An Analysis on Alcoholism and Early Intervention: Systemic Sources of Substance Abuse Essay

An Analysis on Alcoholism and Early Intervention: Systemic Sources of Substance Abuse

Literature review provides secondary data to analyze in reference to the earliest indicators and triggers to alcoholic behavior.  Further literature review and empirical study should be conducted, as it will prove beneficial in gauging a possible correlation in early childhood physical abuse in a home or peer environment to later adolescent substance abuse behaviors.  Understanding the triggers and indicators as a reliable set of variables to prevent alcoholism in young people is very important to helping professionals.  There is much data available on the presentations and problems inherent in the full-blown adult alcoholic, but little has been written and researched on alcoholic prevention in vulnerable populations.  To be clear, there does exists programs that educate adolescents and college-aged students to the dangers of alcohol, but for helping professionals more must be done.  If a diagnostic tool to help prevent alcoholism in teens and young adults, who fulfill certain criteria, can be implemented, a new program and policy may emerge that can actually prevent young people from turning to alcoholic lifestyles before it is too late.

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For this reason more empirical research should be undertaken to find correlations between abusive, alcoholic upbringing and later indicative behaviors that would precede alcoholism.  This type of research should not be confused with the claims of a genetic predisposition to alcoholism.  Crowley and Stallings (2006) conclude that parents who abuse alcohol will most likely pass their psychological illness, genetically or as an environmental risk factor, to their offspring. The authors also look into the possibilities of transmission of alcohol abuse among siblings in the family.  For these purposes, the environmental risk factor only should be further studied.  Instead, looking strictly at environmental triggers and current behaviors should yield a more easily categorized and less criticized tool for interpreting risk dynamics that a young person may be in danger for future alcoholism.

Guo, et al. (2000) present a study that shows that patterns of alcohol drinking usually start in middle school and are usually influenced at home and at school.  Therefore both the home and peer environment coincide with an alcoholic attitude of accepting drinking as part of the natural progression of young life.  What this study misses, however, is how abuse in the home may be correlated with bullying in a peer environment to cause a further risk of alcohol acceptance and abuse.   Spatz, and Hiller-Sturmhofel (2001) postulate that parents who abuse alcohol mostly likely abuse their children at home. The study also shows various reasons on why parents abuse their children, such as their socio-economic status, marital or relationship stress and parental history of abuse. Moreover, victims of physical and verbal maltreatment during their childhood will most likely be an alcohol abuser in their young adulthood.  In realizing that maltreatment in the home is a contributing factor, it can be hypothesized that maltreatment in a peer environment may also be a trigger to youth.

College-aged students, as well may experience various issues in their transition to higher education and the environmental stressors that are involved.  Knight, et al (2002) reveals that there is a prevalent problem of alcohol disorders among college students in the country. The study also looks into possible psychological, sociological, and economical issues related to the reasons students become involved in binge drinking. The rate of alcohol abuse among college students has reached an alarming state and contributes to other violent activities and substance abuse, as well.  This type of psychological, sociological, and economical analysis is valuable and comparable to other studies that have cited reasons that parents abuse their children.  Tying in all these factors to create a risk-based model of prevention is very necessary to stop the cycle of violence in whatever capacity it is shown (physical or substance abuse or both).

John Hopkins University Hospital (1984) has put together a quiz in which adults can gauge their alcoholic tendencies.  This compilation is used by clinical psychologists to determine the phase or stage of alcoholism a person is in. It is very important to know the stage of the disorder to be able to determine the proper treatment for it. Moreover, the compilation is now used on various treatment centers and universities on handling cases of alcohol abuse.  If a similar preventative tool can be compiled to assist young people, the quality of life for many would be much improved.

In closing, it is time that alcoholism was viewed as a preventable disease and measures taken to ensure that adolescents and young adults are equipped with the tools to combat it’s onset.  Further study is needed on this issue and helping professionals and others concerned with the disease should help in the promotion if this effort.  If all risk factors can be compiled by current experts and applied to the people, who are most at risk, the individual, the community, and the world would be much improved with this system.

Works Cited

Crowley, Thomas, and Michael Stallings. “The Family Transmission of Adolescent Alcohol Abuse and Dependence.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol 67 (2006): 657.

Guo, Jie, et al. (2000). “Developmental Pathways to Alcohol Abuse and Dependence in Young Adulthood.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol 61 (2000): 799.

John Hopkins University Hospital. “Are You an Alcoholic?” New York State Bar Journal 56 (1984): 18.

Knight, John, et al. “Alcohol Abuse and Dependence among U.S. College Students.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol 63 (2002): 263.

Widom, Cathy Spatz, and Susanne Hiller-Sturmhofel. (2001). “Alcohol Abuse as a Risk Factor and Consequence of Child Abuse.” Alcohol Research & Health, 25 (2001): 52