The Link Between Alcoholism And Stress

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Alcoholism is defined as, “an addiction to the consumption of alcoholic liquor or the mental illness and compulsive behavior resulting from alcohol dependency“. Some signs/symptoms of alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, are nausea, vomiting, blackouts, general discontent, and a lack of restraint. Mentally, it can make you easily agitated, aggressive, fearful, and anxious. Your behavior can become self-destructive. Physically, you can become dizzy, weak, shaky, and you can begin to get cravings. There are a variety of different medications, support groups, and mental health professionals that are trained to help with disorders such as this. There are telephone help-lines with professionals to help and detox rehabilitation centers for more serious cases. Alcoholism is commonly undiagnosed, or missed in the diagnostic process. Patients often are too embarrassed to come forward with information that is vital to the diagnosis. It is most commonly diagnosed by a general practitioner.

Stress is defined as, “​a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances”. A stressor is defined as, “something that causes a state of strain or tension”. Examples of stressors for teens would be too busy of a schedule due to sports and other extracurriculars, a big event that is upcoming such as a concert or a game, an overload of homework from their teachers, and trying to stay up to date with the latest trends. The most accurate definition of stress management that I could find was, “techniques used to control a person’s level of stress, with the goal of improving everyday functioning and motivation”. A few examples of stress management techniques would be keeping a positive attitude, exercise on a regular basis, accept that some things are out of your control, and participating in activities such as meditation and yoga.

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Eustress is defined as, “​moderate or normal psychological stress interpreted as being beneficial for the experiencer”. Some examples of eustress would be a deadline on an assignment, the nervous feeling before a game or a performance, a challenging homework assignment, and pressure to have good hygiene. Distress is defined as, “extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain”. Examples of distress would be the death of a loved one, a fallout with a close friend or relative, parents getting a divorce, an overload of activities and school work that is at a level that could cause depression. 


  • How many people are currently dealing with alcoholism? 
    • There isn’t an exact figure relating to this question, but it is estimated that over half of the cases of alcoholism go undiagnosed, so it is difficult to get an accurate count. 
  • Who is most likely to fall victim to alcoholism? 
    • Almost 6% of people over the age of 18 have dealt with alcoholism. This equates to about 14 million people, which is the largest age group affected. Those ages 16-18 are the next most likely. 
  • How many people die due to alcohol related causes annually? 
    • About 88,000 deaths are deemed alcohol related every year. It is one of the top causes of preventable death in the United States, and only 10,000 of those deaths were from drunk driving. 
  • How prevalent is alcoholism in American families? 
    • In 2012, a study that was conducted concluded that slightly over 10% of households with children within them have at least one parent with problems with alcohol. 
  • What are the consequences of underaged drinking? 
    • With almost one-third of fifteen year olds admitting that they have had at least one drink in their lives, this is a very important question. There are the obvious consequences, such as car crashes from drunk driving, but the less obvious consequence is the fact that those who drink while underaged are much more likely to develop a dependency on alcohol. 
  • Is stress a big deal for teenagers? 
    • Teenagers today are under a massive amount of stress simply due to the redefining of failure. Failure was once viewed as something that you experience, but then learn and move on from. It has now seemingly become unacceptable in today’s society. 
  • How does teen stress compare to the stress experienced by adults? 
    • Mentally, teenagers feel just as much or more stress as adults on average. Where the difference comes is in the physical aspect. Adults reported twice as many physical effects of stress than teenagers. 
  • What groups of people feel the most stress? 
    • In terms of gender, women feel higher levels of stress than men on average. If you look at the numbers by age, the younger the person is, the more stress they are likely to have. 
  • How effectively are people managing their stress? 
    • For teenagers, who are the main focus of this paper, about 30% say they put very little thought into managing their stress, while another 10% say that they never think about stress at all. 
  • What are the most common sources of stress for teens? 
    • Teens are most affected by the stress caused by their school experiences and even more so by their personal relationships. The most important relationships are with their friends, family, and teachers. 

Article Reviews 

The first article I read was called “Alcohol: Teenage and Underage Drinking”. It was written and reviewed by a team of doctors from the Cleveland Clinic. This article was very informative in many ways. It gave many examples by using real life situations, such as high school parties, but it also gave exact numbers and figures such as the amount of calories and the alcohol content in certain alcoholic beverages. One of the few negatives that I could find regarding this article would be its neglect of consequences. It talked very little about the consequences outside of the person that is doing the drinking. I feel as though this would have added a lot more substance to the article and made it more impactful. I would most definitely recommend this article to someone my age who may be dealing with issues similar to these.–underage-drinking 

The article that I chose to cover the stress aspect is called “Why stress happens and how to manage it”. It was written by Adam Felman and medically reviewed by Dr. Timothy J. Legg. This paper goes really in depth on the topic of stress, yet keeps it in terms that make it easy to read and learn about. A great example of this would be the definition and explanation the author gives in relation to episodic acute stress. Just looking at that term would scare most people off, but he describes it as, “a person with too many commitments and poor organization can experience episodic acute stress.” This definition/example makes it very easy to comprehend what the author is trying to say. He does this time and time again throughout the article. One negative that I found is almost a contradiction to my previous statement. There are some terms that would be a little difficult to understand without a prior knowledge of them, and there is very little information on some of these side effects. This would be a great article for anyone who is eager to learn the more intricate details about stress and its associated issues. This wouldn’t be a great article for helping someone who is in dire need of help with their stress. While it may provide helpful insights, it doesn’t really expand on techniques to help in an individual’s situation.–underage-drinking




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