Alcoholism as Learned Behavior

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Essay Alcoholism as Learned Behavior

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Summary of a research proposal to determine what links exist between alcoholism as a learned behavior and self-esteem.

This paper summarizes a research proposal to determine what links exist between alcoholism as a learned behavior (rather than as a condition arising from any genetic predisposition) and self-esteem. This research is based upon the assumption that there is a direct connection between self-esteem and learned behaviors. Drawing from the recent work of a number of other researchers, this research argues that because alcoholism is, in large measure, a learned behavior it has a substantial negative effect upon the self-esteem of alcoholics who blame themselves for their drinking and, understanding the harm that they are doing to themselves and to those around them, suffer from lowered self-esteem.
“Our attitudes about alcoholism have changed dramatically over the last fifty years as our conception of the condition “which causes so much harm and so much grief to so many people, including both the alcoholics themselves and to others” as one that was a matter of complete free will to a question of genetics. That pendulum is slowly swinging back now to viewing alcoholism as a learned behavior, although there is little doubt that there is some element of genetic predisposition to the condition. This research proposes to answer the question of whether the learned aspects of alcoholism are more significant than the genetic elements of it and, if so, how this fact should affect the way in which social workers treat alcoholics and their families.”

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