Alcohol and Drug Abuse - Paper Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1879 Words
Date:  2022-09-28


Alcohol is one of the most commonly used, and abused, drugs in America today. It is legal for adult American citizens to buy and consume alcohol, and hence consumption has gone up just like with any other drug. Alcohol is also readily available in almost every retail outlet all over the country, and thus it is easily accessible to its users. Studies have indicated that the rate of alcoholism, which is also referred to as alcohol use disorder, went up by about 49% in the first ten years of the 2000s (Ingram, 2018). It is a shocking statistic that the rate of alcohol abuse increased by such a high percentage within a decade. Approximately one in eight American adults (12.7% of the country's population) meets the diagnostic characteristics of alcohol use disorder(Ingram, 2018). Alcoholism poses a critical health hazard since its cornucopia of ailments, such as hypertension, liver cirrhosis, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and pancreatitis are significant drivers of mortality. The illness and mortality caused by alcohol call for measures to address this epidemic.

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Patterns of Behavior

The character displays a full spectrum of the signs of an alcoholic from the beginning of the video. Ryan is a hard-core alcoholic at only 28-year-old (Recovery Navigation, 2016). Alcoholism is a chronic disorder marked by various alcoholic behaviors alongside other specific genetic traits.

One of the most evident habits of alcoholics is compulsive drinking, which increases the likelihood that one may fall into addiction. Heavy usage of alcohol leads to physical and psychological dependence and possible addiction. Ryan is an alcoholic since he has an alcohol use disorder. He is already addicted to the substance since he needs to drink almost all the time. His grandfather drives him to the store to buy alcohol so that he might feed his burning urge to drink. This heavy level of drinking is critical since it has reached to a point where a lack of the drug can be life-threatening to Ryan. He drinks about three pints of vodka each day since he is always drinking, or feeling the urge, every minute he is awake (Recovery Navigation, 2016).

Alcoholics also display a disregard for personal safety since they are more concerned about experiencing alcohol stimulation. The subject had a serious hip injury which had occurred during a drunken episode where it healed poorly, as the doctor who was conducting the tests discovered. He has also reached a point where he does not care what the alcohol does to him as long as he gets the drink (Recovery Navigation, 2016).

Another common behaviour with alcoholics is mental and physical anguish that is brought about by withdrawals. The alcohol dependence has built up after prolonged usage, and Ryan has become an addict. The body goes into shock when it lacks the substance that it is used to receiving. People might display anxiety and fidgetiness since the body is craving a drink. Ryan feels cold, sweaty, dizzy, and nauseous. He talks animatedly to his grandfather saying that he needs a drink to save his life, and stop him from having a seizure (Recovery Navigation, 2016). Ryan says that he is scared and his body movements show signs of uncontrollable shaking because his brain is used to functioning under the influence of alcohol. Addicts have poor judgement and are always looking for a way to get a fix of their preferred drug. Ryan also displays this behaviour because he is pushing his grandfather to drive quickly to the store so that he can get his drink. Upon getting the drink, he says that he is about to stop feeling like the world is ending, and everything is horrible. Drinking in the car shows poor judgement, and he genuinely believes that alcohol is helping him to feel better when it is detrimental to his health.

The children of alcoholics are four times as likely to become addicts in future (Recovery Navigation, 2016). Alcoholic parents are usually violent and careless around the house. When Ryan was ten years old, his parents separated, and he began his downward spiral with drugs and alcohol as a teenager. The death of his father pushed him into becoming a full-blown alcoholic. Children from dysfunctional families tend to get into drugs to escape the situation at home.

Ryan knows that the alcoholism has reached a critical point since he is experiencing the conditions. He understands that he is in a serious predicament because he is showing some signs such as vomiting regularly, sometimes with blood included. Ryan talks about his dependence by saying that people do not understand how much better the alcohol makes him feel. The subject knows he is addicted and says that he will do anything to get his preferred bottle of vodka. Ryan even agrees to undergo a battery of tests to determine the extent of the damage caused by alcohol in his body (Recovery Navigation, 2016).

How Is the Problem Affecting the People Around the Character?

Alcohol has a far-reaching impact, and hence it does not affect the addict alone. It affects the people around the person, such as friends and family. The poor quality of life, embarrassment, and lack of communica6tion contribute to the strained relationships between addicts and their families.

His grandfather has stood by him and has been driving him to the store to get his daily fix since he does not want to see him going through the anguish of withdrawal (Recovery Navigation, 2016). However, Ryan also gets his grandfather mad at times since he does not always do what is required. Things like drinking in the car make his grandfather angry, but he cannot help himself since he needs to drink as soon as he leaves the store.

