Integrating Holistic Modalities into Native American Alcohol Treatment Essay

Integrating Holistic Modalities into Native American Alcohol Treatment Essay

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Alcoholism is identified by severe dependence or addiction and cumulative patterns of characteristic behaviors. An alcoholic’s frequent intoxication is obvious and destructive; interfering with the ability to socialize and work. These behavior patterns may lead to loss of work and relationships (Merck, 1999). Strong evidence suggests that alcoholism runs in families (Schuckit, 2009). According to a study published by Schuckit (1999) monozygotic twins were at a significantly higher risk of alcoholism if one twin was an alcoholic. Ehlers, Lind, and Wilhelmsen (2008) conducted a study to investigate the influence a single opioid receptor on alcohol dependence rates among Native Americans. Ehlers, et al. (2008) noted that people with lower risk of becoming an alcoholic were more sensitive to the effects of alcohol, while people at higher risk for alcoholism were less sensitive to the effects. The research team also discussed the firewater myth that is common among current Native American culture, which postulates a constitutional predisposition to alcoholism as a result of an innate altered response to alcohol (Ehlers, et al., 2008).
When alcohol is consumed, an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase metabolizes the alcohol to acetaldehyde at a rate of one standard drink per hour (Schuckit, 2009). After repeat exposures, tolerance may develop as a result of adaptational changes in the cells of the central nervous system (Merck, 1999). The increased tolerance may cause the patient to consume alcohol in greater quantities than before to achieve the same intoxicating effects. Alcoholics suffer dramatic long-term health damage. The most common forms of specific organ damage in alcoholics are cirrhosis, peripheral neuropathy, brain damage, a...


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...lth care to American Indians and Alaska natives. What language does your patient hurt in? (2nd ed.). (pp. 21-28). St. Paul, MN: EMCParadigm.
Schuckit, M.A. (2009). An overview of genetic influences in alcoholism. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 36 (1), S5-S14. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2008.05.012
Spector, R. E. (2009). Health and illness in the American Indian and Alaska native population. Cultural Diversity in Health and Illness (7th ed.). (pp. 204-228). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
US census bureau: El Paso county, Colorado. (2010, November 4). Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/08/08041.html
Villanueva, Michael, Tonigan, J. Scott, & Miller, William R. (2007). Response of Native American clients to three treatment methods for alcohol dependence. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 6(2), 41-48. doi: 10.1300/J233v06n02_04

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