Position Paper-Alcoholism

3290 Words14 Pages
1. Identification of the issue.
Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive and potentially fatal disorder which leads to physical and psychological harm, and impaired social and vocational functioning. It is characterized by tolerance, physical dependence and/or pathological organ changes, all of which are the direct/indirect consequence of the alcohol ingested (Light 5). Alcoholism, also known as "alcohol dependence," can be recognized by four obvious symptoms.
The four symptoms of alcoholism are loss of control, craving, physical dependence, and tolerance. Loss of control, which is the inability of an individual to limit his or her alcohol consumption, usually occurs when a person has experienced or entered an emotional segment of his or her
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Alcoholism has been a major problem in society for a number of years. In fact, alcoholism should be compared to a virus. This is because a person can never be completely cured from alcoholism; they can only fight the battle, day to day, hoping not to relapse. When it comes to the etiologies, or causes, of alcoholism, there seems to be three distinct origins of alcoholism. These causes are genetic factors, dependency caused by brain chemical imbalances after long-term use, and social and emotional factors.
Genetic factors play a major and very pertinent role in alcoholism. In actuality, genetic factors may account for half of the total risk for alcoholism. Alcoholism is such a complex disorder that a single gene is not likely to be the main culprit. However, researchers are investigating a number of inherited traits that make some individuals more susceptible to alcoholism than others. Some of the examples are listed below:
• One 2001 study found that the amygdala is smaller in subjects with family histories of alcoholism, suggesting that inherited differences in brain structure may affect risk. The amygdala is an area of the brain thought to play a role in the emotional aspects of craving, which can lead to addiction (Asbury & Ketcham 121).
• Because alcohol is not found easily in nature, genetic mechanisms to protect against excessive consumption may not have evolved in humans as they frequently have for protection against natural
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