Alcoholism "alcohol dependence" By: monica malagon

Guiding Question: What factors trigger and maintain alcoholism within Native American communities?

For years, the factors leading up to and maintaining a problem with alcoholism in an individual have been the basis of research for obtaining a better understanding of the issue and how it works. Experts opinions vary from stating that anything from economic standpoint to something inheritable such as your genes can trigger a drinking disorder. Although more conclusions have been drawn towards what causes alcoholism, there is more uncertainty to what maintains the condition. A clearer understanding or firm answer for the two would allow for strategy and action to better respond to the issue. For Native Americans, factors such as economic standpoint have had a lot to do with issue, due the fact that it lies as the root to many of their issues. To begin, unemployment for the Natives are among the highest. About 30% of them are living below the federal poverty line. A lack of opportunity hinders the ability to break this cycle.

How have the effects of alcoholism on Native American society and the individual evolved or time?

In modern society, being under the influence of alcohol leads to a significant increase in risk of death from car accidents, injuries, or committing severe crimes going as far as homicide and suicide. As time continues to progress and humans continue to become more technologically advanced, the effects and possibilities arising from being under the influence will vary. They may increase, or they may decrease as society finds new ways to be a safer place. Being able to measure the implications of an issue such as alcoholism is important because if we are not able to detect why it is here in the first place, at least we will be able to figure what we can do about it. Specific to Native Americans, issues such as alcoholism have contributed to a decrease in life expectancy rate. Alcoholism causes a variety of health complications among st their community ranging from high blood pressure and heart disease to cancer in different parts of the body, and even death. While the effects of alcoholism have evolved to becoming more in number, nothing is done to help the Native Americans due to the fact that the issue is not being addressed.

How can an individual's environment cause a drinking disorder?

When we think about a person's living environment, we want to consider and be able to analyze all aspects that make up the environment. These include economic standpoint, religious beliefs, culture, occupation, family, and ethnicity to name a few. After identifying all these, we want to go ahead and ask ourselves questions such as "Is his/her wage enough to support his family based on its size? " or " What's going on in their workplace? How does he or she feel there?' Asking key questions will then allow us to pin point certain problems in the affected individual's life. Measuring to what extent the problems affect the individual would be the next step. Ideally, following this analysis would lead us to being able to detect how a person's environment led to their drinking disorder. In the end, this might allow us to identify the cause for their disorder, hence addressing the first key part of our leading question. With the Native Americans, we can see that their economic standpoint was one of poverty, and even below the poverty line for so many of them. We must also consider that this was something hard to break out of due to a lack of opportunity. Culturally, Native Americans have and continue to face racism and oppression due to their culture, due to the fact that they are Native Americans. In a political lens, we can point out various regulations that have made life a lot harder for them.

Alcoholism, also known as "Alcohol Dependence", is the addiction to the or uncontrollable consumption of alcohol emerging from mental illness or disorder in regards to it. It is a chronic disease, meaning that it lasts for years or even forever. Characteristics of a drinking disorder include cravings (strong urges or thoughts compelling towards drinking), loss of control once drinking has commenced, and physical symptoms or effects on the body once alcohol consumption has suddenly been stopped. As previously stated, we have not been able yo pin point it to a specific cause, but the mental developments come once the drinking has started.

Challenges and opportunities:

When addressing the issue of alcoholism, we face many challenges and opportunities, usually depending on the individual and how to deal with it. When dealing with alcoholism, there is the option of rehabilitation centers to work towards the mental and physical recuperation of the patient. Rehabilitation may include exercises such as group therapy, to allow many individuals who have faced the same problem to come together and talk about it. As rehab may not be an affordable option for all, many community organizations look to provide services such as group therapy at no cost. Many times an individual is in complete denial that he/she could be an alcoholic. They do not consider themselves one, nor believe that they are, so they refuse to seek or receive help. One of the toughest situations is when an individual simply does not want to be helped and passive or even accepting of their situation. Finally, when the disorder is heavily internalized and covered by the individual, addressing it becomes just about impossible, because no one knows that the person struggles with this. after that, what re the chances that this person will come to the conclusion on their own that they need help and reach out?

Options and Actions: For the individual, ideally reaching out for help would be key because once they are identified, methods to help him/her overcome can be found. If the individual does not reach out, it is important to remember that everyone should be paying attention to everyone. Just because something is not physical does not mean that it is non detectable or not there. We can all work together in combating alcoholism, by reaching out to those who won't and being agents of change in finding the right resources for everyone. At the collective level, placing regulations on how much and how often a person can consume alcohol would help prevent more people from falling into this situation.

To be more specific, a system in which alcohol consumption of every individual is tracked through the use of a credit card that would measure the amount purchased or the time proximity of each transaction can limit the people's consumption and forbid them from obtaining more than they should have. This system should first be instituted among recovering alcoholics as well as current alcoholics, and then expanded to all drinkers. The problem has expanded, and continues to expand, it has reached the point where it affects all people, even non drinkers, therefore it is in the government's duty to enforce against this and protect the al people who have or can be touched by this issue.

Created By
Monica Malagon
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