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Fryia ENG 4U Date: March 1, 2011 Alcoholism and its Effects on the Family Alcoholism or alcohol dependence syndrome is a disease characterized by compulsive and uncontrollable consumption of alcohol (Parsons). Alcoholism usually begins with the person binge drinking and abusing alcohol. Alcoholism can affect people of any age, background, social or ethnic group. Alcoholism is sometimes referred to as a “family disease” because it greatly affects the family, not just the one consuming the alcohol.

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The person consuming the alcohol can develop cardiovascular disease, chronic pancreatitis, liver disease, damage to the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The long-term effects of alcoholism can basically damage every organ and system in the body. The effects of alcohol on a family can result in violence and financial troubles.

The harmful effects of alcohol not only severely hurt the person consuming it, but negatively affect their family. The most noticeable person affected by alcoholism other than the person drinking, is their spouse.Domestic violence often results when there is an alcoholic in the family. According to G. Berger’s book “Alcoholism and the Family”, 75% of domestic violence cases involve a family member who suffers from alcoholism. Another ways that the spouse is hurt by alcoholism is infidelity, meaning that their alcoholic partner is unfaithful to their marriage. As a result, “most relationships affected by alcoholism end up in divorce” (Foster).

The spouse may also have feelings of hatred, self-pity, and avoid social interaction. They may also become exhausted because they have to do the duties of both parents.The person suffering from alcoholism cannot function well enough to help out with their family. With one parent acting as two, this often causes the non-alcoholic parent to become demanding and neglect their children. All these negative effects are only the effect alcoholism can have on a spouse. Neglect is one of the many effects alcoholism can have on a family’s children. Their suffering can start before they are even born. If the mother is an alcoholic and she drinks during her pregnancy, her child is at risk of being born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).

Children who have FAS are born shorter and underweight.They have deformed brains and skulls. They also have very distinct facial features such as: small eye openings, thin upper lip, long and flat faces, and a long groove in the middle of their upper lip (Parsons). Their central nervous system is damaged also.

These children have to live life with a mental illness all caused by alcoholism. If the child is not born with FAS then they are subject to low self-esteem, guilt, feeling lonely, and depression. These children feel that they are responsible for all the family problems. If the child is young enough and they feel this way they often have nightmares or wet the bed.In older children, the effects are being very obsessed with being perfect, hoard things, and/or be very self-conscious. This combined with school work can cause the teen to suffer from stress and have problems performing well in school. Adult children of alcoholics are affected by their parent’s drinking as well.

They often have behavioural problems like aggression and many are depressed. Adult children also have a hard time establishing a relationship with people around them because they have a constant feeling that they cannot trust anyone. The third reason that alcoholism affects the alcoholic’s family negatively is financial difficulty.

The alcoholic family member may spend much of the family’s income on alcohol, making some of the necessities of living hard to come by. If the alcoholic family member has a job, they may be hung over on a day of work and call in sick, losing any sort of income for that day. Financial problems can also be caused if the alcoholic has been in trouble with the law. The legal fees, like paying for a lawyer may become very difficult to do. Other problems, like damage to the family car or home may not be dealt with because the money to fix the damage is being spent on alcohol.

All these financial issues cause the spouse of the alcoholic to become stressed and wanting to leave. Alcoholism affects the alcoholic’s family more so than the alcoholic themselves. The alcoholic’s spouse, children, and finances are greatly affected and never the same. Although there is help for those who suffer from alcoholism, they are never completely cured from their disease.

Even if they become sober and stay that way for the rest of their life, their family may never be the same. The psychological struggles that the alcoholic’s children went through may be with them for the rest of their life.The harmful effects of alcoholism hurt the alcohol’s family more than the alcoholic themselves. Work Cited Foster, Bethney. “The Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Families | EHow. com.

” EHow | How To Do Just About Everything! | How To Videos & Articles. Web. 19 Feb. 2011. Parsons, Tetyana. “Alcoholism and Its Effect on the Family. ” Psychology Classroom at AllPsych Online. 14 Dec.

2003. Web. 19 Feb. 2011.

. Unknown. “Effects of Alcoholism on Families. ” Alcoholism: Information, Resources, Support Services, and Treatment Options. Web. 19 Feb. 2011.

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