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    Causes Of Alcoholism Essay (912 words)

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    In Young AgeAlcoholism and alcohol abuse is a growing problem in our society.

    Daily, peopleare injured and killed in alcohol-related accidents and this has an effect oneach and every person as a result of these occurrences. Whether we arepersonally involved or have directly suffered from the activities of someone whois under the influence of alcohol, we all suffer from the negative consequencesof alcohol. Since we have those who choose to abuse these privileges we need todevelop consequences for them. By learning what leads people to drink alcohol,and how this affects their lives, we can then determine what actions need to betaken to help remove ourselves from our ever-increasing attraction to alcohol. Because the abuse of alcohol often begins with adolescents and young adults,most research is based around them. At this particular time in life we hope tofind out why these young adults choose to drink, and what motivates them todrink.

    Michael and Rebecca C. Windle, in their research, were able to showseveral reasons that provided incentives for adolescents to consume alcohol. Using a written survey, it was determined that the high-school students beingstudied used alcohol to cope with problems in their lives, including”task-oriented”, “emotion-oriented”, and “avoidancecoping (Windle & Windle, 1996, p. 551). ” The only major discrepanciesin results between the sexes became obvious when it was shown by Windle andWindle that girls were more likely to use alcohol for avoidance andemotion-oriented coping than were boys, but the boys were more likely to havealcohol problems (Windle & Windle, 1996). Also found was that adolescentsdrank less often for social reasons than for the aforementioned coping reasons (Windle& Windle, 1996).

    However, coping motives were responsible for an increasedconsumption of alcohol (Windle & Windle, 1996). A surprising result of thisstudy was that the students drank more frequently as a result of positive dailyevents than negative daily events (Windle & Windle, 1996). This suggeststhat while young people do drink because they are unhappy with certain events intheir lives, they are more likely to drink because something good has happenedto them recently. Alcoholism is also thought to be passed genetically fromparents to their children.

    By comparing males with a family history ofalcoholism to males with a history without alcoholism, we can determine therelationship between genetics, alcoholism, and alcoholic children. Whilefrequency and quantity of alcoholic consumption of children of alcoholics (COA’s)and non-COA’s were similar, COA’s were more than twice as likely to bediagnostically determined alcoholics than were the non-COA’s (Finnet al. , 1997). This shows that one can drink as much as an alcoholic, but not actually be analcoholic one’s self.

    This may contribute to a lack of social understanding ofalcoholism, as we tend to think of an alcoholic as someone who frequently drinksalcohol, when, instead, the definition of an alcoholic must be changed tosomeone genetically pre-disposed to alcoholism or addiction. Another approach toresearching alcoholism was exercised by Sher, Wood, Wood and Raskin. They showedthe differences between expectancies related to alcohol of COA’s and non-COA’sover a four-year period of time. What was found was that COA’s drank much morefrequently to reduce tension, become more social, make activities moreinteresting and perform better than non-COA’s did (Sher et al. , 1996).

    Thiscould result from a more familiar approach to alcohol, as it presumably had aneffect on the early years of each young adult. At the same time, there was ageneral decrease in drinking for these reasons from the time the study began toits completion four years later (Sher et al. , 1996). This research gives usimportant insight into reasons for alcohol use, and could provide bettertreatment for alcoholic COA’s than is currently being provided.

    Somewhat similarto the above research, was that of Chassin, Curran, Hussong and Colder. Thesefour psychologists were able to show a non-genetic relationship between fathers,their adolescent children, and peers of the adolescents. They found that COA’s”substance use growth curve started at a significantly higher level than itdid for non-COA’s. . . (Chassin et al.

    , 1996, p. 74)” meaning that not onlydid the adolescents use alcohol (among other substances), but they used morethan did their non-COA peers. Also, when a COA was combined with drug-usingpeers, the adolescent was even more likely to have a significantly higher use ofalcohol (Chassin et al. , 1996). This research also shows that children ofalcoholic mothers also “showed steeper substance use growth (Chassin etal. ,1996, p.

    74)” than non-COA’s but there generally was not a large effecton the adolescents. A hypothesis offered by Chassin Curran, Hussong and Colderon reasons for increased alcohol use was the following: In terms of theparenting pathway, both maternal and paternal alcoholism were related todecreased paternal monitoring (although the relation was only marginallysignificant for fathers’ alcoholism). In turn, adolescents whose fathersreported lower levels of moitoring were more likely to associate with drug-usingpeers, and these peer associations predicted increases in substance use overtime. Adolescents whose fathers reported less monitoring of their behavior alsohad higher initial substance use levels (Chassin et al. , 1996, p.

    75). Fromthis, we can deduce that parental alcoholism is not the only cause of increasedalcohol abuse among adolescents, but rather the additional aspects that comealong with having an alcoholic parent. These aspects may include spending lesstime with one’s child and external expressions of alcoholism (violence,depression, etc) that may cause a child to deal as infrequently as possible withthe alcoholic parent. A great deal of research is going into studying theeffects and consequences of alcoholism and alcohol use today. This is necessaryto provide rehabilitation and other help to alcoholics, as from research, anaddiction is not necessarily created, but born. We can all benefit, emotionally,financially and otherwise from a better understanding of alcoholism.##FOOTER##

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