Alcoholisim And It

’s Effects On An Individual Essay, Research Paper Alcoholism is a ?primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The

’s Effects On An Individual Essay, Research Paper

Alcoholism is a ?primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and

environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The

disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous or

periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug

alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in

thinking, most notably denial (NCADD).” It?s effects on an individual are

an indescribable, harsh, reality of what one drug can do to an individual.

Some people wonder when drinking becomes a problem. For most

adults, moderate alcohol use, no more than two drinks a day for men and

one for women is relatively harmless. A “drink” consists of 1.5 ounces of

spirits, 5 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer (Etiology). Moderate use,

however, lies at one end of a continuum that moves through alcohol abuse

to alcohol dependence. Alcohol abuse is a drinking pattern that results in

consequences that are significant and recurrent. Alcoholics may fail to

fulfill major school, work, or family obligations. They may have

drinking-related legal problems, such as DUI?s and they may have

relationship problems related to their drinking.

People with alcoholism have become compulsive in their alcohol

use. Although they can control their drinking at times, they are often

unable to stop once they start. As their tolerance increases, they may need

more and more alcohol to achieve the same “high”. Or they may become

physically dependent on alcohol, suffering withdrawal symptoms such as

nausea, sweating, restlessness, irritability, tremors and even

hallucinations and convulsions when they stop after a period of heavy

drinking. It doesn’t matter what kind of alcohol someone drinks or even

how much: alcohol dependent people simply lack control over their


Alcohol-related disorders are caused by many things. Problem

drinking has multiple causes, with genetic, physiological, psychological

and social factors all playing a role (Sher & Trull). For some alcoholics,

psychological traits such as impulsiveness, low self-esteem and a need for

approval prompt inappropriate drinking. Others drink as a way of coping

with emotional pain. Still others use alcohol to “medicate themselves?.

Heavy drinking can cause physiological changes that make more drinking

the only way to avoid discomfort. Genetic factors cause some people to be

especially vulnerable to alcohol. However, a family history of alcoholism

doesn’t mean that children of alcoholics will automatically grow up to

become alcoholics themselves. Environmental factors such as peer

pressure and the easy availability of alcohol can also play roles. Although

alcohol-related disorders can strike anyone, poverty and physical or sexual

abuse also increase the odds.

Alcoholics, as a group, tend to demand a lot of themselves as

individiuals. They put an enormous amont of emphasis on trying to please

others and themselves. The frustration that can become of this is all but

pleasing. They may become pinfully depressed or overly agressive causing

family life to deteriorate rapidly (Family). If the person is married, the

significant other is forced to make a decision as to whether they are going

to stay with the alcoholic or not. Many families try to deny the fact that

the person is an alcoholic causing the situation to deteriorate even further.

One may wonder how alcoholisim affects the family. By allowing an

alcoholic?s behavior to be controlled by a substance, the abuser, family

members, friends and colleagues unknowingly become part of the

problem. Substance abusers cannot stop the habit of drinking without the

help of others. Abusing alcohol can have several effects on the family.

These things can be anything like a lack of trust in other people, difficulty

expressing feelings, working hard to keep things going at home and

school, insecurity, loneliness, anger, frustration, guilt, and fear (Family).

However, one should not accept blame for someone else?s behavior, have

an attitude that makes the alcohoic think that they are less than oneself,

use the ?if you loved me you would stop? appeal, make idle threats, argue

with the alcoholic when they are under the influence, and have unrealistic

expectations. What one really should do is learn the facts about

alcoholisim, develop an attitude to match the facts, talk to someone such

as a professional counselor about alcoholisim, make use of sources such

as Al-Anon, maintain a healthy lifestyle for oneself, and take a stand about

an alcohol free environment.

The symptoms of alcoholisim can start out minor and hard to detect

at first, however they will rapidly show themselves over the course of time.

Many of the symptoms may include loss of continuous impared control

over drinking, progression with the drug, use of alcohol despite

consequences, distortions in thinking, personality change, and most

notably denial (ESBRA).

Many alcoholics say that they have a good reason for their drinking.

These reasons vary considerably from loneliness to attraction, and

escaping from pain to control issues. These patterns are common to

addiction. No individual would like to admit that they are any different

than anyone else. Therefore, it is understandable that they would want to

make excuses for their drinking. They would like to one day, control their

drinking, for that is the wish of every alcoholic (Big Book). However, many

alcoholics die in the process of doing this.

