Alcoholism is defined as a chronic disease, which progresses with time. The person typically craves for alcohol and will drink continuously despite experiencing the alcohol-related problems, i.e. relationship issues, job loss and other issues and violations. Alcohol affects the mechanism of major neurotransmitters in the body, including gamma-amino butyric acid neurotransmitter. Its main function in the body is inhibition of brain activity. Excessive alcohol in the body increases the levels of Dopamine, which results to pleasurable sensations in the body. Moreover, alcohol increases the levels of Serotonin in the organism.
This results to either elevated or depressed mood, depending on the alcohol level intoxication. The immediate effects of altering the normal neurotransmitters in the body results in aspects of feeling happy, relaxed, aroused, and intoxicated. Zakhari (2006) defined an alcoholic person as the one with allergy. A person who drinks, experiences problems of drinking, but will continue with his habits of drinking anyway, regardless of the situation. Licit brews are the major contribution to this disease, as they are locally available and cheap. However, manufacturing is not in the recurred standards, and causes various effects on the consumers. The society and communities play an important role in the menace by either acceptance or rejection of the brews.
Symptoms and Experiences of Alcoholism
An individual experiences the so-called withdrawal symptoms when not drunk. These include irritability, nausea, sweating, anxiety, tremors, and may even shake violently in the morning before having a drink. Thus, an alcohol dependent individual cannot function well, unless he is intoxicated. Black out is a true sign of a drinking problem. On the other hand, moodiness and loss of appetite are signs of underlying problems accompanied by alcohol abuse. Other experiences that are associated with alcohol consumption include cravings for alcohol and overdependence. Individuals who suffer from alcohol-related problems experience the inability to control their drinking amounts.
I perceive that the increased alcohol intake in the body is associated with various health effects, as mentioned above. Legal problems and alcohol-related conditions such as liver problems, i.e. cirrhosis, liver failure and damage, mental confusion and deliriums, pancreatitis, ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding and loss of sperm cells, are all associated with alcoholism syndrome. Thus, abuse of alcohol causes harm to the individual, as well as the society, since the person seizes to be productive in the community. Kaner et al. (2006) argues that alcoholism results in difficulties in sustaining relationships, as well as employment problems; hence the individual comes across the social problems in relating with people. I do agree that this causes homelessness, poverty, and incarceration, especially among the street dwellers. The friends and family of the associate are in a better position of building a picture of the change to the individual. Such observations, noted by the people who are close to the drinker, are of a valuable importance in making a formal diagnosis. Individuals, who are diagnosed early, benefit more and are likely to change their behavior once appropriate guidance is provided.
Effects of Alcoholism
After analyzing the content in this article, I have deduced that there is a relationship between alcoholism, work, and income. The study explains how negatively alcoholism affects the labor productivity, by restricting the labor market participation. Workers go to work late and will spend some working hours in drinking, decreasing the production time accordingly. Nevertheless, when drunk, they will not work efficiently, and thus, will decrease the overall productivity.
Furthermore, alcoholism develops family crisis. I concur with the authors that alcoholism is a social problem; it affects millions of families worldwide. The alcoholic is a direct source of stress to family members, as drinking is associated with particular subsidiary problems. These include unemployment, desertion, non-support, and imprisonment, not leaving out family violence and child abuse. The spouse of an alcoholic can be described as interpersonally restricted, insecure, sexually inadequate, angry and guilt-ridden with disturbed personality. Due to alcoholism, the number of single men has increased three to four times. The vast majority of couples, who had married, later separated from their families, and about one-third of them have had married more than once. It clearly shows the negative effects of the excessive alcohol consumption.
Alcoholism and Health
Drinking alcohol in pregnancy can seriously damage the baby, causing fetal alcohol syndrome that leads to irreversible physical and mental disabilities. Thus, mothers are advised not to consume alcohol when pregnant. Complications that are associated with heavy alcohol intoxication include mental confusion, amnesia, unsteady gait, ulcers, pancreatitis, liver damage, heart diseases, brain and nerve damage, nutritional deficiencies, as well as such infections as pneumonia and tuberculosis and osteoporosis. Alcohol is a well-known risk factor related to cancerous tumors of the oral cavity and liver. Thus, it is a predisposing factor to cancer. It can be directly toxic, act through a systematic effect, or act as an irritant, enhancing the effects of other carcinogens. People drink alcohol just for fun, enjoyment, and pleasure, not considering the latter implications. With time, an individual will get used to it and increase the consumption abilities, becoming an alcohol addict without even realizing this fact. Most people with drinking problems will never admit that they have this very problem.
Screening and Diagnosis
Screening and diagnosis of individuals is important, as the majority of people will deny they have an alcohol-related problem, and they are often unlikely to seek treatment by themselves. Therefore, it is the responsibility of friends and close associates to initiate therapy. Blood tests are carried out on the alcohol blood levels, but are not helpful enough, as they indicate recent alcohol consumption. Some symptoms of alcoholism may be attributed with other disorders, especially among the elderly. These symptoms include confusion, memory loss, or falling. Therefore, it is important to make a proper diagnosis and follow up to avoid misdiagnosis. Alcohol abuse has been associated mainly with the youth and adolescent. During these stages, they are trying to experiment, which becomes the main reason for abuse. Proper education and parental guidance help to reduce the instances of alcohol abuse, which tends to decrease with age.
Treatment and Preventive Management
The article further exploits the methods and preventive management. Preventive measures include: drinking in moderation by reducing the number of drinks per day, having clear rules on not using drugs (especially in teenagers), participation in other activities, e.g. sports, music and art to avoid drugs and peer pressure to drug use. With proper guidance from the parents and elderly, as well as school, instances of alcohol abuse will decrease among the adolescents (Zakhari 17).
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I do agree that the most important step in treatment is accepting the alcohol problem among the alcoholics. Treatment often involves addressing the physical and psychological addiction. The person may be admitted in the hospital for 28 days, where they undergo detoxification before the individual undergoes group therapy to emphasize on abstinence. Anonymous Alcoholic Groups are important for rehabilitation. Family members and close associates are ought to attend the groups, as they learn how to help their family member in getting out of alcoholism.
After analyzing the article, I have realized that approximately 60% of people above 15 years of age abuse alcohol. Therefore, it is an increasing global concern that cannot be ignored. It is my recommendation that the appropriate laws need to be implemented to curb alcohol abuse. With relevant treatment and guidance, about 70% of individuals with alcohol-related problems manage to halt the number of days spent in alcohol consumption. Alcoholism is not specific to any gender or age, but the youth are still the most affected age group. Education, especially in school, will help curbing the problem. The article is a good resource to medical providers, as well as the society in general.
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