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Alcohol in the U.S. Society

Alcohol in the U.S. Society

The symptoms of alcohol-related disorders and the economic, personal, and societal cost of alcoholism in the United States

There are various symptoms defined by the DSM-5 guidelines that distinguish alcohol-related substance use disorders. A person with this form of disorder takes the substance for longer periods of time than they are meant to. They also experience cravings of the substance (Connor, Haber, & Hall, 2016). They may want to stop the use of the substance but are unable to. The continued use of the substance influences a person’s work or school life and the quality of their relationships. A person with the disorder may give up their work, social, or recreational activities because of alcohol use. They continue to use the substance even when it puts them in danger. Lastly, a person with an alcohol-related substance use disorder may experience withdrawal symptoms, which are only relieved by taking the substance (Connor, Haber, & Hall, 2016).

The problem of alcoholism has significant economic, personal, and societal effects in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the cost of excessive alcohol intake in the United States was $249 billion as of 2010. 77% of these costs account for binge drinking (CDC, 2018). On a personal level, excessive intake of alcohol exposes people to different kinds of diseases such as increased risk of certain types of cancer, liver issues, and cardiovascular issues. A person who consumes alcohol irresponsibly is also exposed to psychological issues such as depression. In addition, the resultant behaviors associated with alcoholism can cause financial and legal issues. Excessive consumption of alcohol also causes some changes in behavior, which can be detrimental to the social health of the consumer. For example, people who consume excess alcohol tend to be aggressive and violent (Connor, Haber, & Hall, 2016). Alcohol also increases the risk of victimization through sexual and physical violence. It can also increase the risk of accidents.

Differentiating Models Explaining Alcohol Dependence

There are various models that explain the mechanisms through which people develop alcohol dependence; the impaired model, the moral model, the alcoholics anonymous model, the psychoanalytic model, and the family interaction model.

The impaired model of chemical dependence argues that some people are just the way they are for unknown reasons. According to this model, alcoholics are just impaired people, and achieving real change with them may not be possible. This model eliminates the need for treatment because it groups people with chemical dependence as inherently impaired (Doweiko, 2011). On the other hand, the moral model argues that alcohol and other chemical dependencies are a result of a moral failure. The failure of a person to do what is right is what leads to them having an addiction. Unlike the impaired model, this model argues that people with chemical dependency can be treated. Treatment, according to the moral model, involves strengthening a person’s motivation to act in an upright manner (Doweiko, 2011).

The alcoholics anonymous model of addiction argues that alcoholism is a progressive and often fatal disease. Similar to the impaired model, the alcoholics anonymous model posits that alcoholism is incurable (Doweiko, 2011). Therefore, people who have been diagnosed with this illness join a community with a similar illness to enhance their tolerance so that they can live without the use of the substance. The psychoanalytic model argues that addiction is a result of repressed and conscious beliefs and desires. People are motivated to drink excessively because of their cognitive thinking. Therefore, to treat people with addiction, this model attempts to change their ways of thinking. Lastly, the family interaction model looks at addiction as a disease that affects an entire family and not just an individual. This model argues that maladaptive behaviors are reinforced by a person’s family interactions (Potter-Efron & Potter-Efron, 2016). Therefore, this model attempts to improve family interactions to treat addiction.

Biological, psychological, sociological, familial, and spiritual manifestations of alcohol dependency

            Alcohol dependence manifests itself in various ways including biological, psychological, sociological, familial, and spiritual. The biological manifestations are the physical signs that a person may have alcohol dependence. Some of the physical signs of alcoholism include tremors, seizures, nausea, restlessness, a racing heart, and sweating (Becker, 2012). Psychological manifestations ae the mental changes that take place when a person develops alcohol dependence. A person who is addicted to alcohol may have anxiety or depression. In some cases, they experience delusions and hallucinations.

The sociological effects of alcohol dependence represent the impacts of the dependence on society. People with alcohol dependence issues tend to be a burden to society. Their behaviors have detrimental effects on the people around them (Rhem et al., 2012). For instance, alcoholics may engage in high-risk behaviors such as drinking while under the influence of the substance, leading to accidents that can harm or even kill others. They also create an economic burden by causing the spending of billions of dollars on the treatment of their condition and other resultant conditions. People with alcohol dependence also experience some significant familial effects. For instance, they can be an emotional burden to their family members causing them stress, fear, worry, anxiety, or depression. They are also more likely to be aggressive and violent compared to people without an addiction (Rhem et al., 2012). Therefore, they can cause their families physical harm. They can also cause familial instability that can affect children negatively. Alcoholism is one of the most common causes of divorce and separation, which is often unhealthy both for adults and children. Therefore, it is important that alcohol dependence is controlled before all these negative effects are experienced by the victim, the people around them, and society.

Evaluation instruments and their application to intervention, referral, placement, treatment approaches/techniques, and after-care

            There are various tools that can be used to screen alcohol abuse for an intervention and treatment approach to be developed. One of the screening tests is the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). This is a screening tool that was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) aiming at identifying harmful patterns of alcohol use (Chishinga et al., 2011). This assessment instrument helps to identify the existence of an alcohol use issue as well as the cause of the illness. Therefore, treatment approaches that are developed based on this model can focus on the factors that cause the alcohol use disorder.

Another tool that can be used to evaluate alcohol addiction is the NIDA Quick Screen. This tool is appropriate for people above the age of 18 (Chishinga et al., 2011). This tool identifies the presence of a substance use disorder as well as the risk level of the disorder. By evaluating the risk level, this model helps to define the appropriate intervention and referral of the patient so that they can get the appropriate treatment depending on the severity of their illness.

