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Alcoholism and Suicide

By sharshaaar May 06, 2013 2603 Words
ALCOHOLISM AND SUICIDE: TEENS’ SCAPEGOAT

Presented to:
Bienvenido B. Nepumuceno, Ph.D.
(MIT)

In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements in
Philippine Constitution for Academic Purposes
(SS10)

Presented by:
Quiniquini, Sharmaine R.

September 12, 2011
ABSTRACT

Alcohol can be good for the body if it is taken in a right way. It can calm us when we are nervous or put us to sleep if we want. However, too much intake could of course be dangerous to our health. Pressure to try drugs and alcohol is strong among teens. Many face temptation from peers and close friends, who tell them that drugs and drinking are fun and cool. Many feel they must engage in these activities in order to gain acceptance. Parents, teachers and school administrators work to discourage this behavior, warning of the dangers of addiction, overdose and driving while intoxicated. However, many teens do succumb to the temptation. Let us not allow this impropriety to cause bigger problems which may lead us to death. Alcoholism affects more than the problem drinker. Teens face ethical dilemmas at school and at home regularly. Sometimes they face situations that experienced adults find challenging. They need to understand the consequences of making the wrong choice. Alcohol is not identified as an issue. Often, the scapegoat (which is alcoholism) is identified as 'The Problem' wherein if a teenager is not counseled properly, eventually resulted to suicide incidents.

Introduction

“I am a failure, a drunk, and a liar. I am hopeless and I want to die.”
The words stated above was said by a teenager named Harold Hughes who became an alcoholic for about 10 years and soon committed suicide. At first, he tried alcohol out of curiosity but unfortunately, he had ended up in committing suicide.

Nowadays, alcoholism and suicidal problems are getting bigger and bigger. Many teenagers get into it without even knowing the negative effects of these alcohols and suicide attempts. In this term paper, the researcher would like to impart the reader what alcohol can do to human beings especially to teens.

The purpose of this term paper is to emphasize the negative effects of alcoholism and suicide and its preventions so that the teens would be aware and wouldn’t take the risk of trying it. This term paper serves as a guide to the teenagers so that they would know the negative effects of alcoholism and suicide, its prevention and to know that these things wouldn’t do any good to them.

BRIEF HISTORY
Alcohol is a substance produced through a process called fermentation. Fermentation is a process which converts starch and sugar into ethyl alcohol, occurs naturally and often in all sorts of materials. The first alcoholic beverage was accidentally drunk by a prehistoric man or woman after it was left for a long time and begun to ferment. By the time we enter the era of recorded history our ancestors were fermenting an impressive variety of substances.

The earliest alcoholic beverage to be widely used may have been mead, made from fermented honey. Grapes for wine may have been among the earliest crops are cultivated, and it has been suggested that people first changed from a nomadic to a settled way of life because they had to stay in one place until their grapes ripened. In ancient Egypt the honor of brewing beer has been given to the high priest, who offered their product not only to the populace at large but also to the gods themselves.

Genghis Khan and his hordes drank fermented mare’s milk called Koumiss, whereas in India a drink called Arrach was made from palm juice. Coconuts, peaches, and potatoes have been made into alcoholic drink So people have consumed enormous variety of the said drink for many different reasons. First is to quench thirst. . Second is to preserve food and improve its taste. Third, as medicine and last but not the least is when sacramental celebration is done.

ALCOHOLISM
Alcoholism refer to the drinking of alcohol beverages to such a degree that major aspects of an individual’s life - such as work, school, family relationships, or personal safety and health - are seriously and repeatedly interfered with. Alcoholism is considered a disease, meaning that it follows a characteristic course with known physical, psychological and social symptoms.

