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Alcoholisim and its effects on an individual



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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    Alcoholisim and its effects on an individual. (2018, Jun 10). Retrieved from

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