Alcohol Consumption and Abuse


Alcohol abuse involves any consumption of alcohol that is seen as bringing in problems. Thus, based on history, the level of alcohol abuse is very hard to measure for the reason that the identification of alcohol abuse does not just depend on the norms of the society in regard to alcohol but it as well depends on the kind of person who engages in the labeling (Ammerman, Ott, and Tarter 31).

Over time, the way society looks at alcohol, as well as its consumption, has kept on changing in a dramatic way. In the course of Prohibition, most alcohol uses was given a definition as abuse by many individuals, the same way in the current days in which there is a definition by particular groups based in particular religions of alcohol abuse as any level of alcohol consumption. From another view, many students in colleges and those people in the military look at drinking alcohol heavily as something that is suitable and also that this is something that is expected.

Following these views, there can be no proper understanding of alcohol abuse as involving some quantity of alcohol that is specific or the level of how often one consumes alcohol. To have a clear understanding of what alcohol abuse is, there must not be just looking at how one who has consumed alcohol behaves but there should be looking at the historical times as well, the social context within which the consumption is carried out, and the characteristics of the population which the one drinking lives in.

What could be taken as acceptable drinking conduct in the current days in a situation where people are celebrating for seeing a new year would not be taken as acceptable in a business reception situation (Ammerman, Ott, and Tarter, 31). The level of Alcohol abuse will be low in any society where the drinking habits, values, and permissions are clear, are agreed upon, are in line with other traditions of this society, and characterized by recommendations for moderate alcohol consumption and in the absence of these, the level of abuse will be high.

Alcohol Abuse Overview

According to Anonymous (Alcohol abuse, Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, 1), the consumption of alcohol has been practiced by people all over the world. The majority of the people who have been drinking alcohol have not, in general terms, experienced many drinking problems. However, those people who have experienced the drinking problems that are linked to their consumption of alcohol have brought about great costs to society. These costs include medical costs, social costs, and even economic costs. They have also developed complications such as the loss of memory, liver diseases, and negative life events among other complications.

According to Hanson (XIII), all through history, alcoholic drinks have played a significant role among communities all over the world. Many societies have engaged in using alcohol without so many problems associated with it even if, among other few societies, the use of alcohol has turned out to be an issue of public concern. As the prohibition of the consumption of alcohol has not turned out to be successful in the United States of America and any other country, the approach that has been employed is the one aimed at controlling the consumption patterns of the individual which has turned out to be controversial. This has been so for the reason that there has been evidence that even if one engaged in the moderate consumption of alcohol, there are cases where individuals have experienced heart diseases among other diseases that are associated with the consumption of alcohol.

More so, very minimal evidence does exist which shows that the policies put in place to control the consumption of alcohol have a great positive impact regarding bringing down the level of alcohol abuse among individuals. In the case where these policies give prove to be effective in bringing down the level of alcohol consumption among the people who drink lightly and moderately, there can still be a negative effect on the large majority with no counterbalancing positive effect among the minor group of those who drink alcohol who engage in heavy consumption. Hanson (XIV), puts it that there can be no acceptance of a trade-off like this.

Alcohol Abuse at the Work Place

According to Jacobs and Schain (3), taking the case of Alcohol abuse at the workplace, suggestions are given out by research (that has been carried out) that the very nature of the workplace is what makes a major contribution in the building up and never-ceasing existence of the consumption of alcohol among the employees. The strongest indicator that was established by the researchers as being the source of the problem of drinking was the stress the employees experience at the workplace. It was established that those workers who took alcohol to have emotional as well as a mental escape from work have a high likelihood of becoming alcohol abusers than those workers who drink for other reasons by three times. Among the females, the ones who drink to have mental and emotional escape had even a higher likelihood of being alcohol abusers (Jacobs and Schain 3).

According to Jacobs and Schain (3), in a situation wherein the workplace, other workers seem to hide the problems of their colleagues’ drinking, the level of these problems gets even higher. According to the research carried by Cornell University, in the circumstances where there is no disclosing of the drinking behaviors of the drinking employees by their colleagues in a minimal case of one time each month, the likelihood of the drinking problem goes up by 35 percent and in those circumstances where the hiding of this problem takes place every day, the likelihood goes up to 70 percent.

The dilemma faced in such situations is that consumption of alcohol by adult people is a practice that is regarded as legal. Because of this, the situation turns out to be so much complicated when it comes to trying to come up with the best strategies that may assist in dealing with this problem. There can be no control of the workers by the employers especially in the case where the workers are out of the workplace at the time they are through with their day’s work.

Dealing with Alcohol Abuse at the Work Place

Alcohol consumption affects the employee performance at the workplace and the person may not be able to carry out the job effectively assigned to him or her because of the mental, physical as well as emotional incapacitation the person may experience as a consequence of alcohol consumption. However, according to Jacobs and Schain (3), many employers have carried out efforts to deal with this problem by putting in place some programs but this has not been successful. They put it that research has indicated that abusing alcohol greatly affects productivity. This is as well a problem that in most cases initiated or even worsened by the workplace conditions.

