The Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Resilience

 The Impact

               Many children grow-up experiencing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Many grow-up in households where there is domestic violence, neglect, abuse both physical and emotional, some even experience the trauma of sexual abuse. According to the Center on the Developing Child (CDC) (2022) It is estimated that more than two-thirds of individuals in the US have been subject to at least one ACE and another quarter have experienced three of more. The outcome of those who have experienced such traumatic events or circumstances, often tends to be poor. The CDC (2022) goes on to point out that these individuals are more likely to experience diseases and disorders associated with heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, substance abuse, smoking, and even early death. Research shows that “toxic stress” is the main source that trigger biological reactions which bring about these outcomes. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) (2019) explains that toxic stress can cause changes in the development of the brain and affect the way the body response to ACEs.

               In a study conducted by Mersky et al (2013) showed that ACEs increase the risk of poor health-related outcomes later in life. However, they point out that little is known about the consequence of ACEs in early adulthood. Therefore, the study, using data from the Chicago Longitudinal study, concentrated on early adulthood and the impact of ACEs. The study primarily focused on urban, minority samples of young adults with health, mental health, and substance use outcomes examined. The study also looked at moderating effects of sex.  Those examined were individuals born in 1979 and 1980. The study was conducted with main effect analyses with multivariate logistics and OlS regression. The Sex differences were assessed by the use stratified analysis and followed by test interaction effects with the entire sample used. The results demonstrated that there is a strong association between ACEs and poorer outcomes for individuals in early adulthood. It demonstrated that among those who had experienced greater levels of ACEs had poorer self-rated health and life satisfaction, greater frequency of depression, anxiety, tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use. It also showed that cumulative adversity brings about greater cumulative effects. When comparing individuals who have not experienced ACEs, individuals who had been more likely to experience three times poorer outcomes.

 Risk and Prevention

The CDCP (2019) points out that not only have 61% of adults experienced ACEs but at least 16% of them had experienced 4 or more different types. In addition, ACEs significantly affect females and racial/ethnic minority group at a greater risk with experiencing 4 or more ACEs. They further go on to point out that many people often have a difficult time associating the increased risk of health-related issues of individuals who have experienced ACEs across lifespan. However, recognition of the impact of ACEs can help to provide both prevention and safeguards in the community related to ACEs. Greater public education providing “at risk parents” with education on child raising, establishing parental assistance programs such as utilizing senior volunteers to assist single women and men aa well as young families with pointers on how to raise children in a nurturing and loving environment would certainly be very beneficial.  In addition, health officials can do more by anticipating and recognizing potential at risk children in the health care system field as well as in schools. Individuals working in the welfare systems and community health systems need to assess families and parents better for potential abuse and link to them early into supportive services. This may be a start towards reducing ignorance related to what is or is not adverse behaviors.

Resilience

Developing resilience is a process often the result of attempting to find meaning to the stressful or traumatic situation one has endured. In many cases, resilience comes only after self-inventory and self-acceptance takes place. One must reach a point in their life where they are ready to let the past go and forgive themselves, in some cases, others. When one develops resilience, they are to tackle the challenges of the day with disciple, strength, and humility. There is one State in the US that is attempting to assist those who have experienced trauma resulting in ACEs. That state is the state of Alaska. According to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (ADHSS) (2015) statewide teachers, public health officials such as nurses and other health professionals have created a partnership with the ADHSS, the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, and the Alaska Network of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault to provide evidence based curriculum to assist 7th  -9th graders who have experienced ACEs  learn to help and gain strength from one another’s experiences and develop, at least, an understanding of the importance of resilience. The Alaska Division of Public Health has partnered with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium to provide teen safety cards, a gender-neutral resource developed for Alaska teens with guidance from Alaska teens. This card provides education on what is considered health and unhealthy relationships, the characteristics of what consent means and consists of, as well as, where to get help when needed. A card designed for women was also developed. In addition, the state working with private programs have develop other violence-prevention and youth empowerment programs.

               These are the types of programs and assistance that is needed to counteract the long-term effects ACEs and help individuals build the type of resilience that can last a lifetime. Persons living with ACEs need to have the ability to process their pain and hurt and then become able to move forward with life. To do this, there must self-help groups and programs designed to meet their unique needs. Resilience comes through recovery and the greater the recovery the more powerful the resilience. Therefore, changing the thought patterns often experienced by victims of ACEs takes determination, open-mindedness, and desire. With these three processes at work one can overcome any obstacle.

Reference:

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (2015), Adverse Childhood Experience: Overcoming ACEs in Alaska. Retrieved April 27, 2022, from https://www.dhss.alaska.gov

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2019), Overview. Retrieved April 27, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov.

Center on the Developing Child (2022), ACEs and Toxic Stress: Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved April 27, 2022, from https://www.developingchild.harvard.edu

Mersky, J.P., Topitzes, J., Reynolds, A. J., (2013), Impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Health, Mental Health, and Substance Use in Adulthood: A Cohort Study of an Urban, Minority Sample in the US. Child Abuse Neglect, 37(11): pp.917-925.

The Effects of Alcohol and Drugs

By Lester Long          

Effects of Alcohol

Ethyl, Alcohol or Ethanol is present in many different types of beer, wines, and distilled liquors such as whiskey, gin, vodka, and rum. The effects of these substances often have different effects on individuals depending on their body weight and structure. However, for most people when one consumes alcohol, the stomach and intestines rapidly absorbs it. From there the alcohol travels in the blood through the entire body affecting every tissue. Moderate and high doses of alcohol depress the functions of the central nervous system, including the brain. The higher the levels of alcohol travel through the blood system the greater the impairment.

As the blood passes through the liver, enzymes breakdown into harmless bi-products which are eliminated from the body six to eight hours later, but the rate at which alcohol accumulates in the body may be faster that the rate at which the body eliminates it. This results in the alcohol remaining producing intoxicating effects hours after the last drink. Large amounts of alcohol inhibit or depress higher thought processes, bolstering self-confidence and reducing inhibitions, anxiety, as well as feelings of guilt. Speech becomes loud and slurred. When consumed at high amounts impaired judgement develops often leading to unconscious behaviors such as physical reflexes as well as affecting muscle coordination. Continued drinking causes complete loss of physical control, ending in a stupor and possibly death. One of the major diseases’ alcohol causes is cirrhosis of the liver. This is because alcohol is a primary disease. A primary disease is different from a secondary disease because the primary disease endorses and causes the secondary disease. Withdrawal from alcohol is dangerous. Withdrawal generally causes vomiting, tremors, insomnia, deliriums, as well as may cause one to have convulsions and/or seizures that can lead to strokes and even death.

The Effects of Crack Cocaine

The effects of Crack Cocaine are extremely detrimental to the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of the drug user’s life. Crack Cocaine can be felt as soon as the drug enters the body.

Short Terms Effects

The short-term effects of Crack Cocaine are short burst of energy, decreased appetite, increase temperature, mental anxiety, and constricted blood vessels and increase heart rate. The feeling of euphoria gained by crack fades much more quickly than the painful aftereffects. As Crack Cocaine use continues, the effects become much more severe and get worst and worst and the user’s tolerance level increases.

