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Alcoholism Case

Essay by   •  February 3, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  595 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,090 Views

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Alcoholism

This refers to the excessive consumption of alcohol. This condition is considered a disease in the medical field. A person suffering from this condition is referred to as an alcoholic. Alcoholics have an incontrollable urge to keep on drinking despite the obvious physical, social and mental problems associated with alcoholism. Physical risk factors associated with alcoholism include damage to the nervous system, epilepsy, pancreatitis, dementia and an increased risk of liver and cardiovascular diseases (Galanter, 2005).

Alcoholism is considered the third most common mental problem with the most major risk factor being depression. This is as a result of the alcoholic having low self esteem and feeling out of place thus becoming antisocial. Alcoholics become very irritable when confronted about their drinking problem. This usually leads to them alienating themselves as they feel judged and misunderstood which sometimes leads to the alcoholic becoming suicidal (Galanter, 2005).

Medical practitioners have carried out research to determine the causes of alcoholism with some speculating that the condition is hereditary. Studies show that people with a history of being either physically or sexually abused as children have a higher likelihood of developing alcoholism as they already feel out of place. Furthermore, children who engage in alcohol intake before the age of 15years are more likely to develop a drinking problem than those who have their first alcoholic drink past the said age. (Galanter, 2005).

Diagnosis of alcoholism is difficult as many alcoholics shun treatment for fear of stigmatization. The most common way of detecting alcoholism is checking for peculiar behaviour such as constant relationship, work related or legal problems as a result of alcohol consumption. Alcoholics tend to isolate themselves and completely shy away from social gatherings opting to hide away as they indulge in alcohol. Legal problems may arise when an alcoholic engages in activities such as drunk driving which is not only harmful to themselves, but to others around them which can in turn lead to the alcoholic being imprisoned (Galanter, 2005).

In the diagnosis of alcoholism, physicians use a questionnaire referred to as the CAGE Questionnaire which seeks to get information such as finding out whether the individual feels a need to reduce their alcohol intake, whether they feel irritated whenever questioned about their drinking, if the individual ever feels guilty about his/her drinking pattern and lastly whether they ever need to drink to get rid of a hangover (Galanter, 2005).

Once diagnosis confirms alcoholism, physicians embark on treatment programs which include substituting alcohol with other medical drugs which have the same effect as alcohol to prevent the alcoholic from experiencing alcohol withdrawal complications such as nausea, shaking violently, fever and confusion.

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