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Alcoholism In America Essay

1431 words - 6 pages

Alcoholism today is viewed by some as a disease and by others as “willful misconduct”. Alcoholism is indeed a medical disease living in abnormalities in the brain. This disease not only affects the alcoholic, it also affects the people around the alcoholic. It directly affects the ones that love the alcoholic the most including spouses, children, and parents. There is treatment for this disease. The first step to recovering from this disease is admitting that there is a problem. The next step is getting help. There are treatment options that do work.

Alcoholism is a disease that causes your body to become dependent on alcohol. Alcoholism has a great deal to do with a person’s uncontrollable need for alcohol. This disease causes most to lose control of their drinking. The alcoholic may not be able to control the amount of liquor he or she consumes or when it is consumed. One may no longer care about the most important things in their life. Relationships with family and friends, careers, finances, and health almost always suffer from this disease (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2010). It is possible to have a problem with alcohol, but lack the symptoms of alcoholism. This is considered alcohol abuse. If you have either alcoholism or alcohol abuse you may not be able to quit or to slow down without help. Alcoholism was once viewed as a moral weakness or character flaw. People often thought that a person could stop drinking if he or she really wanted to. After years of research, many people now believe that this is a true disease. In 1970 NIAAA was established and a national public education effort was introduced. People of all cultures and lifestyles started realizing and accepting alcoholism as a life-threatening, chronic disease.
Alcoholism does not discriminate it attacks both young and old, rich and poor, educated or the uneducated. Most people picture an alcoholic as a homeless man, or someone down on his or her luck, but the fact is that alcoholics are doctors, lawyers, public officials, actors, singers, etc. Just about anyone can succumb to this disease (Stevens, 2010). Terry McGovern daughter of senator and presidential candidate George McGovern was an unfortunate victim of alcoholism. Terry wandered into an unlit parking lot after a night of heavy drinking at a nearby bar. Her body was found the next day in the snow. She died as a result of hypothermia while in a state of extreme intoxication (Ketcham et al., 2000, pp. 3-4). How we may wonder could such a privileged, intelligent, gentle individual fall victim to alcoholism? Many people ask questions like, why would she allow herself to get caught up in such a destructive way of life? What was wrong with her? Why didn’t someone recognize what was wrong with her and help before it was too late? Answers to questions like these are a hot topic for debate among those who believe that alcoholism is a physiological disease and those who believe that alcoholism...

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