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Alcohol Essay, Research Paper

Alcohol abuse is a very dangerous condition in that it can cause many

problems in a persons life and affect many aspects of their lifestyle.

Alcoholism (or alcohol abuse) somehow effects everyone’s life at some point

in time; through a parent, a sibling, a friend, or even personal encounters.

Alcohol abuse, as a medical diagnosis, refers to a pattern of behavior

characterized by excessive alcohol consumption. This consumption can occur

at regular intervals, regular weekend intervals, or during binges, which are

considered as being intoxicated for at least two successive days. Difficulty in

stopping, reducing the amount of alcohol use, and impaired

social/occupational role functioning are all characteristics of alcohol abuse. A

number of theories in the medical feild are used to explain alcohol abuse.

These are the biologic-genetic model, learning/social model, the

psychodynamic model, and the multidimensional model .Each different model,

for alcoholism have varied explanations as to how and why people use and

abuse alcohol. The biologic-genetic model states that there is a specific

genetic vulnerability for alcoholism. There has been extensive studies on

factors in the genes that could determine or influence the use of alcohol from

generation to generation. However, these studies have shown no hard

evidence for an association between alcoholism and inherited factors. The

learning and social model proposes that alcoholism is a process that is slowly

developed within a social situation or atmosphere. This model of alcoholism

has also been researched by using both human and animal subjects. A

conditioning model of alcohol tolerance has demonstrated that specific cues

from the environment such as odor, sight, and taste, produce a stimulus that

results in alcohol consumption. If ethanol, the addictive ingredient in alcohol ,

is not supplied, a psychological compensatory response called a craving is

produced. The psychodynamic model of alcoholism proposes that

problematic child rearing practices produce psychosexual maldevelopment

and dependence/independece conflicts. It is believed that while habitual

alcohol use is in process, the habitual drinker may use behavior such as

exaggeration, denial, rationalization, and affiliation with socially deviant

groups. Results of these behaviors may include decreased work efficiency,

job loss, alienation of friends and family, or even hospitalization. The

multidimensional model of alcoholism combines the interaction of biological,

behavioral, and sociocultural factors. These three factors contribute together

to make the strongest model, in which most alcoholics fit. The biological

model relates to the progression from occasional initial relief drinking, to the

increase of tolerance, and from loss of memory during heavy drinking periods

to an urgency of drinking. The behavioral model is helpful in the identification

of high-risk situations, in which alcoholics are most likely to be ritualistally

drinking. Sociocultural factors are present in peer interaction around drinking

as a primary activity for entertainment. This can lead to the preference of

drinking for social interaction. Ideas such as this are influenced greatly, and

shaped by media through commercials, television portrayal of alcohol use as

a coping skill, and the belief that the use of alcohol to reduce life’s stress is

socially acceptable. Another area in which alcohol is looked at as all right,

comes during the aging process. The death of a spouse, job relocation,

retirement, or loss of health put older people at risk of alcoholism and is

identified as having late-onset alcoholism. Alcoholism can be divided into

several subtypes. Gamma alcoholism applies to binge drinkers who alternate

periods of sobriety and drunkenness. An example of gamma alcoholism

would be a college student who engages in heavy binge drinking. In contrast,

beta alcoholism is manifested by physical complications of chronic alcohol

use such as cirrhosis, weakening of the liver, heart, stomach, and esophagus.

An example of a beta alcoholic would be a housewife who is a maintenance

drinker and experiences withdrawal symptoms. A number of issues also

arises among characteristics of alcoholism. Behavioral problems are often

visible signs. Poor school grades, rambling speech, disciplinary problems,

excessive fighting, truancy, vandalism, and hyperactivity are all possible signs

of alcoholism. Alcoholism is a disease that is very serious and complicated.

The curing of alcoholism is a difficult process which requires accepting the

presence of the condition, self realization, and support. As a person begins to

achieve control over their drinking problem, by implementing new coping

strategies, and increasing a sense of competence and hope, a new phase of

life is entered.


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