Long Term Effects

The long-term use of Crack Cocaine may result in emotional problems such as resentment, mood changes, irritability, restlessness, discontentment, as well as during use the one may experience  audio and visual hallucinations. People who use Crack will begin to experience extreme such cravings for the drug, compulsive and obsessive seeking behaviors to obtain the drug as their tolerance levels increase. Crack related deaths are generally the result of cardiac arrest and/or seizures followed by respiratory arrest.

The Effects of Opioids

This class of drugs derived from opium includes such drugs as morphine, heroin, and Oxycodone and OxyContin. It is also developed into synthetic substitutes such as methadone. Opioids are pain relievers although morphine was once used as a cough suppressant and was legal to use commercially in the United States up until the 1920s and 30s. Heroin introduced in 1898 also as a cough suppressant was consider less addictive than Morphine and was widely used. However, the addictive potential of Heroin was soon recognized and was later prohibited in the United States, even for medical proposes. Heroin produces a rush or high immediately after being taken. It produces a state of indifference and decreases or increases energy depending on the state of the individual. Symptoms of withdrawal from opiates include: kicking movement in the leg, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, sweating, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. However, despite how this causes one’s body to respond opioid withdrawal does not in itself cause death. However as most know overdose does.

The Effects of Stimulants such as Amphetamines and Cocaine

Amphetamines were introduced in the 1930s for the treatment of colds and hay fever. They were late found to affect the nervous system. For a while, people who had been trying to lose weight commonly used them as an appetite suppressant. Today they are used for primarily to treat Narcolepsy and sleep disorders. That suddenly attack during the day. Also, hyperactivity in children in this case they provide a calming effect. For adults, however, amphetamines have rightly earned the name speed and/or in the case of the crystalized use ICE (Crystal Meth). This drug is known to heighten alertness, elevate mood, decrease fatigue, and the need for sleep. In addition, as mention above reduces appetite. When it comes to drugs in the Stimulant family both Cocaine and Amphetamines cause, after prolong use psychosis like acute schizophrenia. Tolerance increased levels for both drugs develop rapidly which are the result of individuals desiring their euphoric feeling. Both Cocaine and Amphetamines cause increase heart and can lead to both cardiac arrest and a stroke. Withdrawal from Amphetamines, particularly when injected produces depression so unpleasant that they are compelled to keep using until he or she collapses.

The Effects of Marijuana

Marijuana is one of the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.1When smoked, it begins to affect users almost immediately and can last for one to three hours. When it is eaten in food, such as baked in brownies and cookies, the effects take longer to begin, but usually last longer.

Short-Term Effects

The short-term effects of marijuana include:

  • Distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch)
  • Problems with memory and learning
  • Loss of coordination
  • Trouble with thinking and problem-solving
  • Increased heart rate

Sometimes marijuana use can also produce anxiety, fear, distrust, or panic.

Effects on the Brain

The active ingredient in marijuana, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, acts on cannabinoid receptors on nerve cells and influences the activity of those cells. Some brain areas have many cannabinoid receptors, but other areas of the brain have few or none. Many cannabinoid receptors are found in the parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thought, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement.

When high doses of marijuana are used, usually when eaten in food rather than smoked, users can experience the following symptoms:

Effects on the Heart

Within a few minutes after smoking marijuana, the heart begins beating more rapidly and the blood pressure drops. Marijuana can cause the heartbeat to increase by 20 to 100% and blood pressure is slightly reduced.

According to a review published in 2017, marijuana users’ risk for a heart attack ranges from four to five times higher within the first hour after smoking marijuana, compared to their general risk of heart attack when not smoking.4

contribute to loss of bone density. Heavy users were defined as those who had smoked more than 5,000 times during their lifetime.5

However, another study published in 2017, looked at survey and health information for almost 5,000 adults and didn’t find any association between decreased bone density and marijuana use.6

Effects on the Lungs

Smoking marijuana, even infrequently, can cause burning and stinging of the mouth and throat, and cause heavy coughing. According to a review published in 2019. scientists have found that regular marijuana smokers can experience the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers do, including:

Most marijuana smokers consume a lot less cannabis than cigarette smokers consume tobacco, however, the harmful effects of smoking marijuana should not be ignored. Marijuana contains a similar number of carcinogenic hydrocarbons as tobacco smoke7and because marijuana smokers typically inhale deeper and hold the smoke in their lungs longer than tobacco smokers, their lungs are exposed to those carcinogenic properties longer, when smoking.

What About Cancer?

According to a review published in 2015, one study found that marijuana smokers were three times more likely to develop cancer of the head or neck than non-smokers, but that study could not be confirmed by further analysis.8

Because marijuana smoke contains three times the amount of tar found in tobacco smoke and several carcinogens, it would seem logical to deduce that there is an increased risk of lung cancer for marijuana smokers. However, researchers have not been able to definitively prove such a link because their studies have not been able to adjust for tobacco smoking and other factors that might also increase the risk.

Overcoming Adverse Childhood Experiences Through Growth and Resiliency

 By Lester Long: Written June 5, 2022

ACE: An Overview

One of the most horrific and traumatic events that an individual can endure in our society is Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE). ACE includes such things as emotional and psychological abuse or neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse or neglect, and exposer to violence and domestic abuse or neglect. Individuals who have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (A.C.E.) endured a stressor and/or trauma that has a significant impact on their lives. Many of these traumas and/or stressors may take a lifetime to address in a healthy manner or overcome. Unfortunately, some never, or only partially overcome these challenges. These challenges, while being endured, often leaves an impact on the way ACE individuals believe and respond to life situations related to events in the future. Many of these individuals become angry, non-trusting, paranoid, fearful, depressed, anxious, and resentful. Their belief system often takes on a different more cynical view of the world. All these issues affect such things as impulse control and decision making. James (2022) points out that many of the social problems that may develop from the impact of ACE is a heighten sensitive to stress during decisions making as well as issues with impulse control. Research also demonstrates that early relationships and attachment style carries over into adulthood.

In addition to the above issues, the effects of ACE causes changes in the brain and brain chemicals. These changes may also affect physical and biological changes. The Center on the Developing Child (2022) of Harvard University explains that ACE has an affect on both the body and the brain. They point out that the excesses of “toxic stress” on the brain causes long lasting effects. They go on to posit that this toxic stress affects, not only the child’s developing brain but their “immune system, metabolic system, and cardiovascular system” (p.1). These issues and others affect the quality and quantity of life as Individuals who experiences ACE. Research shows that it tends to shorten their lifespan. The Center on the Developing Child (2022) also explains that the more a child experiences ACE, the greater the possibility that he or she will have poor academic achievement and issues with substance abuse. Children often develop conduct disorder and experience situations related to problems with the law. As adults, there tends to be issues with anti-social behaviors and their behaviors are often can be classified as demonstrating borderline personality disorder. The implications of these behaviors are often the results of the toxic stress.

ACE: The Continual Implications

Many children who have experiences ACE grew up in a household where substance abuse and mental illness was evident. As a result, and in addition to the resulting stress, many of these children often see this as normal behaviors and mimic them as both children and adults. This is the most difficult aspect that must be overcome: ACE children being able to understand that anti-social behaviors and mental health dysfunctions are not normal and acceptable ways of society. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2019) explains that many individuals with ACE grow up in families with both mental health and substance use disorders and as a result they themselves have these issues in adulthood.

