The Impact of AlcoholismEl impacto del alcoholismo

The Impact of Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a disease that does not respect boundaries. Unlike most other diseases, it afflicts not just individual people, but all the social systems alcoholics are a part of, as well. These include friendships, family, workplace, and community.

Impact on the Person

In addition to the everyday concerns we all have, alcoholics must also cope with the many problems caused by their drinking-health problems, family problems, job problems. Alcoholism creates its own world of anguish-anxiety, fear, guilt, anger, insecurity, and resentment. The way alcoholics deal with all this is through denial.

Impact on the Workplace

Alcoholics create excessive safety risks and have unusually high accident rates. Also, their performances decline and they are often absent or tardy. All this costs the company in down time, medical care, and property damage. In addition, alcoholism is often the cause of dissension in the workplace because coworkers have to fill in or cover up for the alcoholic.

Impact on the Family

Alcoholism has a way of bottling up an entire family. Not only does it make the alcoholic sick, it isolates family members from each other and from the world around them. Every alcoholic family has its own mixture of neglect, anger, suspicion, guilt, fear, and abuse that erodes the bonds that hold the family together. Alcoholism is not just the drinker's disease, it is the whole family's disease.

Impact on Society

Alcoholics are more often involved in traffic injuries and fatalities, accidents, fires, child and spouse abuse, homicides, and suicides. The cost in human suffering is incalculable. And alcoholism costs Americans billions of dollars every year in medical expenses, higher automobile insurance premiums, and property damage.

What You Can Do

Whether you are a coworker, family member, or friend, you can help to initiate the alcoholic's recovery. You help by breaking the conspiracy of silence, by learning more about alcoholism and its effects, by knowing the warning signs, and by reaching out for support. Even if the alcoholic refuses to get help, you can help by joining a support group and gathering resources. Also, one of the best things to do is refuse to be an enabler-force the person to take responsibility for his or her own actions.

Date Last Reviewed: 2007-01-15T00:00:00-07:00

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