The Disease of Alcoholism Essay

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The Disease of Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a disease of epidemic proportions, affecting 9.3 to 10 million Americans, and many professionals believe the figures are closer to 20 million (Weddle and Wishon). Alcoholism is a "physiological or physiological dependence on alcohol characterized by the alcoholic’s inability to control the start or termination of his drinking"(Encyclopedia Britannica 210). It consists of frequent and recurring consumption of alcohol to an extent that causes continued harm to the drinker and leads to medical and social problems. Alcoholism, however, does not merely cause harm to the alcoholic, but to the entire family as well, affecting an estimated 28 million children in this country (Weddle and
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Withdrawal symptoms. When the alcoholic stops drinking he may suffer nausea and vomiting, headaches and the
"shakes." He is usually is very irritable. He may even hallucinate. This is known as the DT’s (delirium tremens).
Personality change. The alcoholic seems to have a Jekyll and Hyde personality. When he drinks, he is very different from the way he is when he is not drinking.
Blackouts. These are a form of amnesia. The alcoholic really does not remember what has happened. Blackouts can even occur when the alcoholic isn’t drunk, lasting a few minutes or entire days.
At first, we may think alcoholism is called a family disease because it seems to run in families. Most Al-Anon members are spouses of alcoholics. But they are often the children of alcoholics as well. They may have brothers or sisters who have the disease or are married to alcoholics. Doctors have observed that there are often more than one alcoholic in a family; for this reason they have said that there is a family tendency to develop alcoholism, just as there is a family tendency to develop diabetes ( Alateen 6).
According to a recent study, if you are raised in an alcoholic home you have one chance in four of growing up to marry an alcoholic (Porterfield 120). The reasons are simple. Children of alcoholics learned to tolerate behavior that other people consider abnormal or bizarre;

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