Women And Alcohol Essay

3726 words - 15 pages

Women and AlcoholIn this assignment I had been given the task to choose a client group and a drug, or group of drugs, which may be misused by that group. Then review the available evidence relating to prevalence and critically analyse the treatment options available along with their theoretical underpinnings, and finally debate the issues from a harm reduction standpoint. Thus, I have chosen 'Women' as my client group and 'Alcohol' as the drug which may be misused by that group.So, broadly speaking, what is 'alcohol abuse'? And what is 'alcoholism'? There is a slight difference between the two terminologies. A fairly recent publication provided by Athealth.com, a leading provider of mental health information, defines 'alcohol abuse' as 'a pattern of drinking in which a person uses alcohol in a way that is harmful to themselves or others.'Alcoholism or alcohol dependence is more seen as a disease. The World Health Organisation's definition of 'Alcoholism' (1952) read in part:'Alcoholics are those excessive drinkers where dependence on alcohol has attained such a degree that it shows a noticeable mental disturbance or an interference with their bodily and mental health.'Similarly, Keller's definition (1960) in Faugier and Kennedy (1989 p.56) also refers to the disease model:'Alcoholism is a chronic disease manifested by repeated implicative drinking so as to cause injury to the drinker's health or to his social or economic functioning.'The weaknesses of such definitions are that they avoid the exact explanation of the word and concentrate on the effects of the condition. The most common features of alcoholism are described by Gossop (2000 p.78) as: (i) an increased physiological tolerance to alcohol; (ii) withdrawal symptoms and craving when alcohol is not available (iii) inability to drink moderately.It is generally agreed that in our society there exists a double standard in respect of attitudes towards male and female alcoholics and indeed towards the mere consumption of alcohol by the two sexes. Sclare (1970 p.75) commenting on this says:"Both moderate and excessive drinking on the part of the female have until very recently been regarded as unladylike, even reprehensible, and in general as being less acceptable and more tinged with immorality than masculine drinking."In recent years, however, there has been a positive change towards the acceptability of female alcoholics. In relation to the level of alcohol consumption by women, the first thing to say is that men's alcohol consumption in the UK far outweighs that of women but according to recent researches and official surveys women's drinking is on the increase, whereas men's drinking is fairly stable.Kent in Collins (1990 p.97) providing evidence of women drinking considerably more in Britain than they have in previous generations states:"In England and Wales , there was no significant change in male drinkers' consumption between 1978 and 1987, whereas women's drinking increased...

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