There isn’t a single, clear-cut reason why some people have alcohol issues. Numerous studies examining the psychosocial origins of alcohol use have shown various ways to engage in harmful behaviour that includes alcohol use. Alcohol consumption is caused by a combination of biological and psychological variables, and it is wrong to think of these elements as fighting with each other. Instead, it’s helpful to think of alcohol abuse and alcoholism culminating in various biopsychosocial factors (Engel et al., 2021). There is an enormous amount of alcohol-related behaviour to explain, ranging from essential experimentation to severe dependency. Drinking behaviour may be influenced by multiple circumstances, including one’s initial curiosity, continued regularity, and even one’s eventual desire to abstain from the habit altogether. In addition to the fact that alcohol usage is distinct from alcoholism, researchers have hypothesised that diverse causes may cause various subtypes of alcoholism (Lechner et al., 2020).
People with mental health issues are not the only ones to benefit from using the term “self-medication,” which can explain many of the reasons we drink. Government papers have indicated nothing about how many people use legally accessible alcohol as a mood-altering substance to cover up or cope with emotional issues. In terms of its effects on the chemistry of the brain and other organs and systems of the body, alcohol is poisonous on both the direct and indirect levels (Rachdaoui, and Sarkar, 2017). When a person has a drink, the first thing they experience is a “winding down” or “relaxing” sensation in the brain’s nerve cells (neurons) in reaction to the alcohol. The more alcohol one consumes, the more vulnerable certain sections of the brain become to its effects, and as a result, their behaviour changes. The first drink depresses inhibition-related brain areas in many individuals (but not all). As a result, people speak more and feel more confident in social situations after their first drink. Exaggerated states of feeling (such as rage, withdrawal, despair, or aggression) and uncoordinated motor movements might occur due to increased alcohol consumption. Arousal (which rises) and performance (which doesn’t) are affected by alcohol’s depressing effects on the nervous system.
There is a lot of evidence to suggest that many individuals use alcohol to cope with feelings of anxiety and depression. Using alcohol as a form of self-medicating is shown in this study. Researchers estimated that up to 12 million individuals in the United Kingdom drink to help them relax or conquer symptoms of despair after extrapolating the findings of a recent poll. Using this coping method has the potential for two drawbacks. As a first step, using alcohol to self-medicate may become self-reinforcing. The brain’s messengers’ (neurotransmitters) are depleted due to excessive alcohol use, which alters the brain’s physiology and makes it harder for the brain to combat anxiety naturally (Acuff et al., 2021). In order to alleviate their feelings of anxiousness, the person consumes more alcohol. Alcohol tolerance develops when a person needs gradually larger doses to get the same level of anxiety reduction as before. In addition, it is difficult to maintain the precise quantity of alcohol required to alleviate bad sensations while self-medicating with alcohol. As a depressant, alcohol may quickly return anxious feelings after the initial pleasure of the first drink, making it almost hard to maintain the ideal alcohol balance for anxiety reduction (Neilson et al., 2021). As a result, a quick rise in blood-alcohol levels might be counter-productive when used as a coping mechanism—as with anxiety, drinking to alleviate sadness has the same drawbacks. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter depleted in regular drinkers’ brains, particularly relevant here. It’s a neurotransmitter that has been linked to depression. As a result, depression is exacerbated by serotonin depletion, necessitating ever-increasing amounts of alcohol to alleviate the symptoms. Anxiety and sadness are linked to an increase in alcohol use, which may have a disinhibiting impact on the Central Nervous System and so disclose or intensify our sentiments. As a result, many drinkers have an angry or violent disposition. Alcohol may amplify our emotions of worry and lousy mood if our underlying feelings are such (Hall, 2017).
Objectives / Review Questions
P – To determine the psychological aspects of alcohol consumption in people.
I – To identify the positive and negative effects of alcohol conception
C – To elaborate different reactions of people who consume alcohol
O – To show how alcohol consumption is related to health issues
D – To design a study that will show the real-life examples of alcohol consumption
What are the psychological aspects of alcohol consumption?
Methods of the Review
When cognitive psychology emerged in the early 1970s, scientists had constructed paradigms that could be used to test new theories about the intricacies of cognition. According to these model-driven assessments, 33 to 50% of patients with alcohol use disorders have cognitive or motor deficits that may be detected. Alcoholism detoxification and alcoholism exacerbated by the forgetfulness of Korsakoff’s syndrome (KS), which is the outcome of Wernicke’s encephalopathy, were blacked out by the early theorists-initiated use of test paradigms (WE) (Salvatore, Cho, and Dick, 2017). To examine and identify moderate to severe deficits sustained by alcoholics without KS (i.e., “uncomplicated” alcoholics), researchers used information processing theories, cognitive models, and paradigms that effectively assess specific components of complex activities. In the end, this enormous body of research provided a thorough account of the average recovering chronic alcoholic’s pattern of sparing and impairment, thereby offering a vital knowledge of the functional impairments endured in the context of those limited and beneficial in recovery.
