Alcohol addiction is a serious problem in our society, and because the substance is legal many people underestimate the consequences of abusing it. The CDC estimates that about 50 percent of Americans consume alcohol at some point in their lives, with some consuming it to the point where they become addicts and suffer from liver disease and many other health problems. Thousands of people are also killed each year in DUI related accidents. This has left many people wandering whether alcoholism can be controlled, and if so, how?
Is Alcoholism the Result of Disease or Poor Decision Making?
At one time alcohol was made illegal in the United States, but this merely led to the creation of a lucrative black market. Prohibition was ultimately eliminated, which is evidence that legislation is not enough to curtail or stop alcohol abuse. In recent years studies have been conducted to determine whether alcoholism is a disease, or if there is an “alcoholic gene” which is responsible for addiction. To date, scientists have been unable to find this gene, and there is no concrete evidence that alcohol abuse is the result of disease.
This leads to the logical conclusion that alcoholism is a result of choice. This means that alcohol addiction can be controlled, but for this to happen those that drink must make better decisions and exercise greater self-discipline. Some alcohol treatment programs will require applicants to abstain from using the substance for the rest of their lives. While this may be necessary for some, for others it might not be. A better approach would be to teach them the importance of self-discipline and moderation when using alcohol, so that when drinking they know when to stop.
Alcohol Only Becomes a Problem When You Overuse it
Alcohol is distinct from drugs such as crack in that it only becomes a problem when you drink too much. There are many people who drink alcohol in moderation who never have problems related to it, whether they are health or behavioral issues. This is because they don’t drink to the point where they become drunk. Drugs such as crack are dangerous regardless of how little you use, which is one of the reasons why they are illegal.
A good rule of thumb when drinking is this: when you begin to feel a nice buzz, this is the time to stop. A buzz is a basically a sign that the alcohol is beginning to take effect in a way where you can feel it, but you’re still aware of your surroundings and not drunk to the point where you can barely walk. Alcohol addiction can be controlled, but it won’t be fully achieved through government legislation. Citizens must be taught the importance of drinking in moderation and resisting the urge to drink to the point where they are drunk, as this is where the danger of alcohol abuse lies. Ultimately, alcoholism is a phenomenon that can only be controlled by the individual in question.