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Alcoholism And Behavior
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Alcoholism And Behavior

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism has been around since ancient times when man first discovered how to make wine from grapes. Over many centuries, both men and women have received intense pleasure from drinking alcohol in one form or another. Whether it is beer, wine, a shot, or a mixed drink alcohol is poison to the alcoholic. How many times have we heard the clitche? One drink is too many one thousand is not enough. Alcoholism goes far beyond the boundaries of consuming too much alcohol and has much more to do with the epidemic of addiction. If the Alcoholic could just stop drinking the problem would end there. However, quitting is usually not the option taken because the addiction to alcohol starts in the brain.

There are many causes linked to the disease of alcoholism. The first casual effect has to do with gene linkage to ancestors. Does Alcoholic behavior and tendencies run in the family? If this is true, one has a greater chance of becoming an alcoholic. How much alcohol do you consume on a daily basis? When you do drink how does it affect your behavior? How does it affect your job and family? These are just some of the crucial questions that a person must answer honestly when evaluating the disease. There is no magic pill to cure the disease of alcoholism, but rather treatments in sobriety for the mind, body and spirit.

There are stark differences between the alcoholic and the social drinker. For instance, a social drinker may consume a small amount of alcohol in moderation without any negative consequences to his or her life. The alcoholic consumes sundry amounts of drinks and lives life in the wake of total devastation. The disease of alcoholism has no boundaries or rules, hence knows no responsibility and positive function. Without constructive treatment, the addicted will find themselves facing jails, institutions and eventually death.

What Are The Physical Effects of Alcoholism?

Alcohol can be a very dangerous and addictive substance; its prolonged and continuous use can cause irreversible damage to the physical body and the brain. Alcohol is a depressant and stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain causing a gratification of intoxicating euphoria throughout the body. It is perfectly healthy to enjoy a drink now and then. “Drinking can be beneficial or harmful, depending on your age and health status, the situation, and of course, how much you drink” (Omnigraphics).

The mental risks include Cognitive functioning of the brain, which affects learning capacity and memory. Wernicke - Korsakoff syndrome, or called Alcoholic Encephalopathy; is a brain condition due to low thiamine levels, or B1 vitamins and is frequently diagnosed in alcoholics. The symptoms may include inability to form new memories and loss of muscle coordination especially in walking. The syndrome causes people to see and hear things that do not exist, people make up stories, their vision changes, and they may have unusual eye movements. Physical exams and tests conclude, decreased or abnormal reflexes, low blood pressure, low body temperature and many other indications of the illness (Omnigraphics). In rare cases of severe alcoholism, there is a substantial change in brain tissue due to Alcoholic Neuropathy that will lead to permanent brain damage. Today in the twenty first century, in spite of the abundance of medical evidence indicating the dangers of alcohol there is an increase in deaths every year. The deadliest of all alcohol related diseases is cirrhosis of the liver. The beginning stage is known as the fatty liver, this is defined as an enlarge liver or buildup of fatty cells which cause much discomfort in the upper abdomen. Alcoholic hepatitis follows and yellowing of the skin occurs. Alcoholic Cirrhosis is the most fatal with no chance of reversing the mutilation of liver tissue and often causes death.

What Are The Behaviors Of Alcoholism?

Alcoholic behavior usually comes in four stages and each stage becomes progressively worse. Drinking socially does not exist anymore, but becomes a coping mechanism for one to escape their impending problems. In the early stages of alcoholism, the diseased drinker depends on their mood altering substance to relieve them from daily emotional discomfort. They often build up a tolerance and need to consume more and more amounts of alcohol to reach the intended buzz. Many alcoholics describe the initial use of alcohol as helping negate shyness or feelings of being disconnected in social context. They become more confident until the disease leads to drunkenness, inappropriateness, forgetfulness and insensitivity to the needs of others (Hedblom).

In the second stage, drinking becomes much more frequent and consumption of larger quantities is necessary to overcome the tolerance built up from the first stage. Drinking starts off much earlier in the day at this stage and loss of control does not happen all the time, but gradually family, friends and neighbors notice the behavior. “Individuals may continue to consume alcohol despite adverse consequences often to avoid or relieve symptoms of withdrawal” (Benton).

At the third stage, the addicted can no longer control their negative behavior and Financial, employment, and legal problems start to arise. The alcoholic begins to take (eye-openers.) drinking that initiates as soon as he or she awakens, usually to calm nerves. Relationships with friends and family start to fail and the afflicted begin to isolate.

By the time of the fourth stage, the alcoholic can no longer hold a steady job because alcohol becomes all that they need and want. Drinking begins early in the morning and last throughout day. Benders are very common in getting drunk and staying that way for several days on end. A recent US study concluded that 9% of chronic alcoholics came from families with long histories of mental disorder (Omnigraphics).

What Are The Treatments For Alcoholism?

There are many treatments in the disease of alcoholism, but the most important first step is to realize and admit to yourself that you are an alcoholic. You must acknowledge that you are powerless over alcohol and need professional help. The next step is Detoxification; this is to cleanse the body of toxic chemicals by abstinence from all alcohol and drugs. The therapy will take approximately seven to thirty days in rehabilitation facility. Further treatment may be necessary depending on the circumstances and the severity of the disease. Your age, the length of time you have been addicted and your general physical condition will decide how long. Each person’s body make up is different and how fast the patient will respond depends on him or her (Staff).

There is no pill or cure for the disease of alcoholism. However recently in 2008, there is a new medication in the desperate quest for sobriety, and its name is Topiramat. The drug has shown significantly to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed by the alcoholic, thus controlling the individual’s appetite in their addiction. Topiramate also decreases the physical and social dependency for the drug. The lead author of the study, Professor Bankole Johnson, M.D., M.Phil., FRCPysch., chairman of the UVa Department of Psychiatry Neurobehavioral Sciences, embarked on a 14 week trial involving men and women alcoholics. The subjects who ingested the Topirmate drank less alcohol and were in much better general health than those who swallowed the placebo (Treatment).

Still The most successful treatment for the disease of alcoholism to date is A.A. or commonly known as Alcoholics Anonymous. This ongoing program of peers contains the twelve steps in treatment for the mind, body, and lifestyle. The main theme of the organization is to be true to thyself, meaning to understand and do no harm to yourself or others.

Alcohol is a very dangerous and addictive drug in our society. Even though we have many answers in what causes the disease, why are we still seeking more? Because each and everyday people from all across the world are succumbing to a grueling life of dependency and suffering. Our children are at great risk, our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, or anyone at all. We have heard many facts about alcohol and the causes of addiction, but in reality, there is no exact science in preventing a future alcoholic. People need to keep themselves aware and informed because information is the most important key in prevention.

Faith in you and in a higher power of some kind is imperative for all of humanity, if we want to live a happy, healthy and prosperous life. A person must be very truthful with himself or herself when evaluating whether or not they have a problem with alcohol or not. Denial of the deadly disease is the number one reason people avoid getting medical help. If you suspect a family, member or friend has an alcohol problem you need to confront them as soon as possible, so they can begin to accept the reality of their problem. Caring is the most important ingredient in our world for survival. We must learn to be our brother’s keeper and look out for each other. God has given us the amazing gift of life, what we choose to do with it is our gift to him.


Street Talk

Very informative writing!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
deric  

Good article a lot of importand and interesting facts on the disease of alcoholism.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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