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Alcoholism, Chronic Disease

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 se, 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 lcoholism 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 rinking. 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 r 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 onsequences, 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 hat 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 elatives 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 esidential 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, dentify 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.

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