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Alcoholism or excessive dependence on alcohol is a condition characterized by compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic drinks despite the negative effects it manifestations on the drinker's health , marriage and social standing. In simple terms it is a disease condition due to excessive use of alcoholic beverages.
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To diagnose this condition, there are three key issues to look out for in an individual to qualify them as alcoholics, Silverstein (1990). These include physiological problems such as blackouts, behavioral problems as well as psychological problems such as an excessive urge to drink.
Alcoholism has a far-reaching effect on the family fabric as has been observed for many years. Each member of the family could be affected differently or at different levels. An example is that of a fetus in an alcoholic mother which could be physically affected or even disabled. For young children, parental alcoholism has many implications in their lives. Some could have low self-esteem, lonely or even fear of being abandoned. This could in turn lead to chronic depression in children which might manifest itself for a very long time in the child's life. It could even affect their performance at school and lead them to dropping out of school.
Adult children of drunkards have also been seen to be aggressive and with a lot of impulsive behavior. This is because no one was there to give them a proper parental care and guidance as is the norm. They then end up in various socially detrimental activities such as crime and violence as well as drug abuse. Sexual abuse is also rife in such families and therefore it is not uncommon to hear cases of rape and incest in these families.
There is also a great negative impact on couples suffering from alcoholism. Spouses can get exhausted as most duties are left to them to attend to. There could also be a feeling of self pity to the outside society and could lead to people avoiding social contact as well as having an inferiority complex. There could also be cases of infidelity as couples could get so lonely inside the marriage.
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Lastly, the alcoholism behavior can of course lead to health problems to the drinker. This would therefore require a lot of resources to be channeled towards treating them and therefore cause a strain in the family's budget.
It is therefore true that alcoholism has a huge negative impact on the family from the unborn to grown adults. It is therefore important to address this issue early enough before it exacerbates and goes out of hand. For even if the family is not affected, the society around will indeed feel the strain that alcoholic behavior brings.