The ingestion of alcoholic beverages for their enjoyable effects is a custom which has been around for thousands of years, and alcohol continues to be a popular drug because of its short-term effects (Coleman, Butcher & Carson, 1984). An enormous amount of damage can be attributed directly to alcohol abuse as a result of lost jobs, accidents caused by drunk drivers, and so forth (Maltzman, 2000). Alcohol also compounds other problems--an estimated 25% to 40% of hospital patients have problems caused by, or recovery delayed by alcohol abuse (Maltzman, 2000). Clinical psychologists spend about one-fourth of their time dealing with people who are suffering in part from alcohol or other substance problems (Vaillant, 1995). Although alcohol problems have been around for so long, it is only recently that these problems have begun to be associated with medical or psychological difficulties.
The first to advocate alcoholism as a disease was Benjamin Rush (1785-1843), and he even proposed that hospitals should be established to aid in the treatment of this disease (Cox, 1987). Since Rush, there have been many more definitions of alcoholism including the Statistical Abstracts (1979) account that an alcoholic is defined as ?one who is unable consistently to choose whether he shall drink or not, and if he drinks, is unable consistently to choose whether he shall stop or not. ?Alcoholics with complications? are those who have developed bodily or mental disorders through prolonged excessive drinking? (O?Brien & Chafetz, 1982, p.26). Further, Mark Keller of Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcoholism in March of 1960 stated that alcoholism is a ?chronic disease manifested by repeat implicative drinking so as to cause injury to the drinkers health or to his social or economic functioning? (O?Brien & Chafetz, 1982, p.26). The American Medical Association in 1977 reported that alcoholism is an ?illness characterized by significant impairment that is directly associated with persistent and excessive use of alcohol. Impairment may involve physiological, psychological or social dysfunction? (Maltzman, 2000, p.43). A final quote by Stanley E. Gitlow of Mount Sinai School of medicine suggests that ?alcoholism is a disease characterized by the repetitive and compulsive indigestion of any sedative drug...in such a way as to cause interference in some aspects of the subjects life, be it in the area of interpersonal relationships, job, marriage, or physical health. It is absolutely critical to appreciate that this definition does not in any way specify which sedative agent is used, the frequency of its use, or the amount ingested? (O?Brien & Chafetz, 1982, p.26). Based on the above various quotations, it can be said that there is a wide opinion on the classification and the definition of alcoholism.
WG is an alcoholic or substance abuser according to the outlines set forth in the DSM-IV. WG is a 24 year old male and...