Alcoholism is a disorder developed from constant consumption of alcohol. It is associated with a pathologic continuous consumption of alcohol. Some people view alcoholism as being a disease or an illness since this condition shares similar characteristic. Like other disease conditions, alcoholism interrupts the normal functioning of an individual and if not checked could result in weakening of the individual. It is not only a problem to the individual’s life but also a problem to the society. This paper talks about alcoholism in the United States, its impact on the society, some of the accepted policies on alcoholism and possible treatment for the condition.
The following are known facts about alcoholism. It is a chronic condition that if not well taken care off or treated could last an individual’s lifetime. It is also progressive in nature and would move from worse to worst with no chances of getting better. Continuous use of alcohol results into loss of control in alcoholics, once they start drinking they cannot control themselves on whether to continue drinking or stop. Lastly, alcoholism is an incurable condition, after one has stopped taking alcohol they could get back to their former drinking patterns.
Majority of the people in our societies have once in a while taken alcohol. However, we do not refer to everyone as to being an alcoholic. There are those individuals who only take alcohol once in a while maybe during parties and celebrations. Such individuals are known to be social drinkers and experience minimum to no side effects (Siglow et al. 2013). Other people take alcohol but experience severe side effects, such individuals are referred to as problem drinkers. Individuals which are fully dependent on alcohol during their day to day activities fall in the category of alcoholics, who now experience alcoholism. It is approximated that there exists one alcoholic among a group of ten drinkers in the United States (Siglow et al. 2013).[“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
Impacts of Alcoholism on the US society
Alcoholism has varying effects to the alcoholic, family members and the society. These effects can be grouped into broad categories of social, financial and health problems. Health problems are faced by the alcoholic and closer members of the family while social and financial problems are experienced mainly by members of the society.
Alcoholism is at position three among the preventable causes of death in the United States. Liver cirrhosis, which results from alcoholism, accounts for nearly half of these deaths (Hadland et al., 2015). Accidents resulting from driving under the influence of alcohol are another contributor of the number of deaths attributed to alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Driving under the influence of alcohol contributes to about 40 % of all traffic accident deaths (Wilcox, 2015).
Substance abuse among the youth in the United States is a big problem. Majority of substance abuse among youths is attributed to alcoholism of one or both of their parents. For instance, about 33 % of the 8th graders use alcohol, 19 % smoke cigarettes and 16 % abuse bhang (Waldron et al., 2014). Of the 2.4 teen arrests in the United States 1.9 million were linked to substance abuse (Wilcox, 2015). Not only do these youth engage in substance abuse but also take part in other vices such unprotected teen sex, violence and crimes.
Through a study that involved joint analysis of effects of alcoholism and parent separation on early offspring substance abuse, it was both the two factors that contributed to early onset of substance abuse. Parental alcoholism could have led to the fact that these parents could have compromised their parenting behavior or child bearing criteria. Some cases of parents introducing kids to alcohol or kids trying to emulate them were also present (Waldron et al., 2014).
Alcoholism leads to obesity among alcoholics. Obesity in the United States has been on the rise for the previous years. This resulted into hypotheses being drawn linking the etiology of obesity to alcoholism and other substance abuse. Before then, the increase in obesity was thought to be a general increase in weight across populations until when it was observed that the increase in weight could be linked to some vulnerable groups. From the study it was found out that alcoholics depicted an increase in body weight from 2001-2002. 1991-1992 was the year in which significant association between alcoholism and obesity was drawn (Grucza et al., 2010).
Further, it has been established that alcoholism leads to increase in domestic violence and other social crimes in the society. Alcohol is among the leading abused substances in the United States and has been closely associated with cases of family violence and other social crimes. It is estimated that nearly 3 million alcohol-related crimes occur each year. Offenders of these crimes are often found to having been drinking or had taken alcohol previously. However, in most of alcohol-related crimes it has been found that the victim and the offender know each other. Rarely do these crimes extend to strangers (Wilcox, 2015).
