Alcoholism as a Social Problem

Alcoholismas a Social Problem

Alcoholismas a Social Problem

Socialproblems are those affecting many people in the society hence extendbeyond an individual’s problem. Perceptions on the definition ofsocial issues between people and communities differ. Examples of theproblems include unemployment, alcoholism, and abortion. Thesociological approach shows perspective on the behavior of humanbeings in relation to the society. It demonstrates the connectionbetween a person, the environment, and social structures in theircommunities. The culture affects behavior, and the sociologicalapproach gives one an understanding of the importance in shapingcultures. This makes it different from other perspectives includingthe conflict theory and functionalism. Conflict theory explains howcertain society parts conflict and how those in the high class in thesociety oppress others in the lower class for their benefit. Thefunctionalist perspective examines the structures in the society,their consequences and how this affects creation and maintenance oforder. The sociological approach explains the social patterns thatdescribe the social environment and goes beyond one’s perspective.Particular problems in this method are not significant as they affectan individual other than the society as a whole. The affected persondeals with his/her problems at a personal level. For example, loss ofa job only affects a single person and is a particular issue, butretrenchment of workers in an organization affects many people makingit a social problem.

Thesociological perspective on social issues attempts to understand aperson, the social structures, and the society. Scientists recognizesocial problems in the society, knowing their causes and effects andtrying to get the solutions to the problem as part of their mandate.The first step is conducting basic research on the effects and causesof a social issue than using applied research to use in programs andpolicies. Different approaches are also necessary for the analysis ofsocial problems that are distinct from the sociological approach.

Alcoholismis an example of a social issue that exists in today’s society andaffects millions of people worldwide. This disorder results from theconstant use of alcohol. It leads to impairment socially andinadequate functioning of the body. It also alters the performanceof vital body parts leading to weakness. Without the proper treatmentand the will to change, the problem is chronic. It progresses withtime and only gets worse. It is also easy for a reformed alcoholic torelapse with a single drink. To recover fully from addiction, onemust abstain from alcohol completely as it controls the alcoholic’sbehavior. Those mostly affected by this problem are the ones who livearound the victim, such as family members and friends. The alcoholicsets a bad example for the children in the family by exposing them toproblems such as job loss and health issues associated withalcoholism. They are unable to control their behavior when drunk, andit is common for them to take part in crime and vices such as wifebattering. Factors in the environment and genes are some of thefactors that increase the chances of alcoholism. They includecultural and social practices that increase stress levels andanxiety. Alcohol affects vital body parts including the liver, immunesystem, the heart, and the brain. Women have a higher sensitivitywhen it comes to the adverse effects of alcohol abuse, especially forpregnant mothers.


Alcoholismis known to be the third leading cause of preventable deaths in theU.S. contributing to over 10000 deaths every year. This is third topoor diet and use of tobacco. The number of men who are alcoholics isthree times greater than that of women, which is 3.9 million. Aboutfifty percent of adults had exposure to alcohol in their childhoodand it affected their behavior in adulthood. This means that theyeither started taking alcohol or have someone in their family withthe problem. Children below 18 years also gain exposure to alcohol atan early age as most of them report that they often get drunk whilestill in high school. Most of the suicide victims are alsoalcoholics. They also have a tendency to abuse other drugs includingtobacco, heroin, and cocaine. With such prevalence, some people referto the problem as a chronic disease. Recently, more women areincreasingly getting into alcoholism, influenced by their upbringingand families in their communities. It reduces life expectancy byapproximately ten years because of the many health complicationsassociated with alcoholism. The social problem keeps increasing withthe early exposure of children to alcohol in their upbringing.

Alcoholismis harmful to the society as a whole from the health risks is bringsalong with it. For example, families acquire medical costs to treatdiseases such as cirrhosis and for treatment such as therapy thuslosing working hours. The condition also leads to road accidents,crime, and violence, which leads to more expenses and loss of lives.Pregnant women who are alcoholics have a greater chance of givingbirth to children with disorders such as fetal alcohol syndrome. Acountry’s GDP varies with the increasing costs associated with theproblem. Some communities take alcohol as an essential part of theirmeals and in social gatherings increasing the chances of addiction.

Oneway to deal with the issue in today’s society is to enhanceawareness on the issue for both children and adults. With knowledgeon alcoholism, it becomes easy for families and the community to knowhow to deal with alcohol addicts. Stereotypes associated with racismand drunkenness excludes other people who think that the problem doesnot affect them as much as it affects other people. People shouldalso know of the drugs used to treat alcohol addiction such asdisulfiram and acamprosate. They assist an individual when theyexperience withdrawal symptoms and helps in the reducing the chancesof a relapse. Counseling, therapy, and rehabilitation are also otherways for use in the treatment of drunkenness today. The earlier thetreatment is administered, the better the chances of curing thedisease.

Psychotherapyis one of the ways to solve the underlying problems that lead toalcoholism. Various rehabilitation programs, both inpatient andoutpatient help in abstinence of alcohol. They create an environmentthat does not lead to mood alteration to prevent relapse into alcoholabuse. Using support groups, recovering alcoholics enhance religionand stress management to maintain an active lifestyle with properdiet, exercise, and different patterns in their way of life. Treatingdisorders such as depression have necessitated institutions tointroduce drug therapy into the program. This helps in the holisticdevelopment of an individual as he/she prepares to join the societyas a transformed person. It also reduces the chances of experiencingthe long-term effects of alcoholism such as stigma.


Copp,J. (2013). The Sociological Approach to Social Problems. Retrievedfrom problems/