Alcohol-related disorders can affect people in many many ways.

Small amounts of alcohol may have some beneficial physical effects, but

heavy drinking can cause serious health problems and even death.

Short-term effects include distorted perceptions, memory loss, hangovers

and black-outs. However, most problems aren’t apparent until they

become serious. Long term, heavy drinking can cause impotence, stomach

ailments, cardiovascular problems, cancer, CNS (central nervous system)

damage, serious memory loss and liver cirrhosis (NCADD). Cirrhosis is one

of the most common disorders associated with alcoholism. It is the most

severe form of liver disease. The liver is especially vulnerable to the toxic

effects of alcohol because it is the primary component for filtering out

substances in the blood. Alcohol also increases the chances of dying from

automobile accidents, homicide and suicide. Heavy drinking also has a

impact on one?s mental health. Alcoholism can worsen existing conditions,

such as depression, or induce new problems, such as serious memory

loss, depression, or anxiety.

Alcoholics don?t just hurt themselves. According to National Council

on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD), more than half of Americans

have at least one close relative with a drinking problem (NCADD). The

results can be devastating. Spouses are more likely to face domestic

violence. Children are more likely to develop psychological problems,

suffer physical and sexual abuse and neglect. Women who drink during

pregnancy run a serious risk of damaging their fetuses.

A person that lives in a house with an alcoholic has an

approximately twenty-five percent of marriying another alcoholic (Family).

The reasons for this are still being researched. However, some

researchers believe that it occurs becuase the person is used to being with

an alcoholic. The individual might be used to living with someone that is

not ?normal? in society?s eyes, but in their eyes is something that is

?normal? to them (Sher, Walitzer, Wood). It has also been found that the

children of alcoholics do drink most of the time. Some do not drink to the

extent of the parent because they do not want to turn out like their parent.

However, in studies and surveys, it has been found that the children of

alcoholics do drink socially.

Someone should seek help when signs of a possible problem occur.

These include having friends or relatives express concern, being annoyed

when people criticize your drinking, feeling guilty about your drinking and

thinking that you should cut down but finding yourself unable to do so

(NCADD). Needing a morning drink to steady your nerves or relieve a

hangover is another warning sign. Alcoholics usually can’t stop drinking

through willpower alone. Most need outside help. They may need

medically supervised detoxification to avoid potentially life-threatening

withdrawal symptoms such as seizures, for instance. Depending on the

problem’s severity, treatment can take place during office visits, hospital

stays or residential treatment programs. Once people are stabilized, they

need help resolving psychological issues that may be associated with

problem drinking.

A psychologist can help an alcoholic. They play a huge role in the

successful treatment of alcohol-related disorders. One should be sure to

choose a psychologist who is experienced in working with alcohol-related

disorders. To improve the chances of recovery, one should seek help early.

Using individual or group psychotherapy, psychologists can help people

address psychological issues involved in their drinking. They can help

people boost their motivation, identify situations that trigger drinking and

learn new coping methods. They can also provide information to programs

such as Alcoholics Anonymous. The treatment process doesn’t end once

drinking does, however. To help prevent relapses, psychologists usually

keep working with people as they begin new lives. Many people seek

additional support through continued involvement in A.A. Because

families influence both drinking and recovery, marital and family therapy

are also key. Psychologists can help families repair relationships and work

through the complex transitions that occur as recovery begins. They can

help families understand alcoholism and learn how to support family

members in recovery. They can also refer family members to self-help

groups such as Al-Anon and Alateen.

Many people also wonder if treatment really works. Evidence

strongly suggests that many people, especially those with jobs, families

and other forms of social stability, recover after their first attempt

(History). Not everyone is so fortunate. Some cycle between relapse and

recovery several times before achieving long-term sobriety. What’s

important is for the person to stop drinking again and get additional

support (Relapse). While alcoholism is treatable, so far no cure has been

found. That means people remain susceptible to relapses even after

they’ve been sober for a long time. Reducing alcohol consumption doesn’t

work. Most experts agree that the goal should be complete avoidance of

alcohol. Alcohol-related disorders can severely impair people’s functioning

and health. But the prospects for long-term recovery are good for people

who seek help from appropriate sources. Qualified psychologists with

experience in this area can help those who suffer from alcohol-related

disorders stop drinking and start regaining control of their lives.