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Free Example of Chemical Use Assessment Essay

Jay was born to Don and Beth in 2nd May, 1991. There were no complications with the pregnancy till delivery. Jay developed into a jovial kid and had a bright future. He excelled in his academics maintaining straight A with little effort. His problems began when he performed dismally in his first year in college. The parents are aware of his drinking problems and they know it might cost him his career of being a chemical engineer. However, jay does not seem to realize he has a problem and only attends treatment after his parents threaten to withdraw paying his college fees. His parents are learned with his father working as a neurosurgeon while his mother is a research scientist. Jay’s father was a heavy drinker, but quit 3 years ago when he found out that his son had a similar problem.

Both parents have a family history of addictive behavior. When Jay begun drinking at the age of 12, the parents thought it was experimental as was common with teenagers. As he grew older, they became more concerned. Their worries grew when Jay, at the age of 16, caused a vehicular accident leading to suspension of his driver’s license and DUI. This is the incident that made his father quit drinking in a bid to help him. However, Jay protested his license suspension claiming several of his friends were in the same situation. After attending AA with his parents for 3 months, Jay quit.

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Currently, Jay drinks at least a 12 pack on weekends with his friends. He always looks forward for the long weekends and blames his poor academic performance on boring classes. He does not realize that his friends are also trapped in the drinking problem. He broke up with his girlfriend of two years and is willing to do anything to win her back. This made him attend counseling sessions even though he is not convinced he has a drinking problem. Jay also spends close to 30% of the money given to him by his parents on alcohol.


Indicators of Abuse/Addiction

Attitude and behavior portrayed by Jay indicated that he is addicted to alcohol. He has developed a reluctant attitude and is always in denial of his condition. Instead of recognizing the effects of alcohol and what it has cost him, he blames those around him for his woes. For instance, he defends the consequences of alcohol regarding the suspension of his driver’s license. He explains that several of his friends have also lost their licenses. He also defends his addiction by claiming that he does not drink all the alcohol he buys; instead, his friends do help him in consuming the beer. Jay’s academic performance in college has deteriorated. He still does not see this as a direct influence of alcohol. He blames the professors for their incompetence, making the class boring and dump.

Jay is ignorant of his friends’ behaviors and assumes they have no problem. He uses alcohol periodically, especially during the long weekends that run from Thursday to Monday. He does not mind sharing his beer with these friends who are too willing to accompany him. In most occasions, they consume more alcohol than intended. This is an indicator that he is addicted to alcohol and cannot do anything without it. It only started as a habit when Jay was 12 years and has developed with time jeopardizing his relationship and career.

Chemical dependency starts as a habit that develops over time as is the case with Jay. Genetic disposition may also influence an individual towards addiction. Jay’s family history has cases of addiction. First and foremost, his father was an addict who used to drink heavily. His parents agreed to attend AA with him in acknowledging the addiction that was running in the family. Furthermore, Jay’s paternal and maternal grandfathers were heavily into alcohol. It is believed some genetic traits on substance abuse can trickle down the family line. This may have influenced Jay’s drinking behavior. However, addictive traits can also be acquired through continued substance abuse.

Addicted individuals portray similar characteristics that are similar to Jay’s. They are always preoccupied with the thoughts of consuming more drugs. They anticipate the next time they are going to indulge in substance abuse. Jay serves as a perfect example. He spent most of his money on alcohol. His dismal performance in academics shows his mind was always preoccupied with issues concerning his next drinking spree. Instead of concentrating in class, Jay may have been planning for the coming weekend. Through this, he was also able to create more time for drinking by extending his weekend, which begun on Thursday and ended on Monday. He always thought of his friends whom they drunk together and would not mind using his money to please them. This is an indicator that his addiction may also have been influenced by peer pressure.

Addiction also encourages intoxication and overindulgence. Jay would consume more alcohol than he had planned. He spent more money on alcohol than what his parents could provide. The events leading to his license suspension are also an indicator of the level of intoxication. His girlfriend of two years left him due to his regular abuse of alcohol. Though he sees nothing unusual concerning his condition, Jay is in serious problems and needs help.