In order to focus one’s research, it is helpful to employ a practical search technique, which may assist one choose the themes and phrases to use during a literature study. PICO is a method used by researchers in the medical field to narrow down clinical concerns. For a systematic review, the methods section of your paper will explain your search strategy, which is essential. Use this strategy to identify most of the studies included in your review. Please take a look at how effectively our search strategy worked as well. PICO has been used to outline the study’s objectives. The goal is to research the effects of immunotherapy on cancer patients by the PICO goals (Griffin et al., 2018).
Study Selection Criteria and Procedures
An inclusion/exclusion criterion will be created to guarantee the articles selected are accurate. No academic papers have been written on the subject of this investigation. Previous research on the topic matter of the present study done before 2017 was not taken into account. The data was gathered from all English-language publications and journals published after 2017. Papers on women’s objectification were prevalent in numerous studies and were brought up often (Sayette, 2017).
Table 1: Inclusion Criteria
(Source: Developed by the learner)
Table 2: Exclusion Criteria
(Source: Created by the learner)
Study Quality Assessment Checklists and Procedures
It is just as vital to assessing the data’s quality to examine it in a systematic review. Since research methodology has inherent biases, the results of substandard studies should be taken with a grain of salt. The systematic review’s final report should mention or exclude this kind of study. The importance of analysing each document’s evidence and preferences cannot be overstated. The CASP tool was designed to be an educational and informative tool in a workshop setting. Cochrane has suggested that the CASP tool be used for qualitative evidence synthesis since it is simple to use even by a novice qualitative researcher (Yoder et al., 2018).
Genetic, physiological, psychological, and social variables all play a part in alcoholism. As a result, not all people are impacted in the same way for each reason. Impulsiveness, poor self-esteem, and the desire for acceptance are among the psychological qualities that might lead to excessive drinking in certain people. Emotional difficulties may be “medicated” with alcohol for certain people. Peer pressure and easy access to alcohol are two examples of environmental and social variables that may significantly impact. Alcoholism is more likely to develop in those who have experienced physical or sexual abuse or poverty (Silva et al., 2017).
Some persons are more susceptible to alcoholism because of their genetic predisposition. According to popular belief, the ability to “hold your booze” actually increases your risk of alcoholism, not decreases it. A family history of alcoholism doesn’t guarantee that children will inevitably have the same issues as their parents. The absence of alcoholism in the home does not guarantee that a kid will not acquire this condition. The situation may spiral out of control if individuals begin to drink too much. Drinking excessively might lead to physiological changes that need further drinking to alleviate pain (Roessler et al., 2017). To lessen or prevent withdrawal symptoms, people who are alcoholics may drink.
A noticeable aspect of alcoholics is that they continue to drink even if they realise that their actions have detrimental effects on their health or mental well-being. Diagnosing alcoholism is now more accessible because of the DSM–inclusion IV’s of the trait described above as diagnostic criteria (Klimas et al., 2018). People with frontal lobe lesions, described as “impulsive, thoughtless, unrestrained, rigid, or ill-mannered,” also meet the description. This constellation of frontal-lobe dysfunction behaviours is familiar among alcoholics, and it might include impaired judgment, muted effect, poor insight, distractibility, cognitive rigidity, and low motivation. Alcoholics tend to exhibit all of these symptoms together.
Creative behavioural testing and functional imaging research increasingly provide empirical evidence for many clinically characterised activities. “Executive functions” refers to a subset of these actions. Among these are working memory (the ability to keep several items in short-term memory for evaluation and modification, such as remembering a string of numbers to perform mental arithmetic), problem-solving, attentional focus (i.e., the ability to attend to one direction and exclude extraneous information from distracting from focus), sequencing and temporal order, as well as attentional focus and problem solving (i.e., putting items into a logical order or prioritising tasks to accomplish throughout the day) (Jumbe, Hamlet, and Meyrick, 2017). When trying to solve an issue, those who are easily distracted by irrelevant information and those who participate in dangerous conduct may have trouble forming and keeping a mental set (a cognitive strategy). That is why alcoholism makes it harder to discover a common theme while solving an issue. People with alcoholism can’t avoid perseverative replying, which is when they provide the same answer that was accurate for one question but is incorrect for the current one.
Considering their impairments in working memory, mental set maintenance, distractibility, and sequencing, it should come as no surprise that alcoholics have difficulty rearranging their daily routines and professional tasks. To compound matters, employees may develop a sense of “learned helplessness” and lose their will to take on new challenges. However, not all alcoholics show impairment in all of these processes, contributing to the variety of ways in which the alcohol dependency syndrome might manifest itself (Jafferany et al., 2018). Recognition of which operations are spared and which ones are affected in a specific individual might offer an experimental foundation for targeted behavioural treatment during recovery.