The subcommittee on alcoholism of the World Health Organization has described alcoholics as “those excessive drinkers whose dependence upon alcohol has attained such a degree that it shows a noticeable mental disturbance or an interference with their bodily or mental health, their interpersonal relations, and their smooth social and economic function. A simpler definition which is widely accepted is as follows: “an alcoholic is one who’s repeated drinking result in injury to his health, family and social relations and who is unable to refrain from drinking.” In general, the concept of a learned emotional dependence on alcohol is understood in defining alcoholism, although some researcher have postulated a physical dependence, such as occurs in addition to opiates. The past two decades have three decades have been referred to as the “drug era.” Drugs and alcohols can prevent conception, calm us when we are nervous, vice versa, wake us up, put us to sleep, cure us when we are sick, and make us sick when we are well. Alcoholism and drug abuse are major medical and social problems in most countries. With repeated or continuous use, an individual can become physically and/or psychologically dependent on any alcohol or drug. Physical dependence refers to a need that develops through bearings. Physical dependence, formerly called “addiction”, is characterized by tolerance and withdrawal. People who habitually use a drug or alcohol to relieve anxiety may become dependent on it, even though no physical need develops. Despite public concern over the increasing use of marijuana and hard drugs, alcohol is still the most widely used and abused drugs in some countries. The cost in terms of lost productivity and medical care for alcohol-related illness is staggering. Other social consequence include increased crimes, (homicide and child abuse are both related to alcohol use) deaths, injuries on the highway, and suicide.

CAUSES OF ALCOHOLISM
* Physiological Cause
Physiologists have attempted to explore a chemical action of alcohol among normal individuals and alcoholics. They have noted that some bio-chemical changes appear to be present in certain individuals who have been drinking for long periods of time. At present, there is no evidence to suggest that the alcoholic disposes of alcohol in the body in a different fashion from the non-alcoholic. Emotional stress can create physiological change which leads to discomfort, and this may contribute to the drinking. However, evidence accumulated to date does not support the theory of a primary physiological cause, although some physiological difference may exist and ultimately be identified.

* Psychological Causes
While some people consider the alcoholic a person of weak will and lacking character, psychological studies do not bear this out at all. There is evidence that some alcoholics are extremely dependent people, but it’s impossible to generalize an alcoholic personality.

At the core of the alcoholics’ personality there is often dissatisfaction with self, an inability to perceive and accept reality, and a tendency to seek the fantasy world produced by alcohol as substitute for real life experiences. Many alcoholics find it hard to face problems and adjust to life without alcohol.

Alcoholics need to experience the action of alcohol on the nervous system, but often lack the ability to control the use of alcohol once the first drink is taken. Moreover, they suffer from their illness even without drinking. Also, they are caught in conflict between facing reality and avoiding it by recourse to alcohol. Continued drinking creates a vicious circle in which the results of heavy drinking, such as the loss of friends, financial security and become secondary causes for further drinking.

FOUR STAGES OF ALCOHOLISM
An individual can progress from social drinking to alcoholism in many ways and here are the following: 1. Pre-alcoholic stage
Individual drinks socially and on occasion heavily, to relieve tension and forgot about their problems. When time of crisis comes, heavy drinking becomes frequent. 2. Prodomal stage
Drinking becomes furtive and accompanied by “blackouts”, during which the person remains conscious and relatively coherent but later cannot recall events. The individual becomes preoccupied with drinking and feels guilty about it but worries when and where he/she will have the next drink. 3. Crucial stage

This is the stage where all control are lost and when a person starts, he/she continuous until sick or stupor us. Social adjustment deteriorates, and the drinking becomes evident to family and friends. Abstinence is still possible but once he/she takes a drink, it will be the same old habit again. This is called the “crucial stage” because unless that individual seek help. He/she is in danger of becoming an alcoholic. 4. Chronic stage

Drinking is continual; the individual lives only to drink. The body has become so accustomed to alcohol that the person may suffer withdrawal symptoms about it. The person has lost all concern for physical appearance, family and friends. This is the stage of skid-row drunk.

VARIETIES OF ALCOHOLISM
The stereotype of an alcoholic constitutes only a small proportion of the individuals who have serious drinking problem. The depressed housewife who takes few drinks to get through the day and few more for a social evening, the businessman who needs a three-martini lunch to make it through the afternoon, the overworked physician who keeps a bottle in her desk drawer, and the high school student who drinks more and more to gain acceptance from peers are all their way in becoming alcoholics. These are various definition of alcoholism but most of them include the inability to abstain and/or inability to control.

THEORIES OF ALCOHOLISM
In view of the disastrous consequences, why do people continue to drink? Some evidence suggests a hereditary predisposition. If a monozygotic twin is alcoholic, there is a 60% chance his/her twin will also be alcoholic; the concordance rate for dizygotic twins is only 20%.

Further support for a genetic predisposition to alcoholism is derived from studies of children of alcoholic parents who were adopted in infancy and raised by non-alcoholic parents. By their late twenties, almost twice as many of these individuals had alcohol problems as did members of a control group of adopted children whose biological parents were not alcoholic.