Addicts withdraw themselves from the rest of the community. They tend to associate with their fellow addicts and develop negative effects towards those who oppose their behavior. Jay could not concentrate in class, and he developed negative attitude towards the professors. He alienated himself from his classmates leading to his poor performance. Those he considered his friends were his fellow addicts and could not wait to be in their company.

The addiction also cost his relationship with his girlfriend of two years as they could not get along. He blamed his predicaments on those who were against his drinking behavior. His central focus, in life, changed as he was more into alcohol. He did not care about his performance despite being a bright student in his early education.

Effects of Alcohol

Alcoholism controls an individual’s consumption by increasing tolerance and physical dependence on alcohol. These characteristics are what made Jay unable to stop drinking. Furthermore, addiction to alcohol has serious effects on an individual’s mental health. It increases the risk of suicide as well as causing psychiatric disorders. Jay is also at the verge of experiencing depression as a result of his inability to realize his career goals and losing his girlfriend.

There are some physical effects associated with addiction to alcohol. According to American Medical Association (2003), common physical symptoms include liver cirrhosis, epilepsy, pancreatitis, heart disease, polyneuropathy, nutritional deficiencies, alcoholic dementia, sexual dysfunction, peptic ulcers, and can even be fatal. There are also other physical effects that may affect Jay if he continues with his drinking habits. These include increased risk of contracting cancer, alcoholic liver disease, malabsorption, and cardiovascular diseases. Sustained consumption of alcohol can also damage the peripheral nervous system and central nervous system. Testino (2008) argues that immunological effects are likely to occur resulting to skeletal fragility. There is increased possibility to accidental injury.

There is a wide range of mental problems that can affect Jay due to prolonged abuse of alcohol. Excessive and prolonged consumption of alcohol can cause severe cognitive problems. According to Schuckit (1983), alcohol is the second leading cause of dementia responsible for nearly 10 percent of all cases. Excessive consumption of alcohol also interferes with the functioning of the brain, increasingly affecting psychological health over time.

Jay portrayed deterioration in his social skills due to alcoholism. The impairment of social skills is as a result of the neurotoxic effects on the brain caused by alcohol. Uekermann and Daum (2008) argue that facial emotions, theory of mind deficits, and prosody perception problems are some of the social skills impaired by alcohol abuse. This explains why Jay does not care about his career anymore. He also feels that alcohol is not the cause of his failure. Alcoholics also find it difficult to understand humor.

Jay is likely to experience psychiatric disorders if his problem persists. The most common symptoms are depression and anxiety disorders. The symptoms have a tendency to worsen during withdrawal from alcohol, but improve with continued abstinence. Symptoms such as organic brain syndrome, confusion, and psychosis may occur due to abuse of alcohol. However, they can lead to wrong diagnosis such as schizophrenia. Prolonged alcohol abuse may develop or worsen panic disorder. This may affect Jay when he realizes he cannot generate finances for his regular drink, or when it dawns to him that he cannot achieve his career goal.

There are serious social problems associated with alcoholism. These are caused by alcohol’s intoxicating effects and brain pathological changes. Alcohol abuse made Jay commit the accident that led to charges with a DUI, losing his driving license in the process. This shows that alcohol abuse increases an individual’s risk of committing criminal offences. Financial problem adds up to the problems associated with excessive consumption of alcohol. Jay could not budget well the money he was given by his parents as most of it was used in alcohol consumption.

Alcoholism also made Jay lose most of his friends in school. His only friends were those who accompanied him to drink. Unfortunately, he ignored the fact that they also suffered the same drinking problem. Drinking at inappropriate times is another social effect of alcoholism. Jay extended the drinking period by extending his weekends to include Thursday and some part of Monday. He did not participate in social events as all he thought about was alcohol.

