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Introduction to Psychology II

 

Ina M. Kamaityt?, Professor

 

12 December, 2001

 

Alcoholism

 

Thousands of years ago people began to make alcohol for practical

reasons. Wine making began with the early Egyptians who found that grape

juise spoiled quickly, but that fermented juise or wine would keep

without spoiling. They also had problems with impure water, and the

Egyptians noticed that people did not sick ower wine, but they often

became ill when they drank inpure water. In later years, wine became

inportant to the Roman Catholic Church throughout Europe because wine

was used to celebrate the sacrament of the Mass. By the 1300’s, beer

industry had emerged in Central Europe. At this time, wine was also

continuing to grow in popularity; many brands named for the places in

which they originated. At first alcohol was desined for the practical

reasons, its use changed. People began to experiment with different

types of alcohol. Alcohol became an integral part of European culture.

We need to understand the harmful effects of alcohol, because it can be

fatal.

 

"Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial,

and environmental factors influencing its development and

manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is

characterized by continuous or periodic: impaired control over drinking,

preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse

consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial." (

HYPERLINK "http://www.ncadd.org/facts/defalc.html"

http://www.ncadd.org/facts/defalc.html ).

 

Alcoholism is sometimes characterized by the following elements:

 

1. Craving: A strong need, or compulsion, to drink.

 

2. Loss of control: The frequent inability to stop drinking once a

person has begun.

 

3. Physical dependence: The occurrence of withdrawal symptoms, such as

nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety, when alcohol use is stopped

after a period of heavy drinking. These symptoms are usually relieved by

drinking alcohol or by taking another sedative drug.

 

4. Tolerance: The need for increasing amounts of alcohol in order to get

"high.

 

"Most of the psychologists consider alcoholism as a progressive disease,

when naturally progressing has 3 stages that go one after another. The

transition between those stages is smooth and unnoticeable for a person.

That disease never appears suddenly. You can suddenly get flue,

appendicitis, gonorrhea, or any other disease, but not alcoholism.

 

First stage is always introduced by pleasant regular “cultural” drinking

that lasts from 1 to 10 years. People predisposed to alcoholism cover

that stage very quickly, sometimes in a several months. So a popular

concept of “cultural” drinking is far not perfect. All alcoholics began

“culturally”. Every person consuming regularly alcohol is in a risk of

becoming an alcoholic.

 

Only total sobriety (non-drinking) can stop this disease. But even if a

person after giving up drinking gets in use of alcohol just sometimes,

the disease will steadily progress. Any relapse not just throws the

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