Alcoholism Essay Research Paper alcoholism Alcoholism refers — страница 2

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emotional problems. For example, alcoholism is sometimes associated with a family history of manic-depressive illness, and some alcoholics have been known to use alcohol unwittingly to "medicate" a biological depressive order. In addition, like so many other drug abusers, alcoholics often tend to drown depressed or anxious feelings by drinking. Conversely, some drink to reduce strong inhibitions or guilt about expressing negative feelings. Psychologists variously suggest that alcoholics have conflicts about dependency, sex roles, and family roles. It is important to note that while many alcoholics share experiences of loneliness, frustration, or anxiety, no one has identified a single personality type that will become alcoholic. Social and cultural factors may play a

role in establishing drinking patterns and alcoholism. Among some cultures there is conflict between values of abstinence and the acceptance of alcohol as a usual way to change moods or to be sociable. These conflicts within the culture may make it difficult for some people to develop their own stable attitudes and moderate patterns of drinking. Social Effects of Alcoholism The effects of alcoholism range from the direct physiological impact on the individual to a widespread effect on society. In the United States, one family in three is estimated to be affected in some way by a drinking problem. Children of alcoholics may be affected by a father’s or mother’s alcoholism in several ways. Having a problem-drinking parent increases the risk of becoming a problem drinker

oneself. This may happen because of identification with or imitation of the alcoholic parent, but also because the social and family conditions associated with alcoholism are among those believed to contribute to the development of alcoholism. These include family conflict, divorce, job insecurity, and social stigma. Other problems reported in children of alcoholic parents in the United States and in Europe include speech disorders, hyperactivity, psychosomatic complaints, school problems, antisocial behavior, and drug use. The type of problem varies with the age and sex of the child. While having an alcoholic parent may increase the child’s risk of developing emotional or drinking problems later in life, it by no means makes becoming an alcoholic inevitable for the child. In

fact, some surveys of large communities suggest that two-thirds of adults whose parents were very heavy drinkers drink lightly themselves and have thus turned away from their parents’ drinking style. Alcoholism is an enormous public health problem. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that alcoholism and alcohol abuse in the United States cost society from $40 to $60 billion annually, due to lost production, health and medical care, motor vehicle accidents, violent crime, and social programs that respond to alcohol problems. One-half of all traffic fatalities and one-third of all traffic injuries are related to the abuse of alcohol. Also, one-third of all suicides and one-third of all mental health disorders are estimated to be associated with

serious alcohol abuse. Accidents and suicides associated with alcohol problems are especially prominent among teenagers. It has been estimated that there are over 3 million problem drinkers between the ages of 14 and 17 in the United States. Treatment Alcoholism is a complex disorder for which a combination of treatments may be necessary for recovery. If the alcoholic is in the acute phase of alcoholism and is suffering from complications such as delirium tremens or serious health problems, hospitalization may be necessary. Because alcoholism is a chronic condition, however, hospitalization is only a first step toward recovery. Many alcoholics go through several brief hospitalizations for detoxification before they commit themselves to a program of recovery. A comprehensive

treatment plan can incorporate various types of facilities, including hospitals, out-patient clinics, half-way houses, individual or group psychotherapists, social centers, religious organizations, foster homes, and self-help groups. Some large corporations sponsor treatment programs for employees. An assessment of the patient’s medical, emotional, and social needs is important in making the proper referral. Not every type of facility is available in every community, but every community probably has access to a state- or city-wide system that provides for alcoholics and can help make appropriate referrals. No one can make an alcoholic commit himself or herself to recovery. Some therapists suggest, however, that family members may influence the alcoholic by not supporting