Brendan Behan, an Irish poet and writer, stated, “One drink is too many for me and a thousand not enough.” For alcoholics, it is hard to consume one alcoholic beverage and after drinking ten beverages, they feel as though it is not enough and should continue drinking. This is a situation that occurs too often and is a real struggle to overcome. In fact, variations of Behan’s quote have been used in alcohol recovery programs worldwide. But why must some alcoholics use his quote to understand the power that alcohol has over them? There are three contributing factors that lead to alcoholism - mental health, genetic structure, and social environment.
One factor of alcoholism is the mental health issues of the alcoholic. According to Rebecca Frey and Joan Schonbeck authors of “Alcoholism,” some psychiatrists try to classify alcoholics into two categories, primary alcoholism and secondary alcoholism. Their definition of a primary alcoholic is one that has no other diagnosed psychiatric disorder. On the other hand, the secondary alcoholic has been diagnosed with one or more psychiatric disorders and uses alcohol as their medication of choice. These psychiatric disorders can include depression, schizophrenia, or post-traumatic stress disorder (84). Alcoholics dealing with mental illness who are taking prescription medication should be informed of the negative consequences to their overall well-being. Barbara Sullivan Smith in the article “Alcohol” said, “Alcohol acts as a depressant on the brain. Blood carries alcohol to the brain, where it acts on the body’s central nervous system to slow a person’s mental responses” (5). Alcohol acts as a stimulant when certain chemicals are released slowly. Alcoholics...
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...over alcohol (84). Alcoholics should be cautious of their surroundings to prevent relapses.
Alcoholism is a major disease worldwide and most alcoholics have negative consequences of drinking alcohol. While there is no clear cause of alcoholism, being educated on the factors that can lead to it can help manage the disease. Individual factors such as mental illness, genetic makeup, and social surroundings all negatively contribute to an alcoholic’s life; however, when combined, the disease can overpower and control one’s life. Alcoholism is a disease that knows no age, race, or religion. There is no cure; however, there is treatment. Many alcoholics find that the only way to overcome the disease during difficult situations is to abstain from alcohol especially during social events. It may help to frequently recall Behan’s quote that one alcoholic drink is one too many.
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