Impact of Addiction

Addiction is a chronic illness that could result from medications. When a person is addicted to something, they have no control on how and when they use a substance or an activity, and they become dependent on it to handle everyday life. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) or alcohol addiction is among the leading factors for disability and personal death. Alcohol disorder affects about 4% of the population of adults. In 2016, use of alcohol led to 2.2% of female deaths and about 6% of male deaths, and 2.3% and 8.9% of the disability-adjusted life years among females and males respectively. Alcohol has significantly negative impact on the quality of life and lifespan of individuals with alcohol use disorder and their relations. Alcohol use disorder is an unending illness that is typified by remission and degeneration. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder 5th edition (DSM-V), alcohol use disorder explained as a collection of impairment of the brain functioning and unregulated behavior, including withdrawal, tolerance development, unregulated rising intake, and craving for alcohol.

Causes of Addiction

Social learning theory was initially suggested by Albert Bandura. That was ensued by many years of scholarly investigation into human behavior determinants (Bickel et al., 2018). An essential part of this theory is reciprocal determinism and it suggests that people’s behavior is decided by practical relationships between personal aspects, the outside surroundings, and the actions. Through this theory, drug addiction could be perceived as a result of a functional relationship between a person’s personality traits, drug-centric behaviors, and social environment (Bickel et al., 2018). That is, alcohol addiction may be seen as a constantly evolving bio-psychosocial disease, including magnitude that is both external and internal to the person.


The stimulus response learning theory argues that habit learning is the key to understanding addiction. Pavlov demonstrated that an earlier natural stimulus could later educe a naturally relevant reaction is matched with a naturally related stimulus. These conditioned reflexes are everywhere in the surroundings and they vary from autonomic stimulation educed by a screech of fire alarm to the sexual parts bumps when one looks at an intimate spouse in different phases of undressing. In the majority of cases, such kinds of relations are naturally adaptive to a being, getting it ready it to react to events in its surroundings that are important for its life. For the person who consumes drugs, each of their intake is associated with the settings context with a multitude of incentives that become operationally associated with the drug through Pavlovian methods (Bickel et al., 2018). The stimuli can comprise the equipment required for the administration or preparation of the drug, the place where it is taken, and persons present who may be involved in the use of the drug or not. The Pavlovian associations may inspire drug administration by raising the enticement salience for signs that project drug intake (Bickel et al., 2018). The stimuli are also responsible for degeneration through the induction of desire in the person, even following a long time of self-restraint. In fact, “signal-induced desire” is deemed a persistent barrier for lasting healing sustained somberness. However, persons do more than react to stimuli related to drugs. They look for drugs, test them, and use them without any pharmacological records. In stimulus response learning theory, the consequences of a behavior are less critical, and the stimulus brings out a routine response. The theory predicts that alcohol users will describe alcohol consumption as habitual or uncontrollable.

Positive reinforcement, according to the classical learning theory, is possibly the most familiar preclinical addiction theory (Bickel et al., 2018). The theory argues that alcohol users will use alcohol because they enjoy the feeling of using it. Organisms containing the central nervous system behave even without stimuli. B.F Skinner asserted that incidents in the settings that eventually choose and sustain emitted conduct. Skinner stated that human beings do not merely react to the surroundings; they act in a manner to function on the surroundings to produce outcomes (Bickel et al., 2018). Thus, Skinner initiated another kind of conditioning –operant conditioning. In operant conditioning, behavior is decided by the consequences following it, instead of the precursor stimuli that go before it. Using punishment and reinforcement, actions are selected with their consequences (Bickel et al., 2018). That implies that, all goal-directed actions are determined by the history of a person with the environmental eventualities comparable to those used in the surroundings in that particular moment. Skinner was decisive in noting the significance of determining the operational relations that regulate behavior-especially those that function in a person’s surroundings (Bickel et al., 2018). Therefore, alcohol addiction can be explained by the reinforcement created through the consequences generated by consuming alcohol. An individual is inspired to consume alcohol by his history of the consequences he experienced previously after taking it.

Impacts of addiction

Brain shrinkage is a regular indication of brain damage caused by alcohol. Research has demonstrated that alcoholic individuals have a meaningful shrinkage of their brains than non-alcoholic persons (Obad et al., 2018). In the same way, alcohol consumption leads to memory impairment and learning abilities. Research has also indicated a higher susceptibility to such health issues in women than in men, thus women are more vulnerable. Besides, the overall effect of alcoholism on the brain can be harmful to the cerebellum. Damage to the cerebellum usually results in loss of muscular harmonization (Obad et al., 2018). The staggering walk as well as its related imbalance is a sign of the loss of muscular coordination caused by cerebellar damage. The effect of alcohol could increase to the peripheral nervous system resulting in peripheral neuropathy, which is revealed as weakness and numbness in the feet and hands.

Another recognizable impact of alcoholism is Korsakoff’s syndrome. The syndrome is characterized with memory loss with hardships recalling daily activities briefly following their occurrence, which they are stuck in the old memories (Obad et al., 2018). The medical signs of the Korsakoff’s syndrome are alleged to be impacted by genetic makeup of alcohol addicts, who may be predisposed to developing numerous kinds of amnesia. Moreover, some of these patients cannot process thiamine appropriately or vitamin B successfully because of an enzyme deficiency. The high consumption of alcohol and low utility of thiamine can cause brain damage, which results in amnesia. Although an alcoholic may experience amnesia, it does not directly influence their enduring memory, which includes their intelligence, and memories built before the development of the illness.

