Dissertation - 1

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Foundation Degree
Dissertation

The purpose of my dissertation is to evaluate the social and economic problems caused by the availability and affordability of alcohol. I am going to carry out an investigation into the consequences of alcohol abuse in South Wales, concentrating mainly in the Neath area.

There is evidence of a rapid increase of alcohol use in women. There is also an increase of alcohol consumption among middle and older age, and an increase in very young adolescents. (http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/drinking-in-the-uk). 15% of Welsh hospital admissions are due to alcohol intoxication and 45% of Welsh adults say that their town centre has become a no-go area due to alcohol related problems. I have concluded from this information that there is undoubtedly a growing epidemic, but why?

In relation to my question, I have explored this topic further through completion of both primary and secondary research. I have obtained a full and accurate collection of data to analyse and discover an explanation of this fast spreading epidemic.

My primary research consists of 150 questionnaires, which I evenly distributed between people from the age of 14 to 60 and were completed with full confidentiality. I gave them out to students at NPTC, family and friends. This enabled me to assess their feedback. I held an interview with a gentleman who wished to remain anonymous, who discussed his experience with me openly. This enabled me to ask more detailed questions, in order to discover the reasons behind this increasing problem. Unfortunately I was unable to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting due to confidentiality, and due to family commitments I was unable to hold a focus group. I did however; gather enough research to conduct this dissertation fairly.

In order to understand the investigation into the consequences of alcohol abuse I knew I had to include my own experiences, as this would back up my theories of why this problem is growing so rapidly. My secondary research is built upon information readily available. I used news paper articles; within the Guardian, South Wales Evening Post and the Observer. The BBC and South Wales Police provided me with relevant information as well as the National statistics on-line. I also gathered a number of issues of “The Publicans Morning Advertiser” which is a publication of recent events regarding the Public House industry.

What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is also known as 'alcohol dependency syndrome'. It is a disease that is characterised by four main elements; craving (a strong need to drink), loss of control (the inability to stop drinking once drinking has begun), physical dependence (occurrence of withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety, when alcohol use is stopped after a period of heavy drinking. These symptoms are usually relieved by drinking alcohol or by substituting with a drug for example) and tolerance (the need for a higher consumption in order to feel the affects of the alcohol).

High levels of alcohol consumption are associated with social and economic costs. Social costs include health problems (alcohol related), lower life expectancy, violence and death. Economic costs include vandalism, loss of productivity, costs of emergency services and personal finances.

Alcoholism is centred on an individuals need to consume. It has nothing to do with what they drink, how long they have been drinking for or even how much is consumed. It is all to do with the need to drink. High levels of alcohol consumption are associated with social, physical and psychological problems. Availability seems to be one of the most important factors, alongside the fact that drinking alcohol is now much more accepted – there is no shame or embarrassment in being drunk. The social patterns of how alcohol is consumed has changed compared to 40 years ago – people used to go out for a drink and accidentally get drunk whereas now people go...
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