Another useful evaluation approach for alcohol use disorders is the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT). This is an integrated model whose main focus is early identification of an alcohol use disorder (Madras et al., 2009). The key focus of this model is to identify the illness in its early stages because some models only focus on the advanced level of alcohol dependence. Therefore, the model is useful in the development of an intervention for alcohol abuse in its early stages before the serious impacts have been experienced.

How issues related to alcohol dependence apply to specific special populations

            Alcohol dependence is a problem that affects all members of the population. However, some population groups may be more vulnerable to this problem than others because of a number of reasons. One of the vulnerable populations that is affected by alcohol dependence is the elderly population. According to Caputo et al. (2012), around 1-3% of elderly people are affected by alcohol dependence. Elderly alcoholics experience a lot of problems that are more serious than younger alcoholics. For instance, the progression of tissue damage in elderly people as a result of excessive consumption of alcohol is much faster than in younger people. Additionally, around 20% of elderly people with alcohol dependence issues experience a depression comorbidity. Therefore, psychological, and pharmacological treatment options that apply to this population are important.

Another population group of focus when it comes to alcohol use disorders is the women. Alcohol dependence has commonly been associated with men due to the significant gender gap in the epidemiology of this disorder. Evidence from recent studies shows a closing gap in alcohol dependence between men and women. This means that this is no longer a male problem but also affects women. Therefore, it is essential that new treatments that focus on the issues that affect women and might lead to alcoholism are developed.

People who have been deployed to the military have also been identified as a vulnerable population to alcohol dependence. Alcohol dependence is a common psychiatric comorbidity with other mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression among people who have been in military combat. Binge and heavy drinking by military members was found to be common by Jacobson et al. (2008). Therefore, it is recommended that this be a population of focus when developing alcohol dependence interventions.


Becker, H. C. (2012). Effects of alcohol dependence and withdrawal on stress responsiveness and alcohol consumption. Alcohol research: current reviews, 34(4), 448.

Caputo, F., Vignoli, T., Leggio, L., Addolorato, G., Zoli, G., & Bernardi, M. (2012). Alcohol use disorders in the elderly: a brief overview from epidemiology to treatment options. Experimental gerontology, 47(6), 411-416.

CDC (2018). Excessive drinking is draining the U.S. economy. Retrieved from:

Chishinga, N., Kinyanda, E., Weiss, H. A., Patel, V., Ayles, H., & Seedat, S. (2011). Validation of brief screening tools for depressive and alcohol use disorders among TB and HIV patients in primary care in Zambia. BMC psychiatry, 11(1), 75.

Connor, J. P., Haber, P. S., & Hall, W. D. (2016). Alcohol use disorders. The Lancet, 387(10022), 988-998.

Doweiko, H. (2011). Concepts of chemical dependency. Nelson Education.

Jacobson, I. G., Ryan, M. A., Hooper, T. I., Smith, T. C., Amoroso, P. J., Boyko, E. J., … & Bell, N. S. (2008). Alcohol use and alcohol-related problems before and after military combat deployment. Jama, 300(6), 663-675.

Keyes, K. M., Grant, B. F., & Hasin, D. S. (2008). Evidence for a closing gender gap in alcohol use, abuse, and dependence in the United States population. Drug and alcohol dependence, 93(1-2), 21-29.

Madras, B. K., Compton, W. M., Avula, D., Stegbauer, T., Stein, J. B., & Clark, H. W. (2009). Screening, brief interventions, referral to treatment (SBIRT) for illicit drug and alcohol use at multiple healthcare sites: comparison at intake and 6 months later. Drug and alcohol dependence, 99(1-3), 280-295.

Potter-Efron, R., & Potter-Efron, P. (2016). Aggression, family violence and chemical dependency. Routledge.

Rehm, J., Shield, K. D., Rehm, M. X., Gmel, G., & Frick, U. (2012). Alcohol consumption, alcohol dependence and attributable burden of disease in Europe. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.


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The Final Exam will consist of all essay questions relevant to the course content, material, readings, discussions, and assignments.  The goal is for you to have gained insight and knowledge relevant to the course outcomes.  Therefore, your Final Exam will reflect on the course outcomes and your understanding of these outcomes by written essay.

Alcohol in the U.S. Society

Alcohol in the U.S. Society

Your Final Exam shall be written in APA format and follow the template provided (attached here to this announcement).  You will need to provide a minimum of two (2) references for each question, which is a total of ten (10) references.  APA format is written in Times New Roman 12-point font.  The Final exam shall consist of a minimum of five (5) pages, one (1) page for each question (outcome).

Final Exam Essay Questions (Outcomes):

  1. Distinguish symptoms of alcohol-related substance use disorders and summarize the economic, personal, and societal cost of alcoholism in the United States.
  2. Differentiate and evaluate the various models explaining alcohol dependence.
  3. Analyze biological, psychological, sociological, familial, and spiritual manifestations of alcohol dependency.
  4. Examine various evaluation instruments and their application to intervention, referral, placement, treatment approaches/techniques, and after-care.
  5. Evaluate how issues related to alcohol dependence apply to specific special populations (e.g. women, adolescents, college students, elderly, workplace, military, etc.)

When you have finished, make sure that the Final Exam is saved as a Word document (.doc or .docx)

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