One of the major mental health illnesses that contribute to both poor mental health outcome and substance use is depression. Not only does depression contribute to a life struggle with self-esteem, self-worth, self-confidence, and self-efficacy but all these can be contributed to one’s approach to substance use. Often individuals that have experienced ACE spend a lifetime wrestling with depression. This battle is one of the leading causes of both the high morbidity and mortality rates among these individuals. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (2017) point out that depression is a large contributor to both chronic illnesses and shorter lifespans for persons who have experienced adversity in childhood. It points out that 11.4 % of Americans ages 12 to 17 and 6.6 of adults eighteen and older have reported major depressive episodes. These issues become even greater issues if there is no intervention.

ACE and Interventions

One of the most important ways to counteract the effects of ACE is the implementation of interventions. The most preferred would-be prevention. Preventing ACE that a child experience would go a long way helping to reduce the ill effects that it has on individuals and society. Unfortunately getting to parents and guardians in the early upbringings of a child is not always possible or even probable. However, once these issues are identified in childhood or an adult finding the right therapeutic approach is especially important in preventing further damage. One of the most advocated forms of intervention is Trauma Informed Care. This is a process that requires professions to recognize that certain forms of treatment and processes may trigger negative responses on the part of the patient or client and that certain steps are necessary to counteract the effects of ACE. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has had good success in treating patience with ACE but only if implemented as a Trauma-Focus process. Factsheet (2018) explain that “Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) is an evidence-based treatment approach shown to helping children, adolescents, and their parents (or other caregivers1) overcome trauma-related difficulties. It is designed to reduce negative emotional and behavioral responses following trauma, including child sexual abuse and other maltreatment” (p.1). Factsheet (2018) goes on to explain that the value of this kind of treatment is that it addresses distorted beliefs about the traumatic events as well as false attributions. This treatment endorses a supportive and nurturing environment for children and to teach them skills that further help them with triggers that may cause depression and anxiety. When it comes to the non-abusive parents, TB-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps them understand the effects of the trauma on their children and teaches them skills that provide support. TB-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has proven to be an extremely effective  method to help those affected by ACE and has shown that those who want to meet their challenges can develop resilience and not let their past dictate their future.

Resilience and Post-Traumatic Growth

Resilience is defined as the ability to bounce back after traumatic and toxic stressful event. Some children that experience ACE without a doubt experience unbelievable stressors at times. These experiences cause, as mentioned above, a great deal of pain and suffering for the victims. So, for one to overcome and meet these challenges requires a great deal of resiliency. Have resilience requires a person to accept the situation with the ability to restructure their perspective. They must believe that despite the experience there can be a brighter more hopeful time. Collier (2018) however explains that there are those on the other hand, that have a tough time bouncing back. In some cases, traumatic event challenges his or her core beliefs and as a result they endure psychological struggles but eventually find personal growth. This is known as Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG). This differs from resilience in that a person who is resilient, when trauma occurs, isn’t severely affect to their core by the event and doesn’t have to seek a “new belief system” (p.1). Tedeschi and Calhoun (2004) point out that someone with who experiences post-traumatic growth must develop a new belief system and learn how to do the following:

  • Learn to have an Appreciate of life
  • Develop more positive relationships with others
  • See that there are new possibilities in life
  • Develop Personal Strength
  • Make a Spiritual Change

As to how many individuals experience (PTG), It is estimated that one-half to two-thirds that experience ACE experience PTG.

Conclusion

                This paper has shown that many individuals who have endured ACE can recovery if the right therapeutic process is applied. It has shown that despite the often-hopeless state that many people feel, through a process of Post-Traumatic Growth,  they can  gander the strength  necessary to overcome their challenges. ACE treated with Trauma Informed Care can reduce the long term affects and help individuals recover. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (2019) explains that this is the most effective way to assist those affected by ACE to feel safe and secure in their environment. They go on to point out that “Trauma-informed practices, including services, programs, organizations, or systems that take in to account the following which  has referred to as the “4Rs 1) a realization that trauma has a significant impact on the person but that there are multiple pathways to recovery; 2) a recognition that trauma may result in signs and symptoms of significant disruption; 3) a comprehensive and integrative response to the person exposed to trauma; and 4) minimizing the likelihood of re-traumatization” (p.1). These are the keys to helping those still suffering from ACE.

References:

Collier, L. (2018) Growth After Trauma: Why Are Some People More Resilient Than Others-and Can It Be Taught. Retrieved June 5, 2022, from https://www.apa.org   

Factsheet (2018), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Primer for Child Welfare Professionals. Retrieved June 5, 2022, from https://www.childwelfare.gov

James, A. (2022), 4 Ways that Adverse Childhood Experiences Affect Adults. Retrieved June 5, 2022, from https://www.betterhelp.com

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2019), Adult Childhood Experiences: Preventing Early Trauma to Improve Adulthood. Retrieved June 5, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov

The Center for Biotechnology Information (2017), Unpacking the Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Adult Mental Health. Journal on Child Abuse Neglect (69): pp.10- 19.

The Center for Biotechnology Information (2019), A Community’s Response to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Building a Resilient, Trauma-Informed Community.
Am J Community Psychol. 4(3-4): 451–466.

 The Center on the Developing Child (2022), ACE’s and Toxic Stress: Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved June 5, 2022, from  https://developingchild.harvard.edu

Tedeschi, R. and Calhoun, L. (2004) Post-Traumatic Growth: Conceptual foundations and Empirical Review. Retrieved June 5, 2022, from https://www.jstor.org

The Effects of Substance Addiction on the Individual and Society

Addiction has a profound effect on both the individual and society. It has been the source, in many cases, of homelessness, ill physical health, family separation, domestic violence, and Adverse Childhood Experiences. The National Drug Intelligent Center (NDIC) (2006) explains that the negative consequences of the drug abuse affect family, friends, businesses, and government resources. The economic reported cost in 2005 to the United States was about 180.9 billion dollars. The most obvious effect is how it manifest itself in individuals who are abusers. It causes, in many cases, suffering and, if not treated, death.

One of the most significant statistics related to the devastating effects of addiction is HIV/AIDS. NDIC (2006) indicated that in 2004 over 3.5 million individuals aged 18 and older admitted having used intravenous drugs in their lifetime. 14 percent were under the age of 25. What scary about this is that the Center for Disease Control reported in 2003 that 123.235 adults living with AIDS contracted the disease from using intravenous drugs and the survival rate is much less than those who contracted the disease from other public health issues. The NDIC (2006) reported that children of persons who are addicted are abused and neglected. Research has shown that addicted parents put their drug seeking and using above the welfare of their children. 

Medicalnewstoday (2022) explains that drug misuse, abuse, and addiction affect both mind and body of an addict. Of course, drugs affect everyone differently as well as the type of drug used, dosage and delivery method. Some of the short-term effects are changes in appetite, sleeplessness or insomnia, increase, heart rate, slurred speech changes in cognitive ability, and loss of coordination. Some of the other affects are loss of control of the use, relationship problems, and poor work and academic performance. Some of the psychological effects can be long-term such as developing depression, anxiety, panic disorder, increased aggression, paranoia, and hallucinations. Long-term physical issues are cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems, kidney damage, liver disease, and overdose. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (2022) explains that drug use increases the risk of contracting infections which result from unsafe behavioral practices.

