binge), it is recommended to rest, drink plenty of water (risk of dehydration), treat the headache (with NSAIDs or paracetamol) and eat a balanced diet.

In case of alcoholic coma, call 15 as soon as possible. While waiting for treatment, it is recommended that the patient be placed on their side in a safety lateral position, monitor their pulse and breathing, and cover them to prevent their temperature from dropping.

In the hospital, management includes resuscitation, airway protection, blood gases, and blood tests. In general, return home is expected 3 to 6 hours after the last alcohol intake.

Treat chronic exogenous

In the case of a disease related to chronic alcoholism, abstinence from alcohol should be considered first. Most of the time a psychotherapeutic framework (in addictology), hospitalization and taking medication is necessary.

Three drugs currently have official marketing authorization for the maintenance of abstinence in alcohol-dependent subjects:

  • acamprosate;
  • naltrexone;
  • the disulfirame.

Acamprosate and naltrexone are first-line treatments that can be used as soon as possible after stopping alcohol consumption, with the aim of reducing cravings for alcohol and thus the risk of relapse.

In addition, management of the exogenous disease (consequence of chronic alcoholism) is also necessary. In the case of cancer, for example, chemotherapy or radiotherapy may be necessary.

Malnourished patients should undergo dietary and lifestyle measures, hypercaloric diet and supplements. There are also specific treatments for neurological, digestive or even cardiovascular disorders.

What are the causes of exogenous?

The cause of exogenosis is excessive or chronic alcohol consumption.

excessive consumption

Once alcohol has entered the bloodstream, it has a direct effect on the central nervous system. We speak of a state of intoxication from a blood alcohol level of around 1-2‰. In the stage of torpor (alcohol level of 2 to 3‰), the main functions are severely affected.

The ability to react is therefore practically non-existent. From a blood alcohol level of 3‰, an adult person can lose consciousness, fall into a coma and be at risk of dying. The body temperature then drops considerably, breathing is weak, and respiratory paralysis is possible.

Chronic alcohol use

In the case of chronic alcoholism, the liver is the first organ affected, but it is not the only one: the neurological system is also very sensitive.

Alcohol is a notorious carcinogen, especially in the digestive tract. In fact, the liver filters most of the alcohol that circulates in the blood.

Liver deterioration has three stages:

  • steatosis;
  • acute alcoholic hepatitis;
  • cirrhosis (almost complete destruction of cells, which are replaced by scar tissue).

The liver atrophies and stops doing its job. When this organ malfunctions, there is a slow accumulation of toxins, which also alters brain activity.

In the long term, the main effect of alcohol is to slow down the activity of the central nervous system and cause sometimes irreversible neurological disorders.

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