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The Effects of Alcoholism and Family Relationships

Alcoholism has been defined by Wikipedia as compulsive, uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages to the extent of causing problems to the drinker’s health, personal relationships and even social circles. It is considered an addictive illness in the medical field, with the person suffering from it referred to as an alcoholic. In America alone, approximately 17.6million (about 8.46%) of the adult population abuse alcohol.

Alcoholism has many negative effects to the drinker as well as the people around them. It is experienced in both wealthy and poor families. From its onset, family relations start taking a negative turn. It is associated with child neglect and abuse, and violence in the family. Slowly, close family ties are broken and in comes quarrels, tempers and both verbal and physical abuse. Homes are broken and jobs lost, which could mean loss of family’s main source of income. There are also the jovial alcoholics, who laugh a lot, pay more attention to entertainment and jokes even when seriousness is required, causing emotional distress to people around them.

With the lost time also goes money that could have been put to better use. Often times we’ve heard of people drinking themselves to poverty; to extents of selling off all their property, even family homes. Lives have been lost due to alcoholism. WHO research conducted in 2011 showed that about 2.5million deaths (about 4% of all deaths) every year are as a result of alcohol abuse. These numbers are far greater than those of deaths by HIV/Aids, violence or tuberculosis, yet still, alcoholics are much more prone to these infections and violent behavior.

Treatment of alcoholics involves lots of time and resources and is a huge socio-economic burden to family and friends. Therefore, alcoholism being a global problem causing harm beyond psychological and physical health of the drinker and their family requires a global approach to solve. More attention and resources should be directed towards finding and solving the causal factors and treatment of the early stage alcoholics. This will prevent the unnecessary suffering in our families; lead to better productivity at personal level and prosperity for the global society as a whole. For the advanced stage alcoholics, there are several other treatment options including counseling, rehabs, support groups, medication and even relapse-prevention programs. Our governments should support these programs more, for we are all interdependent.

Posted by July 7th, 2016