Ryan's mother confesses that she is pretty terrified of the whole situation surrounding his son. She is fearful that Ryan's tests will reveal extensive damage that has occurred over the years of alcohol abuse. Ryan's mother does not approve of his grandfather's style of being an accomplice in the delivery of alcohol. She considers him to be gradually killing Ryan while thinking that he is helping (Recovery Navigation, 2016). They sometimes quarrel over this issue, and it is clear that Ryan has caused a rift in the family due to his alcoholism.

Ryan's ex-girlfriend is also concerned about his well-being. She has had to understand how to deal with alcoholics like Ryan since she knows that the lack of alcohol can kill him. One effect of the people around an alcoholic is that they have to learn how to cope with the condition. She has become like a nurse, regularly checking his symptoms, such as quivering hands, to determine how best to offer assistance. Ryan's ex-girlfriend openly displays his contempt for his grandfather and his methods, and it is clear that there is a lot of underlying tension in the family due to the alcoholic (Recovery Navigation, 2016).

Theories Analysis

Disease Theory of Alcoholism

Addicts were shunned by society, and viewed as morally wrong, in the late 19th century to the early 20th century. This type of one-sided reasoning led physicians of the time to study the phenomenon and try to change people's perceptions that always resulted in punishing the addicts.


Alcoholism began to be considered as a medical disease following the publications of E. M. Jellinek, a noted Yale Medical School psychiatrist. He is often referred to as the father of the disease theory of alcoholism ("Disease Theory of Alcoholism," 2018).


Jellinek opined that people do not become alcoholics willingly, or overnight. It is a process that occurs over time, and at the end, a victim is helpless to the effects of the drug. The process takes place over several stages:

The first is the pre-alcoholic stage which includes casual drinking or drinking with friends at social events. Drinkers begin to gain a taste for alcohol, drink for enjoyment, and build up a tolerance ("Disease Theory of Alcoholism," 2018).

The second is the prodromal phase, which is considered as the early stage of alcoholism ("Disease Theory of Alcoholism," 2018). Drinkers begin to blackout, and they develop a tendency of drinking outside social settings. The tolerance for alcohol begins to grow at this phase.

The third is the crucial phase, which is characterized by a drinking habit that begins to spiral out of control ("Disease Theory of Alcoholism," 2018). People start to drink at inappropriate times, and problems begin to emerge in their relationships and daily lives due to the drinking. The body and brain are also affected significantly at this phase.

The fourth is the chronic stage which is characterized by daily drinking. The main focus of everyday life becomes drinking ("Disease Theory of Alcoholism," 2018). Cravings, withdrawal symptoms, health problems, and mental issues become severe in this phase.

Ryan went from drinking socially as a teenager to heavy indulgence, and finally to a stage where he was fully dependent on alcohol for his daily functioning (Recovery Navigation, 2016). He has undergone all the four stages since he has also led to the souring of relationships in his family. The strain is caused by two people taking different approaches to solving the issue.

Motivation for Change

The biggest motivator for change is the deteriorating health condition of the victim. Alcoholism occurs gradually, and the final phase includes many physiological and psychological diseases. Addicts at this stage might be willing to take the initiative to change since the effects of the ailments can be severe.

The Theory of Addiction Being Hereditary or Genetic

The disease model does not explain why some people become addicted to alcohol while others can be alcoholic and still maintain a normal life. Scientists look at addiction genes to identify the biological differences that may make individuals less or more vulnerable to addiction (Melemis, 2018).


People with certain genes may find it more difficult to quit once they start, or experience more severe consequences of withdrawal if they try to quit. Studies have shown that the children of addicts are eight times more likely to follow suit by developing an addiction in future (Melemis, 2018). The first degree relatives, such as parents, have a significant bearing on their children's chances of developing an addiction. Ryan's father was an alcoholic, and this could explain why he followed the pattern and developed the condition at the young age of 24 years. People have a genetic predisposition to addiction because it is an evolutionary advantage. When animals eat, and like a certain food, they associate it with pleasure and always return to consume it in future (Melemis, 2018). The potential for addiction is hardwired in people

Motivation for Change

When addiction runs in the family, the greatest motivator for change is to understand the background and history. Talking about addiction can help to identify cases that have been there before in the family. Parents can also take the initiative if they know that a child is prone to addiction due to family history.

If you were going to work with (counsel, etc.) this person, what cultural issues would you need to consider? How would you manage the issues?

Culture refers to the beliefs, practises, and values that exist, or govern a particular society. It also includes the way that people communicate, express themselves, and interact with each other (World Health Organization, 2013). The cultural context plays a major role in all aspects of an individ...

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