The issue of the use of alcohol and its abuse is hard to deal with for the reason that many of the supervisors are not qualified enough to diagnose this problem among the workers and also for the reason that those workers who are troubled may not be forced into getting treatment.

The risk associated with alcohol abuse at the workplace causes it to be vital that business organizations handle this issue by coming up with programs to offer assistance to the workers such as the “Employee Assistance Programs” because it is clear that these programs have the convenience and qualified expertise to deal with this problem.

Alcohol Abuse among Children

According to Glasper (144), Sir Liam Donaldson puts that the young people who commence alcohol consumption at a very young age have a higher likelihood to proceed with the consumption and develop the alcohol problems that follow the consumption. According to Donaldson, more than a half a million children that are between eleven and 15 years old were projected to have taken alcohol by December 2009 in the whole of England and especially having it in mind that this is a festive season which is taken by many people to be a season that is associated with the consumption of alcohol.

This is a major problem with no immediate promising solution and it will go on haunting these young people even as they enter adulthood life. It is estimated that the young people who fall in the age bracket of between eleven and seventeen years totaling up to 7600 are admitted to the hospital in England every year following the complications that result from alcohol abuse.

Even if it is apparent that if the discovery of alcohol was to be carried shortly there could be much control over it, there must be a general acceptance by the people in the society that the existence of alcohol is a result of the human beings having the continual desire to enhance their moods and this is a pursuit that has been there for thousands and thousands of years.

Originally, consuming alcohol was not something to be carried out every day but it was something that was specifically meant to be consumed on special occasions especially when there was a celebration. In the current days, among some societies, alcohol is taken every day, to them each day has turned out to be a day of celebration. Following this pattern, it is no longer complicated to find people drunk; the reason why children develop an appetite for alcohol at an early age and start abusing it.

Early alcohol consumption among the children is also attributed to the absence of monitoring of these children by their parents or other people who are taking care of them. More so, those children who are brought up in environments where there are conflicts and where there are lenient advances to alcohol are all linked to alcohol abuse among adolescents. Subsequently, this brings about inner-city as the adolescents consume large quantities of alcohol that is purchased at very low prices in freestyle in parks and streets (Glasper 144).

Solution for Alcohol Consumption among Children

Glasper (145) suggests that in offering a solution to this problem, the role of parents in obtaining the solution is very important. Other parties such as those who offer health care together with the teachers should work hand in hand with the parents and guardians to ensure that this problem should not go on. This will allow these young people to be able to come up with responsible decisions regarding the consumption of alcohol.

Glasper (145), as well puts it that it is sad the way the society has portrayed negligence about the level at which children have been abusing alcohol and their health ruined to an extent that there has been tripling in the number of those admitted in hospitals following alcohol abuse. Glasper puts forth the vision of Sir Liam Donaldson for the future. It is projected that to have a better future, all the people should get to know how to control the consumption of alcohol rather than them letting alcohol control their lives. This might be viewed by some individuals as a truth that is not convenient but medical evidence presented indicates that there should be no consumption of alcohol among men who are adults over four units regularly and not more than three units among the adult women (Royal College of Physicians of London, Working Party on Alcohol 7).


As it has been considered in the discussion, alcohol consumption has always been there for a long time now. Originally, alcohol consumption was associated with occasions on which people were to celebrate which did not take place often. Over time, this pattern has changed and these days some people among the societies consume alcohol daily leading to its abuse. This daily consumption has also encouraged young people to engage in alcohol abuse seeing the parents and other adult people in society doing the same. Alcohol abuse among these young people has led to many health problems and even their education has been affected greatly.

More so, there has been widespread consumption of alcohol in the workplace where, as result, there has been a reduction in the effectiveness in the way employees carry out their work. On top of these, these workers have also experienced health problems and have even ended up losing their jobs.

To bring down the level of alcohol abuse, there must be clear rules to be followed regarding alcohol consumption by people in the society which are acceptable to all and in line with the norms of the society. In such a case, for instance, alcohol abuse among young people will be prevented especially if the adults serve as the role models by engaging in the responsible consumption of alcohol. More so, people like the employees in companies will be able to cease engaging in alcohol abuse in the case where the drinking habits, values, and permissions are clear, are agreed upon, are in line with other traditions of the company, and are characterized by recommendations for moderate alcohol consumption.

Works Cited

Ammerman Robert, Ott Peggy, and Tarter Ralph. Prevention and societal impact of drug and alcohol abuse. East Sussex: L. Erlbaum Associates, 1999.

Anon. Alcohol abuse: Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and Medicine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Glasper, Alan. Alcohol abuse among young people: the inconvenient truth. British Journal of Nursing (BJN) 19.3 (2010): 144-145.

Hanson, David. Preventing alcohol abuse: alcohol, culture, and control. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1995.

Jacobs, Pearl, and Schain Linda. Alcohol abuse in the workplace: developing a workable plan of action. Research in Business & Economics Journal 2. (2010): 1-9.

Royal College of Physicians of London, Working Party on Alcohol. A great and growing evil: the medical consequences of alcohol abuse. London: Routledge, 1987.