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Alcohol abuse is a very dangerous condition in that it can cause many
problems in a persons life and affect many aspects of their lifestyle.
Alcoholism (or alcohol abuse) somehow effects everyone\'s life at some point in
time; through a parent, a sibling, a friend, or even personal encounters.
Alcohol abuse, as a medical diagnosis, refers to a pattern of behavior
characterized by excessive alcohol consumption. This consumption can occur at
regular intervals, regular weekend intervals, or during binges, which are
considered as being intoxicated for at least two successive days. Difficulty in
stopping, reducing the amount of alcohol use, and impaired social/occupational
role functioning are all characteristics of alcohol abuse.
A number of theories in the medical feild are used to explain alcohol
abuse. These are the biologic-genetic model, learning/social model, the
psychodynamic model, and the multidimensional model (McFarland 457). Each
different model, for alcoholism have varied explanations as to how and why
people use and abuse alcohol.
The biologic-genetic model states that there is a specific genetic
vulnerability for alcoholism. There has been extensive studies on factors in
the genes that could determine or influence the use of alcohol from generation
to generation. However, these studies have shown no hard evidence for an
association between alcoholism and inherited factors.
The learning and social model proposes that alcoholism is a process
that is slowly developed within a social situation or atmosphere. This model of
alcoholism has also been researched by using both human and animal subjects. A
conditioning model of alcohol tolerance has demonstrated that specific cues from
the environment such as odor, sight, and taste, produce a stimulus that results
in alcohol consumption. If ethanol, the addictive ingredient in alcohol , is
not supplied, a psychological compensatory response called a craving is produced.
The psychodynamic model of alcoholism proposes that problematic child
rearing practices produce psychosexual maldevelopment and dependence/independece
conflicts. It is believed that while habitual alcohol use is in process, the
habitual drinker may use behavior such as exaggeration, denial, rationalization,
and affiliation with socially deviant groups. Results of these behaviors may
include decreased work efficiency, job loss, alienation of friends and family,
or even hospitalization.
The multidimensional model of alcoholism combines the interaction of
biological, behavioral, and sociocultural factors. These three factors
contribute together to make the strongest model, in which most alcoholics fit.
The biological model relates to the progression from occasional initial relief
drinking, to the increase of tolerance, and from loss of memory during heavy
drinking periods to an urgency of drinking. The behavioral model is helpful in
the identification of high-risk situations, in which alcoholics are most likely
to be ritualistally drinking. Sociocultural factors are present in peer
interaction around drinking as a primary activity for entertainment. This can
lead to the preference of drinking for social interaction. Ideas such as this
are influenced greatly, and shaped by media through commercials, television
portrayal of alcohol use as a coping skill, and the belief that the use of
alcohol to reduce life\'s stress is socially acceptable. Another area in which
alcohol is looked at as all right, comes during the aging process. The death of
a spouse, job relocation, retirement, or loss of health put older people at risk
of alcoholism and is identified as having late-onset alcoholism (McFarland 458).
Alcoholism can be divided into several subtypes. Gamma alcoholism
applies to binge drinkers who alternate periods of sobriety and drunkenness. An
example of gamma alcoholism would be a college student who engages in heavy
binge drinking. In contrast, beta alcoholism is manifested by physical
complications of chronic alcohol use such as cirrhosis, weakening of the liver,
heart, stomach, and esophagus. An example of a beta alcoholic would be a
housewife who is a maintenance drinker and experiences withdrawal symptoms. A
number of issues also arises among characteristics of alcoholism. Behavioral
problems are often visible signs. Poor school grades, rambling speech,
disciplinary problems, excessive fighting, truancy, vandalism, and hyperactivity
are all possible signs of alcoholism.
Alcoholism is a disease that is very serious and complicated. The
curing of alcoholism is a difficult process which requires accepting the
presence of the condition, self realization, and support. As a person begins to
achieve control over their drinking problem, by implementing new coping
strategies, and increasing a sense of competence and hope, a new phase of life
Category: Social Issues
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Alcohol abuse, Drinking culture, Substance dependence, Alcoholism, Psychiatric diagnosis, RTT, Disease theory of alcoholism, Binge drinking, Alcohol tolerance, Alcoholic beverage, Long-term effects of alcohol consumption, The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited
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