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Alcoholism is now known as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), and it happens when a person consumes so much alcohol that his or her body becomes hooked to it (Powers, Berger, Fuhrmann & Fendrich 2017). Alcoholism is caused by chemical changes in the brain that cause alcohol to become the most important thing in that person's life (Powers, Berger, Fuhrmann & Fendrich 2017). Even when they experience negative outcomes from drinking, people with AUD continue to use alcohol (Powers, Berger, Fuhrmann & Fendrich 2017). Alcohol abuse happens when a person consumes alcohol to the extent that it causes issues but is not dependent on it (Miloyan, Bulley, Brilot & Suddendorf 2017). Recently, I conducted a 3-4 hours interview with a person who has overcome a drinking problem. The conversation was very intense, with so many details and very informative. According to the classification of the type of alcoholics, I can classify the interviewee to have been under functional subtype category (Miloyan, Bulley, Brilot & Suddendorf 2017). The interviewee was a 26-year-old young man, who before developing AUD had a stable and prosperous. He still has a very supportive and kind network of friends and associates. From the interview, I learned that his family has a history of alcoholism as I found out that approximately a quarter of his relative had suffered from AUD and depression. From the very interactive and educative interview I had with him, learned the following:
Causes of AUD
As a child, the interviewee watched his father and his male relatives take alcohol often especially in the evening and during family functions. He got curious, started stealing his father’s liquor from the fridge, and replaced the stolen amount with water. This happened until he got to higher learning institutions where his older friends influenced him to continually join them in taking alcohol as they partied in nightclubs. In their parties, the interviewee and his friends would engage in very harmful drinking games where they would take a significant amount of alcohol within a short time. They would also compete in drinking and whoever drunk the most number of bottles would be awarded. The interviewee explained that at 22 years, he lost his girlfriend to Breast cancer. The demise of his lover was a tough time for him, and most of the time he would engage in binge drinking (consuming alcohol with the intention of getting drunk) to suppress the pain of losing his loved one. At the time, he experienced a lowered self-esteem, and his stress levels were very high. Basically, during his period of lose and distress, the interviewee replaced the companionship he got from his girlfriend with alcohol. The urge to drink throughout the day on a daily basis grew with time to the point where the interviewee consumed more than ten bottles of alcohol per day. He gradually became very violent while drinking; his violence resulted in his friends’ avoidance which led to him drinking alone.
Signs and symptoms of AUD
The interviewee confided in me that he often reported late to his workplace and in most cases, he was poorly dressed and shaggy with an alcohol stench, as his hygiene was no longer a priority. Even after receiving several warnings from his boss, he still could not help himself; he also went to the extreme of sneaking bottles of alcohol to work which he drunk secretly. After a one month grace period, he was laid off from his work (He served as a financial accountant) and the sacking pushed him into depression. The Interviewee explained that when he started drinking throughout the day every day, his body would shake thoroughly whenever he did not access alcohol. In the mornings, he would wake up very nauseated which would result in excessive vomiting and uncontrollable body tremors. Due to depression and lack of appetite for food, his eating habits changed drastically as he would hardly eat, so in most cases, he would have blackouts and memory lapses.
Recognition of AUD
After taking alcohol daily for almost six months, his parents found out that the interviewee had been laid off from his workplace and came to threaten to disinherit him if he did not stop drinking. The threats led to an escalated argument with his parents that ended very badly as the interviewee hit his father with a glass bottle on the head. His parents had also initially pointed out that his life had become useless as he had lost both his job and his friends and his health had deteriorated. The hard truth was too much for him to bear as he also knew that he had started having chest pains while breathing and he could see traces of blood in his stool. At this point, the interviewee realized that he had a problem and chose to stop taking alcohol.
Unsuccessful attempts at change
The interviewee put so much effort to stop taking alcohol, but he could not amend his drinking behaviors. He felt very defeated as he gave up hope of ever getting sober. The withdrawal symptoms forced him to keep drinking; he lost so much weight, developed chest pains and felt as though he could no longer breathe properly. He had intense cravings for alcohol that he could not stop drinking. However, when he managed to avoid alcohol even for half a day, his body got into unbearable pain which would push him to keep drinking despite not wanting to.
Effecting successful change
His best friend intervened and helped the Interviewer realize that he had developed an AUD; he motivated the interviewee to seek help to cease drinking. The interviewee joined an inpatient treatment for addiction which allowed him to step away from his daily routine and tackle the addiction round the clock. The rehabilitation was for a three months duration after which the interviewer succeeded in overcoming his AUD.
Changes in the Interviewee’s life
According to my observation, the interviewee looked healthy, and he told me that he is currently actively employed by the government. He also told me that he has managed to regain all the wealth he had lost due to AUD. He was also excited to tell me that he no longer takes nor craves alcohol and that he now has a new network of friends who influence him positively.
My interview Experience
The interview experience was pleasant as I got to interact very well with the interviewee who was happy to share details about his life, concerning his AUD that he had never shared with any other person. The interview was in every way similar to what I expected as the causes, symptoms and curative measures that the interviewee mentioned what I had been taught in class. I got the impression that the interviewee was very motivated by the experience he got from his AUD that he was ready to share his story with the rest of the world if only to prevent other people from sharing his bad AUD experiences.
Observations and theoretical literature Relationship
According to what we learned in class, withdrawal and protracted abstinence result in alcoholics having a negative emotional state, which push most alcohol addicts to be compulsive. Negative emotional states cause a powerful motivation state for relapse (Chen, Owens, Browne & Williams 2017). The neurobiological substances underlying the motivation to seek alcohol is viewed as a reward for the brain for the stress it goes through to mediate the negative emotional state outlined as key to alcoholism (Miloyan, Bulley, Brilot & Suddendorf 2017). As the interviewer, I prepared interview questions that assisted me to gather the information I needed. The Topic on substance addiction covered in a class closely related to my research as the interview I conducted was a person who had overcome his alcohol addiction. The interview I conducted captured the interviewee’s experience in so much detail, and I find that there is only very little difference between my observations on the field and what I studied in class. The interviewee represents the very many alcohol addicts in the world today, and it captures the intervention and treatment process very well (Chen, Owens, Browne & Williams 2017). The article ‘Theoretical Frameworks and Mechanistic Aspects of Alcohol Addiction: Alcohol Addiction as a Reward Deficit Disorder’ by George F Koob is very appropriate.
The substance abuse is very real, and it is unfortunate that most people do not realize that they are already dependent on drugs especially alcohol until it is very late (Chen, Owens, Browne & Williams 2017). The literature that we study in class is very consistent with what happens in the fields. The government together with all the relevant stakeholders should unify in fighting against substance abuse and helping the drug addicts overcome their addiction.
Chen, J. A., Owens, M. D., Browne, K. C., & Williams, E. C. (2017). Alcohol-related and mental health care for patients with unhealthy alcohol use and posttraumatic stress disorder in a National Veterans Affairs cohort. Journal Of Substance Abuse Treatment, 851-9.
Miloyan, B., Bulley, A., Brilot, B., & Suddendorf, T. (2017). The association of Social Anxiety Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and reproduction: Results from four nationally representative samples of adults in the USA. Plos ONE, 12(11), 1-10.
Powers, G., Berger, L., Fuhrmann, D., & Fendrich, M. (2017). Family history density of substance use problems among undergraduate college students: Associations with heavy alcohol use and alcohol use disorder. Addictive Behaviors, 711-6.
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