Drug abuse and addiction is a danger to our society, but society must never be in such a rush to prevent it that it does not recognize that it is a disease as well. Affordable treatment should be made available to all that need it. Too often individuals are ready to seek treatment and cannot find it because they don’t have insurance, especially those who have co-occurring disorders. Individuals with mental health, especially individuals with schizophrenia often have a hard time. Some programs will not accept individuals with this diagnosis because of not having the medical staff to assist them in case of a psychotic experience and these are generally the free programs. So, if a person with schizophrenia has a problem with drugs and no insurance then they are left out. This is one of the great tragedies related to getting the services to those who need it the most. 

References:

Medicalnewstoday (2022) What are Effects of Drug Abuse.  Retrieved February 27, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com. 

National Drug Intelligence Center (20060 the Impact of Drugs on Society. Retrieved February 27, 2022, from https://www.justice.gov

National Institute on Drug Absue (2022) Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: the Science of Addiction. Retrieved February 27, 2022, from https://www.nida.nih.gov  

Crack Cocaine: How it Affects the Individual and Society

                     Crack Cocaine: How This Addiction Affects the Individual and Society

                                                            By Lester Long Jr.

                                                           February 6, 2022

  Introduction  

            Crack Cocaine was introduced in the United States during the latter part of the 1980s. Crack Cocaine is a version of Cocaine that is generally smoked through a pipe or other instrument.  Over the years, it has been considered one of the most addictive and potent drugs every introduced. Research has shown that some people can get addicted to Crack Cocaine after their first use. Crack Cocaine has been at the forefront of the destruction of many lives and families, not to mention one of the leading contributors to the overpopulated US prisons system. According to Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) (2014) during the 1980s, Congress enacted several laws that sought to impose harsher sentences for individuals who even possessed the drug. According to FAMM these laws were a reaction to the death of Len Bias, the number one draft pick by the Boston Celtics, who died because of an overdose at his signing celebration party from the use of Powder Cocaine. Many in the public, misinformed, assumed that his death resulted from Crack.

His death created a fear by the public of a Crack Cocaine epidemic resulting in stuffer penalties for anyone caught using or possessing the drugs. FAMM (2014) explains that in 1988. Congress passed a law that called for more tighter sentences requiring a 5-year mandatory sentences for the possession of 5 grams of Crack. Addiction Center (2021) points out that because the of potency of the drug, overdose would at times occur even after their first use. Even though many of these newly enacted laws were intended to prevent deaths, the de facto result was longer sentences and harsher penalties. This great incarceration directly and unequally affected African Americans and other minorities. Drugpolicyfacts (2019) explains that from 1984 to 1995, an eleven-year period, the US Sentencing Commission (USSC) created in 1984, issued its first research report which showed that over 80% of Crack Cocaine offenders were African American. In 1995, the Commission attempted to amend the guidelines to equalize the disparities between the sentences for Crack Cocaine and Powder Cocaine. Congress rejected these changes. Apparently, many members believed that potency and the desire for the drug caused far greater criminal behaviors than Powder.

                                The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Crack Cocaine

            As with any other drug Crack Cocaine has an intoxicating effect on the Individual. Crack Cocaine as well as Powder is a in drug class known Stimulants. As such, there are both short-term and long-term effects of Crack. Crack Cocaine affects the brain by way of the pleasure/reward system. The Foundation of a Drug Free World (FDFW) (2006) explains that Crack Cocaine induces a short-term, intense high which is often followed by a depressive feeling resulting in feelings of anxiety, and a strong craving for the drug. Two of its more prominent features is that it decreases appetite and interferes with one’s ability to sleep. Other emotional and psychological effects in the short-term feeling paranoid, angry, hostile, anxious, even after coming down off the high. These symptoms are believed to be the bases behind the need by abusers to participate in other illegal activities such as stealing and robbery to address their cravings which either fellow and/or precede them. In addition to psychological effects that Crack Cocaine has on an Individual, it can have a very devastating effect physically. FDFW (2006) further point out that use of the drug may cause a heart attack, stroke, seizure, or respiratory failure, and worst of all sudden death.

                                                  The Long-Term Effects

            The long-term effects of Crack Cocaine addiction can be extremely devastating. Some of the long-term effect includes damage to the heart, severe respiratory problems, coughing, shortness of breath, permanent lung damage, liver disease. FDFW (2006) points out that in addition to these, those addicted to Crack are vulnerable to catching and passing an infectious disease. Long-term Crack use has been known to cause aggression in individual that are normally meek. It boosts a false confidence and causes one to believe that they are greater than their skill sets. Long-term use and/or abuse of Crack Cocaine may eventually cause long term severe depression; that has led some over the years to commit suicide. This is an issue that is not exclusive to the United States. The National Center for Biotechnology Center (2020) explains that in Brazil, the use of Crack Cocaine and suicide has become a major issue. A current large-scale study conducted in Brazilians resulted in showing that suicidal attempts as well as deaths in its general population was 9.9 and 5.4%, respectively. Among Crack-Cocaine users rates showed an escalation to 40.0 and 20.8%, respectively. Past studies have demonstrated that 47% of Crack-Cocaine users had a current suicide risk and a prevalence of suicidal behaviors of 30% in crack-cocaine addicts.  Suicide has been the study of psychiatry over the last decade but despite this, understanding the reasons behind this however is still a mystery; especially since this population present many psychosocial issues, as well as high rates of clinical and psychiatric conditions. In addition, little compliance to treatment, may also significantly factor in the suicidal behaviors. This study showed that Crack and Powder Cocaine are the leading illicit drugs that continues to increase demand for detoxification treatment. This is a major cost to the public health systems in Brazil.

               Ribiro et al (2006) conduct a follow-up study in San Paulo between 1995 to 1999 on Individual released from detoxification. All patients were individuals addicted to Crack Cocaine. The research study showed that after 5 years, out the 124 patience 23 (17%) had died. Homicide was the major cause, and another third were HIV related and 10% died of overdose. Although overdose appeared to be least cause of death the percentage of deaths after detox still remind high. The study concluded that the mortality risk among those addicted to Crack Cocaine users outweighs that seen in the general population when there is a percentages comparison.

                                            Crack Addiction and The Medical Model

The Medical Model of Addiction seems to best way to explain addiction to Crack Cocaine. Because the drug affects the region of the brain concerned with pleasure and reward, the desire to continue use of the drug becomes the predominate occupation of the user.  The Butler Center for Research (2021) explains that substance, and this includes Crack Cocaine, alters certain regions of the brain that are necessary for social interactions and life sustaining functions. When Crack is used, it affects primarily three regions of the brain. These areas include the basal ganglia, the extended amygdala, and prefrontal cortex. Addiction to Crack Cocaine has three stages associated with three components of activities: intoxication which affects reward and pleasure: withdrawal-a negative emotional state because one’s inability to induce the drug into the system; and preoccupation- the inability for the individual to function because of an overwhelming craving for the drug. In addition to the above-mentioned activities and functions, Crack Cocaine affects the ability to make good judgments, good decisions, ability to learn, memory, and may cause inappropriate behaviors.