Although there appears to be an inherited tendency toward alcoholism, the majority of children born with alcoholic parents do not tend to become like their parents an alcoholic. Until now, research has failed to find any physical basis for alcoholism.

Alcohol is a powerful reinforces in its ability to alleviate tension, and its immediate effect may outweigh the aversive effects that occur later. If you would have hangover after 5 to 15 seconds after you first zip of any alcoholic beverage, would you continue drinking?

The theory that an alcoholic drinks to relieve tension is an incomplete explanation, however. It may be one reason why a person begins to drink, but not for long. Careful observation of alcoholics in a specially designed hospital ward showed that anxiety decreases during 12 to 24 hours period of drinking but that alcohol actually increases levels of tension and anxiety after that point.

Clearly, the motives for drinking are not simple, and considered collectively they must be strong.

SUICIDE
In England and in some states of the United States, suicide is still a crime. The matter is of significance only when an attempted suicide fails or when one person aids or encourages another to commit suicide. Attempted suicide is generally not a crime in any given jurisdiction unless suicide itself is a crime. Assisting another’s suicide is a crime, generally a form of murder, even in some states. But in some places, suicide is not considered as a crime.

DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE
It is a popular misconception that people who speak of committing suicide do not carry out their threats. In a study of 134 suicide cases, Robins et al. (1959) found that they intended to kill themselves. There is also a report that 31 of 44 patients who committed suicide had made previous threats or actual suicidal attempts. Four out of five persons who kill themselves had attempted to do so at least once previously. Suicidal persons frequently convey their intentions through their behavior, actions or actual expressions of intent. Many leave notes to be discovered prior to the anticipated attempt. It is a grave mistake to dismiss such gesture as mere bids for attention. This may be sometimes true, but the need for affection and interest and concern is often intense and without them death maybe chosen as the solution.

FACTORS WHY TEENAGERS COMMIT SUICIDE
There are many reasons why teens commit suicide. It is usually because they have problems about the following: * Parents
It is usually the first and foremost factor why teenagers commit suicide. Parents usually fail to give their children the quality time which they usually look forward. Some parents think that supporting their sons and/or daughters financially is insufficient enough. But according to researchers, personal experiences and various interviews, it is a very wrong belief. Children do not only need the money or treasures of their parents but instead, we need their love, affection and the quality time devoted by them. * Peers

It plays an important role in molding one’s personality. They can easily be influenced by others in doing these things such as drinking alcohols, taking drugs and will eventually be led to suicide.

Conclusion

I therefore conclude that alcoholism is one of the major problems of our community. Many teenagers turn to alcohol because of some personal problems. Alcohols maybe good for our body if taken wisely but it is also dangerous and could even destroy our life. According to the several articles that the researcher had read, almost all alcoholic were left alone by their respective families and friends and so almost half of them had ended up in committing in suicide.

Suicide therefore is also one of the major problems of our community. Many tend to kill themselves because of depression and the like.
In order to lessen the teens that take alcohols and commit suicide, I firmly recommend the family to have better communication among parents and children so that they would have time to talk about things. Educating them can offer further help. Teens need to be drawn into discussion on these ethical issues so that they can understand how their choices affect their future. I would also recommend the teenagers to choose who to be friends with. Be sure to be in a company that influences you for the better and for the worst.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

I. Books
Atkinson Rita and Richard; Ernest R. Hilgard. Introduction to Psychology. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1983. Cohen Susan and Daniel; A Six Pack and A Fake I.D. New York: Dell Publishing Inc., 1986. Ephraim Rosen; Ronald E. Fox; Ian Gregory. Abnormal Psychology 2nd ed. Tokyo: S. B. Sounders Company, 1972. Vandeman George E. and Steve Mosley, Battling the Bottle Los Altos: Crisp Publication Inc., 1988. “Alcoholism” Britannica Encyclopedia, 15 edition. Vol. 1. Collier’s Encyclopedia, 3rd edition. Vol. 1. “Criminal Law and Procedure” Collier’s Encyclopedia, 2nd edition. Volume 7. Seven Weeks to Sobriety - Fight Alcoholism through Nutrition. Joan Mathews Larsen. Vol.1 page 74 II. Internet

Alcoholism: Signs/Symptoms. http://alcoholism.about.com/od/about/a/symptoms.htm Suicide: Definition. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide
Depression: Signs and Symptoms. http://www.medicinenet.com/depression/article.htm

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