ERIC Number: ED253338
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984
Reference Count: 0
Alcoholism and the Family. Unit for Child Studies Selected Papers Number 34.
Wilson, G. C.
Alcoholism, and particularly alcoholism in the family, is an unsolved medical and social problem. Addictive drinking results in several social and psychological problems, most of which are caused by a change in brain function. Excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages operates as a stressor and produces alkaloids at the base of the brain that are closely related, chemically, to morphine. Not only a sedative, alcohol also has a stimulating effect on the brain. The difference in the duration of sedative and stimulating effects promotes continual drinking by alcoholics, who are not prepared to allow the stimulation to decline on its own. Such excessive drinking is one element of the diagnosis of alcoholism; other elements are problems arising from that drinking and compulsion to continue. The sequence of events in withdrawal is fairly regular, and the alcohol withdrawal episode is largely over after approximately 3 days. Psychological defenses of alcoholics and their families such as denial are numerous and must be relinquished for intervention to be effective. Phases in the development of alcoholism are evident, as are patterns in the behavior of the alcoholic's spouse and children. Alcoholism is not symptomatic of an underlying psychiatric disorder but causes problems in the patient's total environment, including his or her personal health. The problem of alcoholism demands that legal and medical professionals modify their attitudes. Recently, significant progress in understanding the disease has been made in public hospitals and universities. (RH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: New South Wales Univ., Kensington (Australia). School of Education.
Identifiers: Australia; Defense Mechanisms
Note: For related documents, see PS 014 893. Paper based on seminar presented at the Unit for Child Studies (Kensington, Australia, May 1984).