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How to Properly Treat AlcoholismResearch Paper

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Psychology of Alcoholism

There are many that have come to know alcoholism as a disorder that is very physical in nature. Indeed, there is quite often a physical aspect to a person craving alcohol. This physical dependency can become so severe and nasty that going "cold turkey" off of alcohol can literally kill a person that is trying to quit it. However, this is certainly not the only aspect to alcoholism. Addictions and proclivities like alcoholism often take on a dual manifestation in that they can be both physical and psychological in nature. Most addictions are mostly or only one or the other but drugs in particular can have this dual-pronged presence that can really paralyze people and keep hooked as they have to get around the physical and the psychological hooks of the addiction to overcome it. This report shall focus on the latter of those two "hooks." While some people are rather simplistic about others when it comes to them stopping their alcoholic ways, this is much easier said than done and this is true in more than one way.

Analysis

How Alcoholism Influences Behavior

Alcohol can influence behavior in a number of major ways. First of all, it is no secret to anyone in any sector of the law enforcement community that alcohol is a precursor for a lot of the behavior and actions that lead to people being jailed in the first place. Whether it be drunk in public, driving under the influence (DUI), the intentional or unintentional destruction of proper (inside or outside of a car), domestic violence, bar fights or what have you, alcohol makes a lot of people loopy and cheerful but it also tends to make people sloppy, violent or otherwise dangerous. There are other manifestations of alcoholics and their behavior including alcoholics figuring out where they will get their next drink, how they will be drunk yet obscure their drunkenness from family or coworkers, the people (including family and friends) that are like-minded and/or like-acting when it comes to the use and abuse of alcohol and so forth. As noted in the introduction, there is often both a psychological and a physical impetus behind alcoholics, what they do and why. Both of these high-level factors obviously have a lot to do with what alcoholics do, when they do it, how they do, why they do it and so on. Some are able to function at a basic level while others are simply out of control and need immediate intervention or at least in a night in the drunk tank at jail to protect them from themselves. There are some situations where alcohol's influence on behavior can cause very extreme things such as people wanting to commit suicide. Some scholars on the subject have said as far back as ten years ago that the link between alcohol abuse and suicidal behavior is "considerable." Beyond that, there are other things that can emerge when someone is drunk or partially impaired such as interpersonal difficulties, major depressive episodes, stressful life events in general, poor social support, living alone, high aggression of impulsivity, negative affect, hopelessness, severe alcoholism in general, comorbidity with another drug (cocaine use in particular), serious medical illness (caused by or apart from the alcohol-caused problems), suicidal communications or prior suicidal behavior. When it comes to people becoming suicidal, discord and problems with a partner such as a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend is the major catalyst that leads to many suicidal episodes. However, scholars note that anyone with an alcohol problem can have a suicidal episode and this includes people that are not in a domestic relationship with another person, official or unofficial (Sher, 2006).

Structural, Anatomical, Physiological & Cultural Factors

This section is a further expansion of how alcohol latches onto a person in more than one way. The cultural factors involved would be what is mainly being talked about when a person's family, friends and surroundings have a lot to do with how they become hook and/or stay hooked. After all, there is a reason that a person trying to get off heroin is told in no uncertain terms to stay away from areas where drugs are bought, where drugs are used and where the people that got them (or keep them) in the drug use spiral exist. The presence of the drug and the associated culture is no different. In much that same way, an alcoholic would have to swear off anyone (including family) or any situation (e.g. bars and pubs) that could easily lead to a person starting to drink again. Even if a person does their best to follow that advice, the physical addiction that one can get to alcohol can be extensive as well and this is where the anatomical, physiological and structural factors come into play, as mentioned before. Another aggravating factor beyond the above is that it is not all that hard to get alcohol. With the exception of after certain times of day or on certain days in some areas (e.g. bans on Sunday liquor sales), any person with the money can go to a liquor store and get what they want. Of course, there are rules and laws about selling alcohol to people that are obviously inebriated. This is true of both bars and traditional liquor stores. However, there are surely some instances where those laws are not followed. Even if they are followed, the person will sober up eventually and will need or want another fix on a psychological and/or physical level. The cultural trends and flags that emerge are usually localized but they can be regional to national in nature. Indeed, a national iteration of alcohol as a part of culture is Denmark. Indeed, there are many in Denmark that have very critically reviewed the policy that they have there as it relates to laws surrounding alcohol, the general Denmark culture and industry in the area. These scholars and experts note that "a particular adolescent alcohol culture of intoxication, however, emerged in the 1990's, raising public awareness and calls for policy intervention" (Demant & Krarup, 2013). A smaller but much more enhanced microcosm of alcoholism and how it can be actively encouraged even if the word is not being used are colleges. Indeed, there are many in college social circles that openly say that adding alcohol to a situation makes it better. Of course, that is disgustingly simplistic and basically encourages binge drinking and excessive drinking over time in general (Hebden, Lyons, Goodwin & McCreanor, 2015).

Culture & Lived Experiences

As mentioned before, culture is a huge part of whether someone becomes an alcoholic, how precisely this event comes to pass and what measures can or could be taken to escape that. The manifestations and examples of this are many. For example, the male child of a drunk father is quite likely to themselves get involved with alcohol in his life as he ages and thus the nasty cycle will repeat itself. One can all it the apple not falling far from the true, to use a common saying. Another example would be that same child having a father that is not a drunk but yet is too busy or not interested in the kind of people that his son is hanging around every day. There are many instances like this where those friends are bad ones and they get each other involved with alcohol or even harder drugs like methamphetamine, ecstasy or heroin, just to name a few. A culture that creates or aggravates a drug addiction like alcoholism can be seen in many bad parts of town where drug use of many forms and the associated dealing or selling of the same is commonplace and hard to miss. Indeed, rough neighborhoods are bereft of many things but liquor stores are not usually one of them because the demand for the vice is usually quite high in areas where squalor, struggle and desperation are very prevalent. Indeed, many people drink alcohol to drown their proverbial sorrows. Even if the effects are temporary, they are, to use a pun, intoxicating. The relief, as brief as it is, is enough to have people start it and it all goes to a deeper hell once the physiological aspects of alcoholism take hold. When taking the above into account, one has to realize that while general exposure to alcohol culture most definitely can have an effect, it is direct experiences with friends and family, and perhaps one's general neighborhood in some situations, that have the most significant and sometimes damning effects. It is not a mistake or an accident that there is a strong correlation, just as one example, between the way a family functions and whether an adolescent in that same family ends up abusing alcohol. While there was not an easy-to-see causal relationship involved, it was indeed very clear that depressed moods in general, and for both boys and girls, led to alcohol use and abuse with adolescent children of both genders.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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