Alcoholism also affects those in close contact with the alcoholic. Jay’s girlfriend could not put up with his behavior and decided to leave him as he showed no signs of changing. It seems his girlfriend was asking him to seek professional help for his problem. That is why he decided to visit a counselor to win his girlfriend back.

Jay also experienced strained relationship with his parents. When his parents realized he was becoming an alcoholic, they worried a lot. Jay’s father decided to quit alcohol so as to assist him recover. After attending AA for a period of 3 months, Jay quit claiming that the discussions entailed only war stories. This situation may have further strained relations with his parents.

Withdrawal from alcohol dependence requires proper management as the process can be fatal. According to Chastain (2006), alcohol promotes central nervous system depression through increased stimulation of receptors. Heavy consumption desensitizes these receptors resulting in physical dependence and tolerance. Stopping consumption of alcohol abruptly has severe consequences resulting from uncontrolled synapse firing. The symptoms associated include life threatening seizures, possible heart failure, anxiety, shakes, and hallucinations.


Addiction can be a tough problem to treat. Jay’s problem is complicated in the sense that he does not agree he has a drinking problem. He refused to attend AA after several months as he considered it not helpful. The only situation that made him agree to attend a counseling session was when he wanted to amend fence with his girlfriend. His situation is thus complex as he has to agree he is suffering for him to seek professional help. The professional, who can be a counselor, psychologist, or social worker, will then make diagnosis by examining Jay’s past and present alcohol abuse. The professional may engage Jay’s family or friends. After Jay has agreed to participate fully, the professional may conduct a full medical checkup. This will include tests for diseases common among alcoholics.

The results of diagnosis will then help decide on treatment for Jay’s condition. Medication will help Jay control his alcohol cravings and reduce withdrawal symptoms. Talk therapy will be important in helping Jay develop higher self-esteem, understand his own behavior, and cope better with stress. This talk therapy may be conducted as a one-on-one discussion with a therapist or may involve a group.

In addition to psychotherapy, relapse prevention skills are important when dealing with alcoholic addiction. This helps in dealing with psychological issues. Group counseling that provided mutual help is the most common ways for assisting the alcoholics. These groups provide mutual help as the addicts discuss their situations. This will help Jay realize and accept his drinking situation so that he can maintain sobriety. His will eventually realize that Alcoholic Anonymous was a helpful group, having quit after only 3 months. The organization provides mutual, nonprofessional counseling. Apart from AA, there are other organizations that can be helpful to Jay. These include Secular Organizations for Sobriety, SMART Recovery, and LifeRing Secular Recovery.

There are some programs that do not advocate for complete abstinence. The programs’ mandate moderation and rationing. They include DrinkWise and Moderation Management. However, most alcoholics have failed to limit their drinking through such programs. Therefore, there is less likelihood of Jay recovering through such programs.

Alcohol detoxification can be a sure way of helping Jay with his addiction problem. This should be followed up with substitute drugs that have similar effects to alcohol, such as benzodiazepines, to reduce or prevent alcohol withdrawal. If diagnosis indicates mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms, then Jay should be detoxified as an outpatient. However, severe withdrawal symptoms will necessitate Jay to be treated as an inpatient. According to Blondell (2005), detoxification alone should not be taken as a way of treating alcoholism. There need to be a follow-up program that will incorporate treatments to reduce the possibility of relapse.

Some withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and depression takes quite amount of time; weeks or months. Other symptoms take longer to disappear as a result of persisting neoroadaptations (Heilig, Egli, Crabbe & Becker, 2010). Alcoholism also has severe effects on the functioning of the brain. If Jay’s case is a chronic alcohol abuse, it will take at least a year of abstinence to pull through cognitive deficits.

Maintaining sobriety from alcohol dependency will require Jay to get involved in programs like AA. The groups should consist of Jay’s peers who are in a similar stage of the recovery process. This will enhance mutual aid and support. However, his parents should continue to play the guiding role to ensure full recovery. Successful recovery will make Jay be in good terms with his girlfriend, professors, and he will also be in a position to achieve his goals.

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