There is a rich body of literature that deals with intervention approaches for the large population that have problems with alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse appears to be a grave situation, considering the huge number of adolescents who have a problem with alcohol and substance abuse.
Thus, “[i]n 2002, an estimated 10.7 million American youths, 28.8% of total youths 12–20 years old, were current drinkers” (Society for the Study of Addiction, 2004).
The gravity of the problem is underscored by the huge part of the statistics to belong to binge and heavy drinkers. The “US National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2002” estimated that 7.2 million adolescents are binge drinkers, while 2.3 million adolescents are heavy drinkers. Heavy drinkers are those who consumed more than four drinks in five different days in the past 30 days.
The staggering figures lead to the conclusion that there is serious public health problem among the youth with respect to their alcohol consumption.
This problem extends to serious behavioral disorders resulting from alcohol consumption, such as alcoholism. The problem is even more serious because disorders that are related to alcohol abuse are likely to become “chronic and to persist into adulthood” (Society for the Study of Addiction, 2004).
The problem with adolescent alcohol abuse has led to the development of various treatments, both in the private and public healthcare systems. These treatments often range from adolescent to adult care.
However, treatment cares often result in relapse in 50-70 percent of affected adolescents. Therefore, there is a need for systematic approaches that are tailored to meet the specific needs and limitations of the target population, which is the youth (Society for the Study of Addiction, 2004).
Treatments require appropriate diagnostic criteria in assessing alcohol use patterns of adolescents. For example, current drinkers may be determined by using the criterion that the person “consumed at least one drink in the past 30 days” (Society for the Study of Addiction, 2004).
Moreover, there is a need to develop a framework within which “alcohol-related pathology” could be accounted for in the adolescent stage of a person’s life (Society for the Study of Addiction, 2004).
The literature on the subject also has a huge space for the role of support groups in the prevention and therapy for people who have problems with alcohol abuse.
The article entitled Society for the Study of Addiction (2004) cites Liddle (2004), who reviewed therapies involving the family of the adolescent who has problems in alcohol and drug abuse. There are suggestions to develop “adolescent focused, family-based therapies for substance abuse” (Society for the Study of Addiction, 2004).
Family-based therapies are believed to be effective for the helpful recovery of alcohol-dependent adolescent. Family-based therapies often analyze “videotaped in-therapy sessions.” Such records help in the identification of problems and issues, and serve as bases for change and treatment (Society for the Study of Addiction, 2004).
This article is useful because it points out how important it is to first determine the extent of the problem before attempting to solve it. In the case of alcoholic adolescents, there is a need to first know the needs and limitations of each person and proceed from there. Intervention strategies, such as family-based therapies, should factor in such details in order to be effective.
Videotaped therapy sessions are also helpful because they allow all stakeholders, such as the alcohol-dependent person, his family, and the therapist, to have a clear perspective of the situation, through observation from a different angle. Finally, family members could be effective in helping adolescent alcohol dependents by providing moral support.
Another article focuses on the “pragmatic aspect of the therapeutic process taking place” in the weekly-held meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. It also discusses how the fellowship had grown into a worldwide phenomenon since its inception in the 1930s (Arminen, 1998).
Alcoholics Anonymous, which is described as a “therapeutic fellowship for those who are prone to addictions and over consumption of alcohol and other substances” (Arminen, 1998), encourages therapy through situated interaction. It’s motto is “one day at a time”, which emphasizes that the attainment of sobriety is uncertain, but reachable (Arminen, 1998).
Analysis of the style of sharing implemented in meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous led to the observation that speakers refer to speakers in previous meetings to show how the speakers are aligned. Moreover, this style has significant value as social devices that maintain the fragile relationship between members (Arminen, 1998).
This article is useful in showing effective methods of dealing with alcoholism as a group, rather than as individuals. It shows how a method that deals with the problem one day at a time could achieve results. Furthermore, this article points out how Alcoholics Anonymous uses social devices to meet the goal of addressing alcoholism.
Another article on the subject was written by Linsky in 1970 – 1971. It is an exposition of the public’s views on alcoholism, as manifested by themes of articles and images featured in popular magazines. Generally, alcoholism was viewed as a form of social deviance. However, in the twentieth century, society’s views on alcoholics were redefined. The article notes that changes in society’s views on alcoholism also influenced the treatment options available to alcoholics (Linsky, 1970-1971).
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