As mentioned, both Antonio and Ramon described that their need for alcohol increased significantly during times of increased stress. Both related a self-medicating process whereby they utilized alcohol as a means of escape from their worries and troubles. With the accuracy of sober 20/20 hindsight, both men explained how they can now see how this process merely set into motion a vicious cycle. Drinking beget problems and stress, which beget more drinking, and more problems and stress.
In addition, both men indicated that drinking had interrupted their sleep patterns significantly. Staying up until all hours of the night drinking was not an uncommon lifestyle facet, for both men. This often led to passing out in the wee hours of the morning and not awakening until early afternoon or later. Excessive drinking often also led to spontaneous 'naps' in the middle of the day, which would lead to being unable to go to sleep at a normal hour that evening. This disruptive sleep schedule, as noted earlier had significantly negative impact on their employment, as well as their family lives.
Neither man had ever been addressed about their drinking, by their physician. Both actually indicated that they rarely visited their doctor, during that time of their life. For them, there was a feeling of invincibility, a mistaken sense of control, when there really was a complete lack. In addition, neither man had been hospitalized or institutionalized on account of their drinking. Although Antonio had been in a car accident, due to his drinking, his injuries were minor and had not warranted professional medical care. Neither men sought out rehabilitative help for their drinking problem via a hospital or institutionalized setting.
Interviews in Correlation to Literature Review:
The interviews brought to light the more personal side of alcoholism, in contrast to the research performed that was overviewed in the literature review. The interviews delved into the effects and consequences of alcoholism for not only the alcoholic, but also their family members and their employers. It brought to life the disturbingly vicious circle that alcoholism can be, causing problems and strife that leads to more and more drinking which only serve to compound the problems of before and create new ones.
One piece of literature that was reviewed indicated the positive effect that a physician discussing drinking and its ill effects can have on a patient. However, the interviews demonstrated the main challenge with this course of action. Many adults, alcoholics and non-alcoholics alike, do not regularly seek treatment from a physician. Medical treatment is often only sought when there's an underlying condition, such as illness or injury. In the case of the interviewees, they expressed a feeling of invincibility when it came to their health and their situation, which would lead to a decreased likelihood of seeking medical attention. This, of course, would make it most difficult for the physician intervention described in the research.
Another piece of research talks of an intervention program implemented in a hospital setting. The study found that a three-pronged approach of traditional treatment, physician intervention and intervention from a former alcoholic was quite effective. However, once again, both interviewees expressed that they hadn't been in a hospital or institutional setting, and therefore this type of program would not be an efficient way of reaching many alcoholics.
Upon learning of the personal stories behind Antonio and Ramon, it became much more clear to me that there is a desperate need to develop an effective program that will allow alcoholics to overcome their disease. Certainly Alcoholics Anonymous is a successful program, for some, and the other research speaks of the effectiveness of interventions by physicians, recovering alcoholics, and family and friends, but more needs to be done.
Too often it takes a traumatic event to propel alcoholics into some form of treatment. Whether it's a car accident, the loss of a job, the loss of family, or associated disease, too many alcoholics wait to seek help until they've personally lost so much, and some never seek help at all. Clearly, as the research found, alcoholics have to want to help themselves for treatment to be most effective. Now, the challenge becomes how best to motivate these people so that they do want to help themselves and begin that road to recovery, before something tragic happens.