Question 1: Comparing alcohol problems in the United States among adolescents and adults as compared to the 1970s in the United States as well as other societies today
Viewing the long-term per capita alcohol consumption in any community or society provides the historical outlook of the alcoholic beverage consumption among the members of that particular community or society. Currently, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism publishes the annual surveillance report on the per capita ethanol consumption. Te results of these reports indicate that, considering three alcoholic beverages such as spirits, wine, and beer, the historical trends indicate that the consumption of these beverages has significantly risen in the years between the 1970s and today. The Alcohol Epidemiology Program concluded that the changes in attitudes about the use of alcohol, historical events and policy trends, changes in cultural factors, and changes in the social and economic lifestyles have led to the increasing per capita ethanol consumption in the United States.
During the past fifty years, Americans consumed large volumes of beer, followed by spirits, and wine (NIAAA, NIH). However, beer consumption declined during the 1980s albeit at a slower rate compared to those of spirits and wines. Further research indicate that the consumption of beer and wine between 1984 and 1995 have remained significantly high despite the reduction of the consumption of spirits in the same periods. Considering the age and gender factor, the males at all ages consume much alcohol than the females do. The trend is highest between the ages of 25 and 55 with an average percentage consumption of about 80 percent. Research also indicates that more ladies drink between 18 and 24 years as compared to older females above 55 years, a phenomenon, which seems the reverse in males.
Alcohol consumption by different age groups and gender varies differently with the variation in countries and cultures, over time, and in varied population settings within a country. These variations are based on different factors including drinking habits of a given population, the cultures and attitudes towards drinking, the historical, economic, and social circumstances affecting the population, and alcohol control measures imposed by the governments. Despite the previous high alcohol consumption rates in European countries such as France and Portugal, which are wine producing economies, the current alcohol consumption rates in these countries has greatly reduced compared to the United States. Turkey is also one of the least ranking countries in alcohol consumption.
Question 2: Social, psychological, and biological causes of alcohol addiction
Biological: there are varied causes of alcoholism. Biological causes refer to the genetic inheritance, which exposes an individual to addiction through reducing the range of options that the individual can choose from them, thereby making these people vulnerable to serious alcohol addiction. However, critics argue that alcohol addiction is behavioral and can be controlled through behavioral therapies.
Social: social conditions such as peer pressure, social statuses such as unemployment or living standards, and social environment can lead to drinking habits in an individual. However, the social environment is responsible for shaping the individual’s decisions about alcohol such as their attitudes. The family is a very important unit that governs behavior of its members. Social institutions such as the family, schools, and religious institutions ensure that individuals either stop or continue drinking, depending on how they handle alcoholism situations.
Psychological: psychological conditions such as disorders including depression, bipolar, low-self esteem, and schizophrenia as well as mental issues and physical or sexual abuse exposes individuals to alcoholism and its serious addiction problems. Situations such as depression or low self-esteem cause individuals to turn to alcohol to lift the former. Treating the psychologically initiated alcoholism also entails treating the psychological disorders alongside alcoholism because treating either and neglecting the other might result in relapse, thereby hindering treatment.
Considering the severity of these causes of alcoholism, psychological causes, social and biological causes result into alcoholism with reducing severity respectively. While genetic-alcohol causation cannot be proved, social and psychological issues are dominant in the society today.
Question 3: impact of family environment and/or genetic influences on drinking problems among Children of Alcoholics
Considering the genetic and environmental causes of alcoholism, children of alcoholics are exposed to alcoholic conditions at the family, which may result into alcoholism in these children. These children see their parents either drunk or take alcohol and live with this reality. While few children feel embarrassed at these scenes and reject alcoholic behavior, research indicates that, most children will adapt their parents’ behaviors and later become alcoholics. However, there are other responsible factors such as peer environment and other environments such as school and religious environments, which constantly control the children’s alcoholism. On the other hand genetic influences ensure that children inherit the genetic traits from their parents. In this regard, the alcoholism genes might be transferred to some or all of the children in an alcoholic family, thereby making these children alcoholics too.
Question 4: the fundamental differences between the “objectivist” and the “constructionist” perspectives on alcohol problems
The objectivist perspective focuses on the threatening or harmful conditions related to alcoholism, which can be measured empirically using objective scientific methods. For instance, this viewpoint focuses on the deaths, injuries, mental disorders, and family separations that result from alcohol related issues. The social problems identified in this perspective include the economic, medical, and social consequences that face individuals with alcohol addiction problems, which also include theft for sustainable drinking. On the other hand, the constructionist perspective shifts the focus away from the harmful conditions related to alcohol. This perspective is majorly concerned with claims making about alcohol problems. While the former focuses on the results or consequences of alcoholism, the latter focuses on the causes of the same.
Question 5: the typical drinking patterns of Jews and Conservative Protestants (e.g., Southern Baptists, Mormons) differ with regard to (1) rates of alcohol use and (2) rates of drinking problems
The major difference in the alcohol use in Jews and conservative protestants is the fact that alcohol/wine is used in several occasion including religious functions and celebrations. The religious functions performed by alcohol in some of these religions are sometimes reserved for the ministers and dignitaries. This has influence the alcohol problems faced in these societies, thereby branding members of these communities alcoholics because they drink regularly. Nevertheless, the alcohol related problems witnessed by the members of these societies do not affect their families to a greater extent as witnessed in individuals who drink due to psychological and genetic factors. They also differ from some social conditions such as mental disorders or environmental conditions such as peer pressure.