Alcohol Abuse EssayAlcohol abuse is a very dangerous condition in that it can cause manyproblems in a persons life and affect many aspects of their lifestyle. Alcoholism (or alcohol abuse) somehow effects everyone’s life at some point intime; through a parent, a sibling, a friend, or even personal encounters. Alcohol abuse, as a medical diagnosis, refers to a pattern of behaviorcharacterized by excessive alcohol consumption. This consumption can occur atregular intervals, regular weekend intervals, or during binges, which areconsidered as being intoxicated for at least two successive days. Difficulty instopping, reducing the amount of alcohol use, and impaired social/occupationalrole functioning are all characteristics of alcohol abuse.
A number of theories in the medical feild are used to explain alcoholabuse. These are the biologic-genetic model, learning/social model, thepsychodynamic model, and the multidimensional model (McFarland 457). Eachdifferent model, for alcoholism have varied explanations as to how and whypeople use and abuse alcohol. The biologic-genetic model states that there is a specific geneticvulnerability for alcoholism.
There has been extensive studies on factors inthe genes that could determine or influence the use of alcohol from generationto generation. However, these studies have shown no hard evidence for anassociation between alcoholism and inherited factors. The learning and social model proposes that alcoholism is a processthat is slowly developed within a social situation or atmosphere. This model ofalcoholism has also been researched by using both human and animal subjects. Aconditioning model of alcohol tolerance has demonstrated that specific cues fromthe environment such as odor, sight, and taste, produce a stimulus that resultsin alcohol consumption. If ethanol, the addictive ingredient in alcohol , isnot supplied, a psychological compensatory response called a craving is produced.
The psychodynamic model of alcoholism proposes that problematic childrearing practices produce psychosexual maldevelopment and dependence/independececonflicts. It is believed that while habitual alcohol use is in process, thehabitual drinker may use behavior such as exaggeration, denial, rationalization,and affiliation with socially deviant groups. Results of these behaviors mayinclude decreased work efficiency, job loss, alienation of friends and family,or even hospitalization. The multidimensional model of alcoholism combines the interaction ofbiological, behavioral, and sociocultural factors. These three factorscontribute together to make the strongest model, in which most alcoholics fit.
The biological model relates to the progression from occasional initial reliefdrinking, to the increase of tolerance, and from loss of memory during heavydrinking periods to an urgency of drinking. The behavioral model is helpful inthe identification of high-risk situations, in which alcoholics are most likelyto be ritualistally drinking. Sociocultural factors are present in peerinteraction around drinking as a primary activity for entertainment. This canlead to the preference of drinking for social interaction.
Ideas such as thisare influenced greatly, and shaped by media through commercials, televisionportrayal of alcohol use as a coping skill, and the belief that the use ofalcohol to reduce life’s stress is socially acceptable. Another area in whichalcohol is looked at as all right, comes during the aging process. The death ofa spouse, job relocation, retirement, or loss of health put older people at riskof alcoholism and is identified as having late-onset alcoholism (McFarland 458). Alcoholism can be divided into several subtypes.
Gamma alcoholismapplies to binge drinkers who alternate periods of sobriety and drunkenness. Anexample of gamma alcoholism would be a college student who engages in heavybinge drinking. In contrast, beta alcoholism is manifested by physicalcomplications of chronic alcohol use such as cirrhosis, weakening of the liver,heart, stomach, and esophagus. An example of a beta alcoholic would be ahousewife who is a maintenance drinker and experiences withdrawal symptoms.
Anumber of issues also arises among characteristics of alcoholism. Behavioralproblems are often visible signs. Poor school grades, rambling speech,disciplinary problems, excessive fighting, truancy, vandalism, and hyperactivityare all possible signs of alcoholism. Alcoholism is a disease that is very serious and complicated. Thecuring of alcoholism is a difficult process which requires accepting thepresence of the condition, self realization, and support. As a person begins toachieve control over their drinking problem, by implementing new copingstrategies, and increasing a sense of competence and hope, a new phase of lifeis entered.