The Medical Model of Addiction support the premise that Crack Cocaine is an addiction that affects the psychological, physical, spiritual aspects of the person. McIntyre (2018) posits that the Medical Model of Addiction explains that Crack Cocaine becomes Chronic, Progressive, and if not treated Fatal. He contends that, if not treated, it not only can cause death but gets out of control and causes an individual to feel useless and helpless even when they come down off the high. He points out that individuals with this type of addiction find themselves often restless, irritable, discontent.  Individuals on Crack Cocaine, like other addictive drugs, find that they lose interest in things they used to find pleasurable. They become pre-occupied and obsessed with drug. Family and friends are cast aside to make room for addictive behaviors.

                                                         Conclusion

There is no doubt that Crack Cocaine is one of the potent and powerful drugs every manufactured. It has had a destructive impact on both the Indiivdual as well as the society. Over the years, many people have died because of this drug whether from a direct cause such as overdose, suicide because depression caused by it In addition, it has led to overpopulation of prisons and the criminal justice system, and has separated and destroyed family relationships. Fortunately, the days of unfair mandatory sentencing for possessing small amounts appears to over and society is slowly but often reluctantly moving toward treatment rather punishment. However, these efforts are still not adequately funded. The National Association of Social Worker (2022) explains that states only spend about thirteen percent of their budgets on prevention and education, and many give very little to treatment programs that are design to serve the economic disadvantaged. In most States these are very ones whose neighborhoods tend to be infested with the drug.   As a substance abuse counseling, it has been amazing to see how when a drug such as Heroin, which currently seems to be the preferred drugs of the more affluent of our society is called an epidemic with treatment programs with the use of Medication Assistant Treatment is offered with full services to assist these addicts with recovery. When, those who addicted to Crack Cocaine some for years still seem have little hope of finding available bed space. Society has come a long way since the initial “War on Drugs” in the 1980s, but it still has a long way to go.

References

Addiction Center (2021), Understanding Crack Cocaine. Retrieved February 6, 2022, from https://www.addictioncenter.com

Benson, E. (2003), Rehabilitate or Punish. Monitor Vol 37 (7).  p.46

Butler Center for Research (2021), the Brain Disease Model of Addiction. Retrieved February 6, 2022, from https://www.bettyfordcenter.org

Drugpolicyfacts (2019), Total Annual Arrest in the US by Type of offense. Retrieved February 6, 2022, from https://www.drugpolicyfacts.org

Families Against Mandatory Minimums (2014), A Brief History of Crack Cocaine Sentencing Laws. Retrieved February 6, 2022, from https://www.famm.org

Foundation of a Drug Free World (2006), Effects of Crack Cocaine. Retrieved February 6, 2022, from https://www.drugfreeworld.org

National Association of Social Workers (2021) Blueprint for the States; Policies to Improve the Ways States Organize and Deliver Alcohol and Drug Prevention and Treatment.

National Center for Biotechnology Institute (2020), High Mortality Among Young Crack Cocaine Users in Brazil. Retrived February 6, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov  

Ribeiro, M., Dunn, J., Sesso, R., Dias, A.C., & Laranjeira, R. (2006), Causes of Death Among Crack Cocaine Users. Braz J Psychiatry, 28 (3).  196-202.

Eating Disorders: Mental Health and/or Substance Use Disorder?

Although eating disorders are not necessary classified as an addiction by the DSM V there are many elements of addictive behaviors. According to the American Psychological Association eating disorder is classified as a mental disorder.  However, there can be no dispute that overwhelming evidence demonstrate behaviors related to eating disorders are addictive behaviors. Vertava (2021) explains statistics and research demonstrate that eating disorders and substance use co-exist and mimic each other and there is a strong links between the two. There are many are behavioral, psychological, and emotional aspects of similarities. When examining the above three, the following are true as it relates to 1) Behavioral- An inability to stop destructive behaviors after multiple attempts, obsessing over food and a preoccupation of activities. Intensive craving for food and rituals surrounding the use; giving up other interest to focus time on the addictive behaviors of eating; and continuing unusual eating habits despite negative consequences; and 2) Physical related signs- Sunken cheekbones, decaying teeth, Severe weight gain and/or loss and 3) Emotional issues related to disorder certainly does not take a back seat to other two. These emotional issues may include unresolved emotional and physical traumas, past physical and/or emotional abuse or negligent, and sexual abuse. These issues certainly resemble the core issues surrounding why people the use and/or abuse alcohol and drugs.

WebMd (2022) points out that there are basically 3 types of eating disorders: First type is Anorexia Nervosa-This is when weigh loss is bought about by extreme dieting and exercise, sometimes to the extent that the person undergoes starvation. This is also associated with Avoidance/restrictive food intake disorder. This process often begins in childhood. This is characterized by a person avoiding food based on its odor and texture. The second type of eating disorder is known as Bulimia Nervosa; this is the type of eating disorder that resembles substance addiction, because it is marked by cycles of extreme overeating and appear that the individual does not to have any control of their intake of food. Their minds appear to be continuously and constantly consumed with the thought of eating and food. This process is also marked by purging oneself and other behaviors to compensate for overeating and in addition, the individual, when not eating, can have a feeling of loss. The third major is Binge eating disorder. This is very similar to Bulimia as well as demonstrates close association to alcohol and drug abuse. The major difference is that in Binge eating disorder, individuals do not purge themselves of the food. In addition, Binging is marked by an individual continuing to eat even after they are full.

Research shows that almost 50 percent of individual with eating disorders struggles with either alcohol or drugs addiction. It has proven that many of the neurotransmitters involved with an eating disorder are shared with alcohol and drug addiction. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (NAANAD) (2021) points out that at least 9% of the world’s population is affected by eating disorders and that it is among the deadliest mental illness, second only to opioid overdose. The NAANAD also explains that at least 28% of the US population will have an eating disorder in their lifetime. There are over 10.200 deaths each year one about every 52 minutes occur resulting from eating disorders. The NAANAD (2021) further explains that 26% of people with eating disorders attempt suicide. The economic cost is 64.7 billion a year.

The National Center of Biotechnology Institute (NCBI) (2009) reports that epidemiological studies show that anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are more common among females than males. However, gender disparity is reversed as it relates to “subthreshold binge eating” about 0.6% for women and 1.9% for men. In addition, the prevalence of ‘any binge eating’ is roughly comparable in women and men 4.9 % and 4.0% respectively. It also reports that girls and women are more likely than boys or men to report weigh dissatisfactions, dieting for weigh control and use purging. Boys and men are more likely to report binge eating and use of exercise as means of weigh control.

References:

NAANAD (2021), Eating Disorder Statistics. Retrieved February 13, 2022, from https://anad.org

NCBI (2009), Gender Difference in the Prevalence of Eating Disorder Symptoms. Retrieved February 13, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Vertava Health (2021), the Link Between Eating Disorders and Addiction. Retrieved February 13, 2022, from https://vertavahelath.com

WebMD (2021), Signs of Eating Disorder. Retrieved February 13, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com


The Medical Model of Addiction

By Lester Long Jr.