In the early days of alcoholism research, researchers looked at each risk factor in isolation. Research might concentrate on only one risk factor and uncover differences between children raised by alcohol abusers and non-alcohol abusers. The theory is that this one risk factor could explain why offspring of alcoholics themselves acquire alcoholism. Research on the mechanisms or processes that demonstrate the impact of parental alcoholism on children and the related risk factors has recently become increasingly popular. Mediational models, such as those listed below, give an overall understanding of how certain risk variables interact in a person’s life to lead to alcohol consumption or addiction (Dunbar et al., 2017). A model’s ability to explain the link between parental alcoholism and their children’s drinking issues must be shown, and this can only be done if it can be shown that persons with the most significant levels of the risk factor are also the ones who are most prone to acquire drinking problems. These models may now be tested because of recent breakthroughs in statistical approaches. “Deviance proneness,” “negative affectivity,” and “sensitivity to the effects of alcohol” are three main categories of theoretical models that give a foundation for investigating the transmission of alcoholism from parent to kid. The following hypothetical models are not mutually exclusive but somewhat interconnected and interactive.
Family alcoholism comes in various shapes and sizes, which may affect how offspring of alcoholics fare when it comes to developing their alcohol-related issues. The kind and severity of psychopathology linked with alcohol addiction have been defined as two distinct categories of alcoholism: antisocial personality and affective disorders such as depression. According to recent research, the presence of a family history of alcoholism may impact a child’s likelihood of developing psychological traits linked to an increased risk of alcoholism (Bulbena et al., 2017). Researchers recently identified three subtypes of familial alcoholism risk: one with low levels of other psychopathology, one with high levels of both familial alcoholism and familial antisocial personality and violence, and one with high levels of familial alcoholism along with depression, mania, and anxiety disorders. Young adults from families with a history of alcoholism were more likely to have alcohol issues than their contemporaries, who had no such background. There were also disparities among the families regarding offspring’s antisociality and negative affect (anxiety, sadness, and neuroticism), with the kids of the families with alcoholism and antisocial personalities having the most significant levels of these traits.
Mediation models for “alcohol impacts” hypothesise that offspring of alcoholics are more sensitive to the stress response-delaying benefits of alcohol and less susceptible to the adverse effects of alcohol (such as body sway and intoxication). Only a few studies have examined the efficacy of mediational models. There was a difference in the alcohol tolerance of young males with and without a family history of alcoholism in one research, but this difference was not statistically significant. Men in the bottom 15% of response rates were more likely to be diagnosed with alcoholism eight years later. The EEG responses of young males with a family history of drinking were lower than those of other participants in another investigation. Men who had lesser EEG responses had a higher chance of becoming alcoholics themselves.
According to some studies, small quantities of alcohol may have favourable benefits on the cardiovascular system. However, it is well accepted that excessive drinking may cause health concerns. These include hangovers, blackouts, and memory loss. Stomach difficulties, heart problems, cancer, brain damage, significant memory loss, and liver cirrhosis are long-term concerns connected with frequent drinking. In addition, the likelihood of dying in a car accident, among a murder, or by suicide is significantly increased in heavy drinkers. Alcoholism is more common among males than women, yet women’s health suffers more even at modest use levels (Jumbe, Hamlet, and Meyrick, 2017). A person’s mental health may be seriously harmed by alcoholism. Alcohol misuse and alcoholism may aggravate or cause additional difficulties, such as memory loss, sadness, or anxiety, in those already suffering from these disorders. Having a problem with alcohol doesn’t simply affect the drinker. Those who live with a chronic alcoholic may encounter domestic abuse. Their children may suffer physical and sexual abuse, neglect, and other forms of maltreatment, all of which may lead to long-term mental health issues. Pregnant women who use alcohol face the danger of harming their foetuses. Accidents and attacks involving alcohol may cause harm or death to close family, friends, and total strangers.
Psychiatrists that specialise in the treatment of alcoholism may assist in various ways. A psychologist may aid the family, or others increase the drinker’s desire to stop drinking before seeking professional treatment. A psychologist might begin by analysing the drinker’s history of mental health issues. The evaluation findings might serve as the first point of reference for the treatment options available to them to assist the problem drinker is going to therapy. Those with drinking issues have a better chance of recovery if they seek treatment as soon as possible. Psychologists may assist individuals in resolving the underlying psychological causes of their problem drinking by using a variety of treatment modalities (Yoder et al., 2018). They include cognitive-behavioural coping skills treatment and motivational improvement therapy. Additionally, 12-Step facilitation techniques help persons with alcoholism use self-help organisations like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
For those struggling with alcoholism, these treatments may help them gain motivation to quit drinking, identify triggers for their drinking, learn new ways to deal with high-risk drinking situations, and build support networks in their communities. The efficacy of all three of these treatments has been shown. 58 per cent of patients who received cognitive-behavioural therapy performed better than those in comparison groups, according to a recent study. Another research found that after alcohol-related emergency department treatment, motivational interventions lowered the frequency and amount of alcohol use among teenagers (Sayette, 2017). As well as a programme dubbed Making Alcoholics Anonymous, Participants’ chances of not drinking alcohol dramatically rose as the process became more straightforward. Anxiety and sadness are common co-occurring illnesses among alcohol abuse issues. Psychologists may also diagnose and treat these “co-occurring” psychological problems. As a result, a psychologist may play a crucial role in organising the numerous health care treatments a patient in therapy gets.
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