From studies it has been found out that places with higher alcohol establishment density have a higher likelihood of having higher crime rates. Places that had more alcohol establishments were found to have more cases of rape, assault and robbery among other crimes than places with less alcohol establishments. An increase in alcohol establishments increases the availability of alcohol which increases alcohol consumption. Increased alcohol consumption consequently results into an increase in alcohol-related violence and crime (Toomey et al., 2012).
Accepted Policies and Practices on Alcoholism
Alcoholism has been the foremost drug of abuse for some time in the United States. It affects all age groups and brackets of the society be it the young people, the old or even the middle-aged. Impacts of alcoholism have been found to also affect majority members of the society and to a much more extend the development of a country (Burke et al. 1998). Due to this, the United States of America has policies that help control alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Policies on alcohol consumption dates back to 1933 when states were given the mandate to set their own alcohol laws. Most states will then set the minimum drinking age for alcohol at 21 years. In 1960 pressure from student activists forced some of this states to reduce age to 20, 19 and 18 in some other states. Currently, all the 50 states have 21 years as the minimum drinking age.
Universities and colleges are taking an active part in the fight against alcoholism in the United States. Most university policies mainly prohibit possession and consumption of alcohol by students below the minimum drinking age. Universities such as Dartmouth College and UW-Madison have banned alcohol consumption among underage students for various reasons one being to promote abstinence from alcohol consumption (The Stanford Daily, 2016).
The minimum legal drinking age policy is not only applicable in colleges and universities but in all other places. Increasing minimum drinking age has been found to reduce alcohol consumption among individuals. It also helps reduce teenage related calamites such as accidents from drunk teenage driving. For instance, increasing the minimum legal drinking age from 18-20 in 1984 resulted into a decrease in teenage involvement in road accidents.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Taxation by the government has always implicated on prices of commodities. Alcohol consumption and taxation by the government has always depicted similarities similar to those expected with other commodities. However, this relationship is strong in younger drinkers than the old ones. Increase in taxation, which consequently increases alcohol prices, results into decrease in consumption of alcohol. Heavy drinkers have been found to react to this by shifting from drinking bars to their homes given the fact that drinking in a bar is more expensive at the same time risky than at home. It is also apparent that increases in prices result into decreased alcohol-related problems (Treno et al., 2014).
Alcohol distribution and hours and days of sale are other avenues through which the government limits alcohol use among its citizens. Reduced hours of alcohol consumption limit one to the amount of alcohol he or she consumes. It has also been found that increased hours of alcohol consumption were associated with increased violence and crimes (Treno et al., 2014)
National prohibition requires that all states should come up with alcohol control systems. Suggestions for these systems include monopolizing alcohol sale or continued prohibition. Monopolization would involve monopolizing alcohol sales either fully or partially. This would be a borrowed idea from other countries such as India, Norway and some states within the US. This is aimed at easier control of alcohol products in circulation and operational times of places that sell alcohol (Treno et al., 2014).
Current and Future Treatment
A lot of debate has been going on the best ways of dealing with alcoholism. It has come to notice that majority of inmates in the United States prisons require treatment on drug abuse and alcoholism yet a few receive it. This has resulted into approximately 95 % of this inmates going back to taking alcohol and drug abuse after coming from prison. Also about 70 % of these drug abusers end up committing a new drug-related crime (Wilcox, 2015). Treatment of alcoholism but not punishments of crimes and offences related to alcoholism are the best solution.
Treatment of alcoholism involves both behavioral treatment and medication. Behavioral treatment involves counseling with the aim of changing the irresponsible drinking behavior. Behavioral treatments involve motivational behavior therapy, rehabilitation and brief interventions. Medication for alcoholism on the other hand involves detoxification phase followed with use of drugs such as benzodiapines and disulfiaarm to reduce anxiety and prevent delirium and seizures. Naltrexone could even be given while the individual still does alcohol as it helps reduce alcohol-craving.[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
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