Medical Model of Addiction

The Medical Model of Addiction is a theory of addiction that propagates addiction is a medical problem not a moral one. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) (2018) explains that the Medical Model of Addiction contends that addiction is a disease that is caused by an altering of brain chemicals. Individuals who use; develop a compulsive and obsessive desire for the drugs or alcohol and that once used, it triggers the pleasure chemical in the brain and there is an uncontrollable need to continue. The disease or medical model contends that recovery treatment involves abstinence and psychosocial education and counseling. Shatterprooof (2021) points that all major medical associations and institutes agree that addiction is an illness that requires treatment. It explains that research shows the human brain is wired to reward individuals when they do something pleasurable or exciting and addiction feeds off this brain activity. Some of things that activates this reward system can be related to exercising, eating, and/or other behaviors. These behaviors, when accomplished, are directly linked to triggering neurotransmitters called dopamine: the chemical that gives feelings of pleasure when one is presented with pleasurable stimuli. This chemical’s activation is the bases behind addiction because it not only brings about a good feeling but encourages one to repeat the behaviors.

Bevilacque and Goldman (2009) point out that addiction is a common and complex disease that is tied together by shared genetic and environmental etiological factors. It is frequently chronic, with a reoccurring and relapse tendency. They further explain that genetic research and other analyses helps to not only clarify the origin of addiction but helps destigmatize addiction which leads to a greater understanding for treatment necessity. Understanding genetic factors in etiology and treatment responses help to enable the individualization of prevention and treatment, as well as the identification of new therapeutic targets. The American Psychological Association (APA) (2008) explains that at least half of a person’s susceptibility to drug addiction can be linked to genetic factor.

There is also evidence that environmental factors also play an important role in addiction and addictive behaviors. Psychology Today (2018) points out that there are 6 environmental factors that are believed to lead to addiction. These 6 environmental factors are extremely influential. Psychology Today explains individuals who associate with those who abuse alcohol or drugs are more likely to engage in that behavior too. In addition, when one is around others who use, when the substances flow in quantity and variety, so does the individual’s own behaviors. Research points out that there are three main environmental factors that seem to influence addiction the most: family dynamics and interactions, friends and associations, and the media (social and general).

Even though the Medical Model of Addiction is scientifically accepted by medical professionals as well as society in general, there are others that think addiction is still a matter of choice and in some cases a moral deficiency. There are those who aspired to what is known as the Moral Model of Addiction. Miller (2014) points out that the Moral Model promulgates that substance users are ‘degenerates and that alcoholism is a moral weakness. The Moral Model posits that the individual abuses their drugs of choice because they have a moral weakness and the optimal way of addressing their addictive behaviors is punishment not treatment. Just Believe (2018) explains that those who accept the moral model of addiction argue that the individual addict uses substances because he or she wants to and is irresponsible, impulsive, and engages in careless behaviors due to a character deficit.

There are other addictions that affect aspects of society other substance addiction. One of those areas affected by addiction is gambling. According to Mayo Clinic (2016) explains “Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system much like drugs or alcohol can, leading to addiction” (p.1). When an individual has a problem with compulsive gambling, they may continually chase bets that lead to losses, attempt to hide negative behavior, deplete savings, accumulate debt, or even resort to theft or fraud to support their addiction. The Mayo Clinic posits that compulsive gambling is a serious condition that can destroy lives. Although treating compulsive gambling may be difficult for many individuals who struggle with compulsive gambling; recovery like that of substance addiction can be accomplished with professional treatment.

The Medical Model of Addiction is still evolving as research continuously seek more information on the causes of addiction. Over the years, many different theories and concepts have emerged on addiction and how to treat addiction. However, the primary goal remains getting individuals back to a healthy state physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Despite many efforts in this direction, addiction and addiction related deaths remains one of the highest causes in the United States. It daily and regularly destroys other aspects of lives as well. Therefore, no matter what your view may be for the causes of addiction; whether you are a person who believe in the medical model or the moral approach, everyone can agree that addiction affects all aspects of society.

References:

APA (2008) Genes Matter in Addiction. Retrieved January 23, 2022 from https://www.apa.org/

Bevilacque, L and Goldman, D (2009), Genes and Addictions. Retrieved January 23, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Just Believe (2018),Approaches to Addiction: The Moral Model vs. Medical Model. Retrieved January 23, 2022, from https://justbelieverecovery.com.

Mayo Clinic (2016), Compulsive Gambling. Retrieved January 23, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/

Miller, G. (2014), Learning the Language of Addiction Counseling (4th ed). Willey and Son, Inc.: Hoboken, New Jersey.

Psychology Today (2018) 6 Ways Your Environment Influences Addiction. Retrieved January 23, 2022, https://www.psychologytoday.com/

SAMSHA (2018), Why is Addiction a Disease and Why is it Important. Retrieved January 23, 2022, from https://www.samhsa.gov.

Shatterproof (2021), | Reversing the Addiction Crisis in the U.S. retrieved January 23, 2022, from https://www.shatterproof.org/  

What is Counseling?

What is Counseling?

Developed April 14, 2017

By Lester Long

The American Psychological Association (APA) (2006) defines counseling as a profession that assist individuals in coping with personal problems which includes but not limited to: emotional, behavioral, vocational, marital, educational, rehabilitation, and life stage problems. Counseling, in my opinion, is the art of analysis. Because one has to be analytical to explore individual issues/challenges in order to develop optimal alternatives.  Counseling plays a significant role in changing the way one thinks and ultimately to the responses to either positive or negative stimuli. The key to changing behaviors is counseling’s ability to present alternates to individuals with a non-judgmental posture. This is relevant because inherit in the therapeutic process must be a mindset of unconditional regard.

One cannot assist an individual in the therapeutic process with a set of moralistic values that are counter-productive to the treatment process. The individual receiving the benefits of the counseling must, over time, develop trust not only in the individual counselor but in the counseling process. Too often the therapist is seen as the expert but the reality is the individual being served is the true expert when it comes to developing meaningful and lasting solutions to the challenges being present.  The APA (2006) goes on to point out that through the techniques such as active listening, guidance, and clarification assistance, one can assist in helping bring about a change in behaviors. One of the most important aspects of this process is having both a significant understanding of the individual’s issues and willingness to assist them in resolving them.

Reference:

The American Psychological Association (2006) APA Dictionary of Psychology. Retrieved April 13, 2017 from http://www.apa.org.  

