Alcoholism Paper

This essay has a total of 1289 words and 6 pages.


What is Alcoholism?

The definition of alcoholism can be described as a chronic illness, which is marked by
uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages that interferes with physical or mental
health, and social, family or occupational responsibilities. This dependence on alcohol
has only been diagnosed as a medical disorder recently in the medical field. Like many
other diseases, it has a predictable course and is influenced environmentally and
sometimes genetically. The disease can also be called progressive and fatal which means
that the disease can persist over a long period of time, bodily changes progress as the
drinking continues and can cause premature death through overdose, suicide, motor vehicle
crashes and complications of the brain, liver, heart, and other organs. Alcoholism can be
detected by four basic symptoms, they are tolerance which is the increasing need to drink
excessive amounts to feel its affects, also impaired control which is the problem of not
being able to stop oneself from drinking at any given time. Craving is another symptom
characterized by a strong compulsion to drink, and the last one is physical dependence
which shows withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, sweating, nausea or shakiness. Some
other common minor symptoms would be solitary drinking, making excuses to drink, episodes
of violence while under the influence, unexplained mood swings, neglect of physical
appearance, and hostility when confronted about drinking. Also, one can have what is
called preoccupation of alcohol which means excessive focused attention given to the drug,
its effects and its use.

Causes of Alcoholism
There is no definite cause of alcoholism, however, many factors can play a role in the
development of the disorder. In a family with an alcoholic parent, a child is more likely
to become an alcoholic than a child without an alcoholic parent. Alcoholism can be
inherited genetically from parent to child. An alcoholic disorder can occur if one or
both parents drank alcohol at the time of conception or the mother drank alcohol during
pregnancy. A women drinking during pregnancy can also cause several other complications
besides a drinking disorder. In a study done it concluded that if one person in a family
was an alcoholic that nine out of ten times alcoholism will be reported in two or more
family members. Environmental causes can occur such as the influence of friends, the easy
availability of alcohol, the social acceptance of alcohol and a life containing high
stress levels. Also alcoholism can occur when his or her parents did not teach or treat
their child right causing frustration and anxiety to the child later in life. Or the
family teaches the child to drink such as if the father drinks then the child follows the
example set by his father. That child can learn from observation that alcohol may be used
to cope with problems such as fatigue, stress and depression. Also the values of a family
can include the encouragement or acceptance of alcohol which both promote drinking.
Psychological factors also include in this such as a need to be relieved of anxiety,
conflicts within a relationship which are unsolved, or a low self-esteem.

Phases of Alcoholism
There are four phases of alcoholism which take a period of five to seven years to develop.
Some of these stages can be skipped or not gone in the same order depending on the
person. The first stage is called the warning stage. It happens when the user consumes
alcohol as a form of relief for tension to make them feel better. The personís drinking
habits can increase from often to daily or regularly in which he or she will seek more
reasons and occasions to drink. Lastly during this stage a tolerance is built from the
larger consumption of alcohol. The second stage is dangerous to the person. The drinker
has larger quantities of alcohol to obtain relief. More frequent and deeper intoxication
are part of this phase. Drinking alone, blackouts and gulping alcohol are symptoms to
stage two. The third stage of alcoholism is the most crucial phase of all. The drinker
loses all control of the amount of alcohol that was intended to be consumed. Withdrawal
from social environment, neglect of responsibility, and the hiding of alcohol occur during
phase three. Also the drinker may intend to be hospitalized after his or her consumption
of alcohol. The fourth and final stage is the chronic stage, where the person may be
intoxicated most of the time during a course of a day. During this the alcoholic has lost
all control of the drinking and may drink anything regardless of the harm to further his
or her intoxication. Sobriety to the person in this stage seems to be a torment and gives
up all excuses involved with their drinking.
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