Alcoholism: A Social Problem

Pages: 6 (1272 words) Published: June 1, 2014


Alcoholism: A Social Problem

I. Introduction
Alcoholism is a major social problem that not only has an impact on the life of an alcoholic, but family members as well as society. Alcoholism is the third most common mental illness that affects more than 17 million people in the United States according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse. Alcoholism does not discriminate against age, race nor gender. II. Scope

Alcoholism is defined as a disorder characterized by the excessive consumption of and dependence on alcoholic beverages, leading to physical and psychological harm, impaired social, and vocational functioning (dictionary.com). Alcohol is the number one drug problem in the United States that has a great impact among all ages from teenagers to elderly adults. Alcoholism is known as a family disease as it does not just affect the alcoholic, but an entire family. The negative effects alcoholism has on a family is damaging, and irreversible, not to mention the financial burden that alcoholics place on their families. “The financial burden amounts to 20% of family income. One study found that once an alcoholic is in treatment that amount decreases significantly” (Salize, H., Jacke, C., Kief, S., Franz, M., & Mann, K., 2013). III. Consequences

The consequences of alcoholism are endless. A few consequences of alcoholism can be jail time, health issues, loss of family, and ultimately an untimely death. “Alcohol influences behavior in different ways depending upon the level of consumption. Higher alcohol levels is often linked to violence than lower levels of alcohol consumption” (Onciu, M., Iordache, A., & Pacala, B., 2013).

There are short and long term effects of alcoholism. The long term effects are life changing that will eventually lead to death. “The main disease and injury categories impacted by alcohol consumption are: Infectious disease

Cancer
Diabetes
Neuropsychiatric disease
Cardiovascular disease
Liver and pancreas disease
Unintentional and intentional injury
Data showed that women have a higher risk of these conditions than men that have consumed the same amount of alcohol” (Rehm, J. 2012). The long-term effects are irreversible conditions that ultimately lead to death. My son is taking the Florida drug and alcohol course online for his driving learners permit, and I was helping him write down some facts. According to this course, 129 billon dollars are spent each year for alcohol related cost. Additionally, 39% of traffic fatalities are alcohol related, and 9% of traffic accidents are alcohol related. In the United States someone dies every 32 minutes in alcohol related crashes. The numbers and percentages will continue to go up until people stop the abuse of alcohol. IV. Society & Alternative Solutions

Society accepts alcoholism in my personal opinion because alcohol is readily available. At most grocery stores alcohol is stocked on shelves, at most restaurants alcohol has its own menu, and you can find a bar on every city block. Television advertisement of alcohol products are huge hits during the super bowl. Bars are open until 3 a.m., and anyone drinking that late is a time bomb on the roadways. Driving under the influence have hefty fines at which the State benefits from by requiring one to attend educational classes and counseling that cost additional money, all which is State regulated and most of the time non-beneficial to the individual. This to me would seem as if society accepts alcoholism. I have yet found an alternative solution to alcoholism other than one accepting reality, and learning a different way to deal with problems rather than turning to alcohol. I agree with Arthur Nikelly, as he states that “seeking the causes of alcohol abuse within the person diverts attention from the invisible economic, political, and social parameters that promote the lucrative industry of alcohol production and consumption” Nikelly, 1994). He...
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