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Alcoholism is a disease of epidemic proportions affecting 93 to 10 million Americans and many professionals believe the figures are closer to 20 million Weddle and Wishon Alcoholism is a physiological or physiological dependence on alcohol characterized by the alcoholics inability to control the start or termination of his drinkingEncyclopedia Britannica 210 It consists of frequent and recurring consumption of alcohol to an extent that causes continued harm to the drinker and leads to medical and social problems Alcoholism however does not merely cause harm to the alcoholic but to the entire family as well affecting an estimated 28 million children in this country Weddle and Wishon These children grow up in the unhealthy and abnormal family systems harmed by alcoholism carrying the negative effects of this environment with them into adulthood Consequently adult children of alcoholics are the innocent victims of a disease which has shaped their personalities and behavior as children and will if not treated promote their personal disintegration as adults Most alcoholics dont fit the stereotype of the lying in the gutter drunk Alcoholics are likely to be persons of intense if sometimes brief enthusiasms They often try to do too much too fast They tend to demand perfection in themselves and in others Frustrated they may become painfully depressed or overly aggressive There is a lack of inner stability with which to face lifes problems in a realistic manner AL-Anon As the disease of alcoholism sets in the family is forced to make an unspoken decision-to leave the alcoholic or to stay and adapt to his illness Because they do not want to disrupt there own lives or leave a love one they deny the problem and try to adapt to the pressures and problems that alcoholism brings Typically as alcoholism takes over the alcoholic becomes increasingly preoccupied
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