Why It’s Difficult To Treat The Homeless for Substance Use Disorders and Mental Illness

Why It’s Difficult To Treat The Homeless for Substance Use Disorders and Mental Illness

By Lester Long

I am writing this article to explain why I believe it is so difficult for the Homeless population to recovery from drugs/alcohol and mental illness. Without a doubt It can be extremely difficult to treat the this population for substance disorders and mental illness. One of the main reason for this is that without a stable place to live it can be difficult to get adequate sleep at night which often causes the potential client to be both agitated and irritable. Irritability and restlessness are among the chief motivators for increasing one’s desire to use a drug. Enlighten Solutions (ES) (2018) explains that when a person is addicted to drugs they already tend to be restless, irritable, discontent. Homelessness intensified these feelings causing a greater desire towards drug use to relieve these unpleasant feelings and for a person attempting to recover from drugs, this tends to be a recipe for disaster. In addition, homeless individuals tend to have a poor diet and are often hungry. How can anyone be expected to believe in a better life when they are hungry? But probably the greatest reason why it is difficult to treat the homeless is that homelessness teaching them, in general, not to trust people and in many cases, this is aimed at health care providers. Some may even feel that their homeless is a result of poor health care treatment or that it has, at least, contributed to their continuous homelessness. The National Coalition for the Homeless (2017) estimates that 38% of the homeless are addicted to alcohol and 26% are addicted to other drugs and out of those desiring recovery, only a very few receive adequate substance abuse treatment opportunities.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) (2015) points out that homeless people have higher rates of serious medical problems than those in the general population. These include mental health and substance-related problems, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, upper respiratory infections, gastrointestinal and podiatry problems. However, seeking treatment for these illnesses among this population is very low. The reason: A lack of trust in health care systems. NBCI further explains that trust is important in health care services because it gives the provider-patient relationship meaning, offers a motivational underpinning to patients’ willingness to seek out care, assisting the patient in revealing private information, and helps them with compliance to continuous treatment. NCBI explains” provider’s trust builds on the patient’s expectations through technical competence, openness, concern, and reliability” (p.1). Homeless people often feel rejected and placed as secondary citizens. Therefore, when they see others receiving the care they believe they should but are not; they stop trusting the system. Once this trust is lost it is very difficult to revive. This results in a homeless resistance to treatment even with the best-intended services. Therefore as a counselor in the health care delivery field, it would be important to practice a Client-Centered Therapeutic approach to the fullest and hopefully help to reestablish trust among one’s homeless clients. This is extremely necessary in order to bring about trust in the recovery process specially and the health care system in general.

References:

Enlighten Solutions (2018), Being Restless, Irritable, and Discontent. Retrieved January 30, 2019, from https://www.enlightensolutions.com

NCBI (2015) Trust in Health Care Providers: Factors Predicting Trust among Homeless Veterans over Time. J Health Care Poor Underserved 201 25(3): 1278–1290.

National Coalition for the Homeless (2017), the Connection between the Homeless and Addiction. Retrieved January 16th, 2022, from https://www.addictioncenter.com.   

A History of Alcohol Use Disorder and the American Society

Introduction

This perspective is intended to look at the history of alcohol and its impact throughout history on gender, age, and culture, particularly in the United States. It will examine how throughout American history irrespective of time periods, regardless of race, where or when a person was born, or under what circumstances; they faced the issues that has surrounded alcohol use, abuse, and dependency. This article will attempt to explore how the use alcohol and alcoholism has affected every element of society. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol (NIAAA) points out that alcohol use affects every sector of society. Examining the impact of alcohol use on various segments of society is essential when attempting to better understand how to assess, diagnose, and treat alcoholism. However, to understand the nature of alcoholism and its historical development in the United States, it’s important to discuss aspects of its progression and treatment.

A Historical Perspective and its Impact

According to Alcohol Answers (2018) alcohol use, abuse and dependency can be traced back to the Bible. However, despite the Christian orientation of the founder of this nation since the early days of the United States as country, alcohol has been a part of the American cultural. This occurred mainly because alcohol was viewed as both a beverage and medicine. Alcohol, during this time, was not only viewed as an enjoyable drink but as having a health value. Over the years alcohol has been viewed from varying perspectives. As the United States developed over the years, alcohol became a greater part of cultural acceptability despite those who believed that it was essentially a dangerous substance that affected lifestyles in a negative manner. Wallace (2018) points out that there were those who used the bible as a reference point to demonstrate the evils of drinking. Though the Bible did not specifically prohibit the use of alcohol there were many scriptures that warned Christians against drunkenness and intoxication. He goes on to point out however in some Christian circle’s drunkenness was tolerated especially during colonial times by Bible believers if it did not interfere with an individual’s job or their religious responsibilities.

Over the years, the conflict over alcohol and those who saw it as a hindrance to a productive lifestyle, began to feel a need to push for alcohol prohibition. Hewitt (2006) explains that by the mid-to-late 19th century, a movement developed which began to make the case that an individual’s use of alcohol may not be controllable.  Therefore, there was a shift by those who opposed its use from trying to control the individual use to controlling the manufacturing of the substance itself. She goes on to point out that as the nation began to transform from agricultural society to an industrial one; social problem such as poverty and crime began to make itself more obvious and alcohol became the targeted cause. Many issues facing society were viewed as a direct result of alcohol use. A social reformed movement developed in response to the growing concern and its primary goal was eliminating alcohol use. It was believed that if the making, distribution, and sell of alcohol was eliminated, it would effectively eliminate its use and reduce or eliminate societies problems. Groups emerged such as the American Temperance Society, The Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and the Anti-Saloon League. The primary purpose of these groups was to eliminate alcohol use in the United States. As part of their campaign, they present alcohol as a demonic and evil substance which plagued society. The image of ax toting women became a symbol of the movement. These and other factors helped to change the general acceptance of alcohol use to one that led to it prohibition in the United States. This prohibition lasted from 1920 to 1933. Coincidentally, during this period American alcohol science was revisited as well as the beginnings of the Alcohol Anonymous (AA).

Though there were other groups that sprang up addressing the individuals and families suffering from the effects of alcohol dependency and withdrawal, many were based in the Christian religious dogma.  AA, although many of its members were Christian, opened its membership and meetings to anyone who had a desire to stop drinking and wanted to seek recovery. The early 20th century saw a movement towards viewing alcohol dependency as a medical and health issues rather simply a moral/spiritual issue. Roizon (2000) explains that one of the individuals that contributed to this movement was Dr. Norman Jollinek. According to Roizon, Dr. Jollinek managed a Carnegie Project a sub-group of the Research Council on the Problem of Alcoholism. From this group came the emergence of the new alcohol science. Roizon goes on to point out that Dr. Jollinek provided two significant contributions to this effort:” (1) a description of alcohol syndrome and (2) an alcoholism prevalence formula based on current cirrhosis mortality” (p.1).  

Since the early efforts to identify and treat alcoholism, treatment efforts have advance. The medical model is still the most prevalent school of thought; mainly because of the many ways alcohol use disorders affect the body and mind. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2018) explains that excessive alcohol use interferes severely with the brain’s communication pathways. Though alcohol at one time was viewed as moral issue and in some circles, the general professional medical society now and for some time sees alcoholism as a disease of the brain which affects its chemicals and the central nervous system. Alcoholism is therefore a disease of the brain and body. It is complexed with behaviors that feature compulsive use despite serious health and social consequences. Alcohol affects regions of the brain that are responsible for reward, motivation, learning, judgment, and memory. Because of this, when alcohol is abused, it creates dysfunctions that damages families, relationships, school attendance, and work.

