Alcoholism As A Medical Illness Essay

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Alcoholism or alcohol dependence refers to “a pattern of impaired control over the use of someone who has become physiologically dependent on the drug” (Nevid & Rathus & Greene, 2014, p. 297). Members of Alcoholics Anonymous view alcoholism as a medical illness or disease. Those who believe in this “Disease Model” say that once an alcoholic takes a drink, it creates a biochemical effect on the drinker’s brain, which creates an irresistible physical craving for more. They also believe that alcoholism is a chronic and permanent condition. Although some health care providers believe that alcoholism can be cured, Alcoholics Anonymous views its active members as “recovering,” never “cured.”
Alcoholism has terrible effects on the individual. It is connected to “lower productivity, loss of jobs, and downward movement in socioeconomic status” (Nevid & Rathus & Greene, 2014, p. 297). Alcoholism also plays a role in many violent crimes such as assault, sexual abuse, unintentional injury, and car crashes. Alcohol impairs a drinker’s ability to curb impulses, risk-taking, or violent behavior as well as hampers coordination and motor ability. Chronic alcohol use can impair a drinker’s cognitive abilities, such as memory, problem solving skills, and attention span. Long-term alcohol abuse can lead to depression or suicide. These negative effects along with many other personal ones are the members’ motivation for entering into the Alcoholics Anonymous program.

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