Research Paper

Submitted By aacline
Words: 1019
Pages: 5

Amelia Cline Cline 1
20th October 2013
ENG 1020
Research Paper
Alcoholic Parents In this day and age, we see more and more of one issue: Alcoholism. Whether it is a close member of your family, friend or one who has made the headline news, alcohol has become as addictive as a drug of choice and just as uncontrollably detrimental. More frightening, we see the amount of broken homes that surround us torn apart further increasing dramatically by those addicted to drinking. Family studies have consistently demonstrated that “most children of alcoholics (COA’s) exhibit a wide range of characteristics associated with their parents’ alcoholism.” For example, compared with children of nonalcoholic’s, “COA’s are more likely to be alcoholic themselves and to have other behavioral and psychiatric problems.” Is this a fact of science? Or is this a habit that is formed after watching your parental figure(s) cope with issues? Moreover, COA’s frequently show more extreme manifestations than do non-COA’s. On the other hand, common wisdom has fostered the notion that alcoholism runs in families via habits and that it is not a sort of genetic disorder. Yet, recent scientific studies and research have barely justified this concept. First, not all children of alcoholics (COA’s) develop alcohol-use disorders or other forms of psychopathology, such as depressive disorders. The manifestation of an Cline 2 alcohol-use disorder or other psychopathology is not solely responsible for the progression of a COA’s personality. Secondly, both COA’s and children of non-alcoholics overlap in the frequency in which they engage in the normal range of alcohol use and other problematic behaviors. So, the question is what exactly defines an alcoholic? Is Alcoholism a disease? And do those suffering from this tragic disorder deserve the right to be a parental figure? According to the Mayo Clinic, Alcoholism “is a chronic and often progressive disease that includes problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect (physical dependence), or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.” Yet, Merriam-Webster says, “a medical condition in which someone frequently drinks too much alcohol and becomes unable to live a normal and healthy life.” These definitions give us a medical condition versus an actual disease, which is strange in many ways. How exactly does one view Alcoholism? To some it’s just a problem that can easily be fixed by putting down a bottle, yet to others it is so much more and is a lifetime struggle; a constant battle just feel OK from day to day hence defining it as a disease. So, what is addiction? Merriam-Webster yet again: “the quality or state of being addicted.” The American Society of Addiction Medicine tells us: “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related Cline 3 circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.” Clearly, we have some discrepancies in what exactly Alcoholism and addiction are to the medical professionals and the way our culture views addiction as well as it’s true meaning. There are many times when a friend will tell me that they are addicted to Starbucks or maybe, a certain sandwich from a café. Does this mean that they should be treated for this addiction? Should rights be taken away so that they do not further this addiction and possibly harm themselves physically and monetarily? This is where the terms and ideals of addiction begin to become skewed. If one does not truly understand what addiction is, how can they take the “medical condition” of alcoholism seriously? Another differing