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Gender Differential

Alcoholism is one of the leading causes of life dysfunction in the United States. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) 2017 it is estimated that 6.2 percent of adults over the age 18 have an Alcohol Use Disorder; this calculates to around 15.1 million. The Institute goes on to point out of these 15.1 million, 9.8 million are men and 5.3 million are women. The NIAAA reports that the National Survey on Drug Use and Health provides data that shows 86.4 percent of adults of 18 years old have used some alcohol in their lifetime. This demonstrates how much alcohol is engrained in the American psychic. There is an old saying ‘one drinks when they are sad, one drink when they are glad, one drinks when one is mad but most of all one drinks especially when they are bad”. Wilsnack et al (2010) conducted research into gender differential among men and women. It researched those who are mostly likely to drink alcohol, those who consume at higher rates, and those who are more likely to quit drinking related to gender. They posit that research demonstrate men are more likely to consume alcohol than women. They point out that drinking per se as well as consumption by volume is “more constant among men than women” (p.1). Their research also showed that among all those who responded to the survey, women were more likely to quit drinking then men. As it relates to consumption, the higher the age, the higher volume consumption is among men than that of women. However, the differential ratio is changing, and women’s usage is on the increase.

Although the use of alcohol is increasing among women, they are more likely to have difficulty receiving treatment than men. Green (2018) points out that among those diagnosed with a substance use disorder  (SUD), women are less likely to seek treatment. However, when they do seek it, they are more likely to face greater barriers than men. She posits that woman are more likely to seek help in mental health or primary care facilities than tradition treatment settings. As a result this situation tends to contribute to poorer outcomes among women. Some of the reasons for this are as follows:

  •  Economic barriers.
  • Greater Family responsibility that prevents regular treatment sessions attendance.
  • Non-assessable services after discharge such as housing, transportation, education, etc.
  • Feelings of guilt and shame resulting from the need for substance abuse treatment.
  • Anxiety and depression tend to more prevalent among women than men.

Green (2018) points out however that despite these barriers that contribute to preventing a successful outcomes, those women who do receive treatment in traditional treatment programs, outcomes tend to be better than that of men.

Legal Impact of Alcohol Use and Alcoholism

One of most prevailing issue related to the use of Alcohol and alcoholism is the number of individuals in America arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Although all arrests for this illegal act is not related to simply alcohol; many are. BACtrack (2015) explains that the FBI reports that over 1.4 million drivers are arrested for impaired driving a year. This figure is less than 1% of that total number of self-reporting impaired drivers incidences which is estimated at around 112 million. BACtrack goes on to point out that predictions by highway patrol departments of traffic fatalities related to drunk driving too often tend to be correct. This is especially true during holidays and special events. As it relates to the ratio of men and women, Schwart (2008) points out that reports derived from three diverse sources of evidence: the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations shows that female DUI arrest has increased, and males has decreased although the gender gap remains constant. Statistics show that women’s overrepresentation in arrests in relationship to the overall share of offensives began somewhere around the 1990s and increased in 2000. Schwart attributes this to more stringent laws and enforcement which reduced the test levels indicating intoxication which determines a DUI violation. She believes that this increased vulnerability related to women has occurred because, though they tend to drink less their male counterparts, the lowered standard test result qualities contribute to their greater number of arrests for intoxication.

The rate of individuals who will be involved in a drunk driver’s accident and those arrested for DUI appears to be on the rise. BACtrack (2015) explains that one in three people during their lifetime will be involved in a drunk driver accident and at least 28 people a day die because of those accidents. In 2010 10,228 people died and 345,000 were injured in car accidents, and alcohol-related accidents contributed to over 1/3 of all accident-related deaths in 2010. These are staggering statistics. These reports demonstrate just how the universal acceptance of alcohol use has affected our entire society. Despite this most statistics indicate that millions of people are social drinker and basically control their alcohol intake and behaviors. There are strong statistical indication that too many people both men and women who drink alcohol tend to be irresponsible as it relates to concern for human life including their own.

Culture Differences and Alcoholism: Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics Males and Females

There tends to be many cultural differences related to alcohol use among Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics. Though all races are consumers of alcohol beverages, and all three cultures find the use of alcoholic beverages acceptable, their patterns of drinking tend to vary. Nyarong et al. (2009) points out that Hispanic man who are regular bar attendees tend to consume more drinks on annual bases as comparison to their black and white male counterpart drinkers. They go on to point out that Hispanic men prefer drinking at home and enjoy entertaining both friends and/or visitors. They point out that, in this regard, there is a great deal of similarity between the Hispanic and Whites. Nyarong also suggests that black male on the other hand who frequent bars tend to look very similar to their white male counterparts. However, they tend to consume less alcohol at restaurants and more at public locations like street corners and parks. They go on to point out that black male bar-plus consumes more drinks at home on a quiet evening, compared to women and other ethnic groups. In this respect  black men who are light drinkers tend to be very similar to their white- male drinking counterparts.

As it relates to women drinking patterns, Nyarong et al (2008) suggests that their drinking patterns reflect that of their white male counterparts. However, White women tend to drink less in most cases than White men. White men as well as White women who tend to be a part of the bar-plus cluster and drinks alcohol primarily in bars are less likely to drink outdoors, particularly, in large amounts. White women who drink larger amounts primarily drink at home on a quiet evening. Nyarong et al further point out that “Hispanic women bar-plus drinkers do most of their drinking both in bars and at others’ parties as well as a fair amount elsewhere but tend to resist drinking in public places”. They point out however Black women, on the hand, tend to do most of their drinking in bars, when friends are visiting, and/or on a quiet evening.

Conclusion

            It appears that without question alcohol has and still plays a major role in the life and the lifestyles of Americans. In examining the history of alcohol use in American it obvious that its use has had a love/hate relationship with the American people. There have been times when alcohol was viewed as the enemy of what was considered a good and wholesome lifestyle. There have been periods of religious dogma that demonized its use and there have been periods where it was viewed a medical enhancer. Yes, Americans have seen alcohol as a source of helping to save lives,  as a medication for emotional and mental distress as well as a destroyer of life demonstrated by tragic car accidents. One thing has been very evident is that throughout the general cultures of American society, alcohol has and is an acceptable tool for enjoyment despite it negative consequential results.

 References:

BACtrack (2015), DUI Statistics. Retrieved August 5, 2018, from https://www.bactrack.com.

Green, C. A. (2018), Gender and Use of Substance Abuse Treatment Services. Retrieved August 5, 2018 from https://www.pubs.naaa.nih.gov.

Hewitt, Brenda, G. (2006), the History of NIAAA. Retrieved August 5, 2018, from http://www.alcohlanswers.org

NIAAA (2018), Alcohol Effects the Body. Retrieved August 5, 2018, from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov  .  

Nyarong, D., Greenfield, T. K., Mc Daniel, P.A. (2009), Drinking Context and Drinking problems Among Blacks, Whites, and Hispanic Men and Women in the 1984, 1995, and 1995 and 2005 U. S. National Alcohol Survey. Retrieved August 5, 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.

Roizon, R. (2000), Jellinek and All That! A Brief Look Back at the origins of post-Repeal. Alcohol Science in the United States, 20-36: University of California, San Francisco.

Schwartz, J. (2008), Gender Differences in Drunk Driving Prevalence rates and Trends: A 20-year Assessment Using Multiple Sources of Evidence. Addictive Behavior, 33(9):1217-22

Wallace, D. B. (2018), the Bible and Alcohol. Retrieved August 5, 2018, from http://www.bible.org

Wilsnack, R.W., Wilsnack, S. C., Kristjanson, A. F., Vogeltanz-Holm, N. D., and Gmel, G. (2010), Gender and Alcohol Consumption: Patterns from Multinational Genacis Project. Addictions, 104 (9): 1487-1500.