Regarding neuropsychiatric disorders, consumption of alcohol has by far the most impact on alcohol dependence risk. Nonetheless, alcohol has been associated with essentially all mental disorders (Rehm, 2015). Consequently, mental disorders may be as a result of alcohol use disorder or alcohol addiction, alcohol use disorders may be due to other mental disorders or other variables may be the cause of both alcohol use disorders and other mental illnesses. This complicated relationship makes it complicated to determine the proportion of mental illnesses caused by alcohol consumption (Hertel et al., 2019). The connection between epilepsy and alcohol consumption is much obvious. There is considerable proof that alcohol consumption can lead to unnecessary seizures, and researchers have established reasonable ways that may cause this association. Most of the significant studies have established a high percentage of serious alcohol users with epilepsy are alcohol dependent.

Social and Cultural Factors

Social economic status

Social economic status is among the numerous factors that impact an individual’s alcohol use and its associated outcomes. Studies have shown that people of high socioeconomic status may consume higher or similar amounts of alcohol than those of lower socioeconomic status, although the latter appears to bear disproportionate weight of negative alcohol-connected consequences (Collins, 2016). Such associations are complicated further by different moderating aspects, such as gender, race, and ethnicity. Therefore people of lower socioeconomic status, who are members of marginalized communities, like ethnic and race minorities, as well as homeless people, experience high alcohol-connected consequences. The Center for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) carried out a population-based research of the relationship between Heavy Episodic Drinking (HED) and several variables related to socioeconomic status among adults. The results of the study demonstrated that people with no high school education and of low income have the least HED prevalence. The prevalence of HED increased with increase in household income. However, among the participants who were engaged in HED, those with the lowest income and education levels, showed the greatest HED frequency and the highest alcohol quantity per occasion.


Consumption of alcohol affects the female body different from the male body. That is due to lower levels of dehydrogenase enzymes in female bodies, together with higher water/fat ratio of a women’s body (Milic et al., 2018). These two factors lead to a quick increase in alcohol levels after consumption in females than in males. Females are thus more vulnerable to harmful effects of alcohol, and thus they tend to develop alcohol-associated illnesses at an earlier age than men. The disparity between women’s and men’s rates of alcohol intake decreases with age, particularly in the two decades (Milic et al., 2018). Depression and stress associated with menopause may prompt the beginning of alcohol addiction. Moreover, because of social disgrace, women tend to experience more trouble accessing treatment and recovering from alcohol addiction than men.

Impact upon the Family and Intimate Relationships

Problems caused by alcohol addiction negatively affect family members, leading to high levels of domestic violence, interpersonal conflicts, child abuse, separation, negligence, legal and financial difficulties, as well as parent inadequacy (Dos & Pillon, 2015). Besides, children brought up in families where members are addicted to alcohol are also at a high risk of sexual and physical abuse (Dos & Pillon, 2015). Families with members suffering from alcohol use disorder normally indicate a transmission pattern of alcohol abuse and other related psychiatric illnesses across several generations.

Alcohol addiction has negative impact on intimate relationships, including fighting among partners, unplanned sex, and unprotected sex.  Research has shown such relational behaviors are common among people with alcohol use disorder than among those without (Leve et al., 2016).  In females, the secondary effects of someone else’s alcohol abuse were such that a fifth of women obtained unnecessary sexual advances. A cross-sectional survey by Fischer et al. established that excessive alcohol drinking by college students was negatively related toquality datingrelationships (Leve et al., 2016). Alcohol use disorder thus results in negative impacts on intimate relationships.

Models of Addiction

Character or psychological Logical Model

Based on this model, an abnormal personality character is what leads to addiction. There are levels of psychological and personal defects that dispose a person to such addictive personality characteristics. Poor coping mechanisms, deprived impulse control, having to be in full control, but feeling hopeless, and powerless, and showing big ego, are characteristics of an addictive personality (Bickel et al., 2018). Modeling impacts are when a person is in a stressful circumstance, such as a work problem, they tend to consume alcohol. The person is usually influenced by the indications of their previous association with alcohol and confidence in self. However, the impact is that every psychological event is followed by another psychological opposite event. For example, when one finds pleasure from consumption of alcohol, the opposite course of withdrawal will follow.

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Social education model

Training and operant conditioning are the principles of social education model. The model argues that environment plays a critical role in addiction behaviors (Bickel et al., 2018). Socialization processes and observation forms the basis of addiction behavior. In this model, the impact of addiction will be influencing people and the society towards alcohol addiction.


Alcohol use disorder is as a result of learned habits. According to stimulus response learning theory habit learning is important to understanding addiction. The theory explains that alcohol addiction is as a result of uncontrollable or habitual use of alcohol. Positive reinforcement causes addiction because of the consequences of the act of drinking alcohol. Alcohol addiction has been shown to be an illness that affects the body. Alcohol affects a person’s brain leading to loss of muscular coordination, Korsakoff’s syndrome, and mental disorders. Alcohol use disorder also impacts families and intimate relationships since one stop to function normally. Studies have shown that people of lower socioeconomic status appears to bear uneven weight of negative alcohol-connected consequences. Alcohol addiction impacts both an individual and the society by increasing the rate of the disorder.


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