June 25, 2010
Community Health Strategies
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism affects every gender, race, and nationality. Abuse of alcohol is a major cause of preventable deaths associated with violence, motor vehicle crashes, homicides, suicides, and is a leading cause of death among youth (Ringold, 2006). According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA), (2010), approximately 17.6 million people in the United States (about one in every 12 adults) abuse alcohol or are alcohol dependent, and 10.8 million youth ages 12-20 are underage drinkers. In this paper I will discuss strategies to improve the effect and outcomes of alcoholism regarding individuals, families, and youth in the community. Community Health Issue Healthy People 2010 have issued a National Public Focus regarding the ten leading health indicators, and is a major health concern to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Healthy people 2010 addresses substance abuse as number four of the top ten leading health indicators, in which alcoholism affects the community in many ways (U.S. Dept. of Health, 2010). Alcohol abuse is a pattern that can be accompanied by failure to fulfill responsibilities such as work or school, and can have harmful, physical, emotional, and social consequences (Ringold, 2006). According to Ringold alcohol can turn into dependence, which can lead to more serious problems such as inability to stop drinking, tolerance (needing increased amounts), withdrawal symptoms (when stop drinking), and most often cannot be cured only treated. The reason I have chosen alcoholism as my topic are many long- term affects I have witnessed regarding individuals, families of alcoholics, and my own family members, whose quality of life have and are negatively affected by alcohol abuse. The population I believe are most affected are children of an alcoholic parent or parents, and young people in general. Many scientific studies have shown that genetic factors influence alcoholism. According to the NIAAA (2010) children of alcoholics are about four times more likely than the general population to develop alcohol problems and are at a higher risk of many other behavioral and emotional problems. Factors related to Alcohol Abuse “Alcoholism is addiction to the drug called alcohol, and is recognized as an illness under the biopsychosocial model” (Mathre, 2008, p. 811). Mathre describes alcoholism as a progressive disease in which a person’s use continues despite problems it may causes in life such as physical, emotional, social, economic, or spiritual dilemmas. Factors that can lead to excessive drinking include socio-economic status, stress, difficulties sleeping, financial problems, depression, social drinking, anxiety disorders, peer pressure, and risk taking among teens. The NIAAA (2010) noted that the craving an alcoholic feels for alcohol can be as strong as the need food or water, and believes an alcoholic will keep drinking even though they are aware of the outcomes. In addition to previous mentioned problems many serious health problems such as cancer, liver damage, brain damage, heart disease, pancreatitis and other related health problems are associated with alcohol abuse. Furthermore, long-term abuse may lead to legal problems; violence; domestic abuse; and fatal accidents resulting from drinking and driving (Center for Disease Control, [CDC], 2010). Data and Trends The CDC reported that in 2009, about 50% of adults were current drinkers, and mortality of alcohol-induced deaths (excluding accidents) was 22,070, in which 13,050 were from alcoholic liver disease. It was difficult to locate local data, but I did find that in San Diego County between 2001 and 2002, approximately 231.3% of alcohol...