1. What is alcoholism? 2. How do people become alcoholics? 3. What are the effects of alcoholism, on both the alcoholic and their family? 4. How do you diagnose alcoholism? 5. Is there a cure for alcoholics? 6. What is the treatment? What is Alcoholism? Alcoholism can be defined as the dependency on alcohol; addiction to alcohol. It is a chronic disease, this disease called alcoholism is progressive and potentially fatal. In 1966 the American Medical Association (AMA) declared Alcoholism a disease, but it is still judged morally by society said Father Martin. There are different types of alcoholics, the first type of alcoholic is the everyday drinker. These alcoholics drink on a daily basis with a high dependency on alcohol. A second type is the weekend alcoholics, they drink on weekends, usually to excess. Finally, the third type is the binge drinker. This is a person who drinks heavily on occasion. Probably the most dangerous type of alcoholism, because they are most likely to die of alcohol poisoning. How do people become alcoholics? Alcoholics dont know how they became alcoholics. Some say it is genetic on the stress gene, triggered by psychological or social stress. While others say it is a learned maladaptive coping behavior. Studies have shown that alcoholism may be genetic. If alcoholism is genetic it would be indirect. it would be related to the stress gene. This means that stress would set off a trigger that makes alcohol a want to the person. If alcoholism is learned behavior it means that drinking is a bad coping skill, most likely learned through an alcoholic parent. What are the effects of alcoholism, on both the alcoholic and their family? Alcohol has terrible effects on health, family and work. The effects of alcohol on the body are cirrhosis of the liver, loss of brain cells, stomach cancer, depression, tremors and blackouts. An alcoholic in the family causes many disruptions to the members of the family. They start arguments and fights by not functioning or being drunk. They either do not attend family gatherings or disrupt them. Some alcoholics can be abusive to other family members. A lot of alcoholic families find themselves in financial trouble, caused by the alcoholic using most of the money to buy alcohol. Kids of an alcoholic suffer the most, listening to arguments and being the blame of their parents drinking, making the child feel at fault. This causes the child to become depressed. They stop bringing friends home and do not attend many social events. Alcoholism causes excessive absences at work. Which causes loss of money for both the employee and the employer. Up to 40% of industrial fatalities and 47% of industrial injuries can be linked to alcohol consumption and alcoholism. Alcohol also impairs productivity at work. Alcohol seriously effects one out of every ten Americans. It is the cause of more deaths, violence, family disruption and job absenteeism than any other substance. How do you diagnose alcoholism? Alcoholism is a tough disease for doctors to diagnose, due to the fact that any physical effects of alcoholism can be viewed as another medical problem. The alcoholic is in denial and is not going to tell the doctor how much they drink, unless the doctor asks, but most doctors dont. You can diagnose yourself by answering some of the following questions: 1. Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of drinking? 2. Is alcohol making your life unhappy? 3. Has drinking alcohol ever been behind your losing a job? 4. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking? 5. Has your ambition decreased since drinking? 6. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty sleeping? 7. Have you ever felt remorse after drinking? 8. Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily? 9. Do you want a drink the next morning? 10. Have you ever had a complete or partial loss of memory as a result of drinking? 11. Is drinking affecting your reputation? 12. Does drinking make you careless of your families welfare? 14. Have you ever been to a hospital or institution on account of drinking? If you answered yes to some of these questions you may be at risk of being an alcoholic. Is there a cure for alcoholism and what is the treatment? There is no cure for alcoholism, once an alcoholic always an alcoholic; there is treatments, however, that is to stop drinking completely. You are then considered a recovering alcoholic. There are many ways to stop drinking. There are detoxification centers, the purpose of detoxification centers is to aid alcoholics through the withdrawal stages. Withdrawal symptoms include sleeplessness, sweating, depression, headache, weakness, vomiting, alcoholic seizures and delirium tremens (D.T.s). There are support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) to help people stop drinking and start dealing with their problems. There are also recovery homes and halfway houses that help aid alcoholics to sobriety. There is no one way to recover from alcoholism. The family also needs help recovering, sense alcoholism is a family disease. For them there are support groups, like ALA-non and ALA-teen. They could also seek family or group counseling with a professional counselor. It takes a lot of time and commitment for the alcoholic to stay sober and the family to heal the scars left by alcoholism. In Alcoholics Anonymous there are twelve steps to recovery and twelve traditions. The twelve steps to recovery are: Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives have become unmanageable. Step Two: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives to the care of God as we understood him. Step Four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves Step Five: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs Step Six: Were entirely ready to have god remove all these defects of character. Step Seven: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings Step Eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all Step Nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. Step Ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. Step Eleven: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all or affairs. There are twelve traditions that must be followed by the members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Tradition One: Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity. Tradition Two: For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern. Tradition Three: The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking. Tradition Four: Each group should be autonomous except in the matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole. Tradition Five: Each group has but one primary purpose to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers. Tradition Six: An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose. Tradition Seven: Every A.A. group ought to be self-supporting, declining outside contributions. Tradition Eight: Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers. Tradition Nine: A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve. Tradition Ten: Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy. Tradition Eleven: Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films. Tradition Twelve: Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
Work Cited Silverstein, Herma. Alcoholism. New York: Franklin Watts, 1990 Wekesser, Carol. Alcoholism. San Diego: Greenhaven Press Inc., 1994 Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc., 1995 Alcohol and Alcoholism. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986
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