An explanation of alcholism


Zachary Royka, Staff Reporter

There is a lot of confusion and unanswered questions about alcoholism and how exactly it affects someone struggling with it.

Alcoholism is like any other substance addiction affecting the reward, memory, and motivation systems of the brain. The addiction leads to unsteady physical and physiological behaviors in the individual affected, in turn, defining it as a disease.

Many people believe that alcoholism is not a disease due to the fact that it is the individual’s choice to drink, and like any other addictions it can be stopped, this however proves to be untrue in society.

Alcoholism for many years has been recognized as a chronic and progressive disease which disrupts the lives of users and those around them. Scientists and medical professionals of the Betty Ford Foundation have said alcoholism is a mental obsession which causes the person to be compelled to drink.

“Self-help is the road to recovery, but no person would choose a life of such misery and pain consciously,” said an NHS faculty member to The Greyhound News.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Many individuals who suffer from this disease seek help; although it does not always work in the long run. Relapse happens more than 60% of the time that a user goes through the steps to overcome this disease and this is not their fault.

People that suffer from alcoholism were regular people at one time in their life. Getting back to that healthy state of mind is something they long for, even though it is not easy and dealing with it creates more stress.

“My ill relative frequently absented herself from family functions or close gatherings. She was often ‘sick’ during events (or as we all knew, she chose to stay home and drink rather than celebrate or mourn with us). There was definitely a lack of trust. Family members did not allow their children to be alone with this person, and we never depended on her for anything,” said the faculty member about her own alcoholic loved one.

The ones who struggle never want to choose the addiction over the love and affection from the ones they love. Family is always what a human wants and needs. Choosing an addiction and disease over them is an irrational decision that they cannot control, which supports the argument that this affliction is a disease and not a choice.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, said, “First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you. I did choose that first drink. And the second, but at some point beyond my control, a line was crossed and my rational thought was hijacked. I have a chronic disease of the brain that controls reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.”

It’s like a switch goes off after the first drink. The disease takes over and fully captivates all of the alcoholic’s control. This wouldn’t be a choice of someone in any right state of mind. This is a disease, not a decision.

The hurdles to be overcome in treating alcoholism leave true marks on the individual suffering from it. Overcoming this disease comes with many chances of relapse and failure. Alcohol is socially acceptable and not easily avoided.

Backyard barbeques, restaurants, social gatherings and even sometimes work and office parties are all places where a recovering addict might run into the chance of alcohol being in their face. These instances make it very hard for someone struggling with the disease.

According to Talbott College alcoholism statistic study there are 15 million U.S. citizens that struggle with alcohol abuse; of those, 76 percent either relapse after treatment or never get the treatment they need.

“Most recovering alcoholics cannot be successful without rehab or a 12 step program and intensive therapy. There is not a cure for alcoholism, only abstinencne. There is an AA saying – One drink is too many, and a thousand is not enough. Alcoholism detox is also extremely dangerous and people have died from trying to undergo it without medical intervention” said the teacher to The GreyHound News.

Alcoholism is a disease that affects the greater majority of people in our country. It is not curable, and many fight every day to regain the lives they once had before alcohol took over.

Alcoholism is not a joke. It goes deeper than what normal people see on the surface. This disease takes lives away every single day. The mind of an alcoholic is different. There are certain triggers or reasons why they drink. Most of the time, it is out of their control. No person would ever choose to live in such misery. The disease takes over the mind and it is out of control for the one suffering.

The anonymous Greyhound News responder stated that “A tolerance and understanding of addiction at the community level may provide some much needed courage to an addict in hiding.”

Is is a sad way of life, but having the knowledge and will power to help change the addicts decisions can make all the difference.

This is a Disease, not a Decision!