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Youth alcohol over-consumption in rural area Australia (need and motivation) Essay Example

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Consumption of Alcohol among Australian Youth



Prior to developing addiction to alcohol, a substantial number of people find themselves engaging in casual drinking that eventually become a dependency. Alcohol dependency not only acts as extremely harmful lifestyle, but is also damaging to the general health, compromising individual as well as social development. Not only does the disorder inflict risks on individuals, but it also influences people around them. Moreover if unchecked, overconsumption of alcohol tends to pose social and economic effects to the society. Therefore, development of theories assists in understanding the concept related to alcohol dependency and deterring measures.

Australian Rural youth and Alcoholism

According to Lynskey, White, Hill, Letcher & Hall (1999), over-consumption of alcohol in Australian rural localities compared to other areas in the country is linked with ‘self reliance’ values as well as ‘hardiness’. In most of the cases, local Australian hotels act as source of entertainment for youth in the remote areas. These institutions provide social interactions and sponsorship programmes to sporting teams as well as community groups. However, high consumption of alcohol by youth tends to be independent of the geographical influence. According to the research conducted by National-Health-Survey in 1995, males emanating from metropolitan centres formed the highest proportion of hazardous alcohol consumers. The number was then followed by males from large remote towns (Miller, Coomber, Staiger, Zinkiewicz & Toumbourou, 2010). In regard to females, highest patterns were recorded in the remote localities with low levels recorded at the urban localities (Paul 1999).

Younger Australians perceive alcohol as playing a crucial role in the community-life, featuring strongly within social and recreational performance of both formal and informal nature. According to study, rural phenomena that mainly target the youth comprises of events that oversee large consumption of alcohol as a feature of activities. However, young people do recognise effects related with alcohol consumption. They identify major alcohol related-problems as increased incivility, vandalism, and public violence, destruction of property as well as breakdown of family-life (Paul 1999).

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimate that alcohol is consumed by 80 percent of Australians. This makes it the most consumed drug in the country while youths are the primary target. While moderate consumption of alcohol contains health benefits, excessive consumption poses serious health problems and often leads to chronic diseases such as cirrhosis, cancer, foetal alcohol syndrome, cardiovascular ailments and mental problems (Miller, Coomber, Staiger, Zinkiewicz & Toumbourou, 2010).

Motivation and Need Theory

The Maslow’s need theory is applied in explaining the relationship between addiction to alcoholism and personal needs. In this case, Alcoholism is based on different levels within the hierarchy. Young people turn to alcoholism since they are made to think that it is important for physiological survival. A number of youth get afraid since they think that an attempt to stop will lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. The youth turns to substance abuse in the belief that it will be advantageous to their security needs. The substances are linked to a state where the addicts perceive that they (substances) cater for their social needs. Research asserts the friendship and social interaction within drug dens is quite shallow. The major reason of usage of the substances is that they tend to boost self esteem of individuals. Unfortunately, as the victim goes deeper into addiction, they dive deeper on the hierarchy of needs.

One of the many techniques used to assist the victim contain alcoholism is motivation. Motivation entails counselling approach which assist addicts resolve their ambivalence regarding engaging in treatment as well as stopping intake of alcohol. The approach aims at evoking rapid and motivated change. The first session of treatment entails initial assessment of the magnitude of the problem. In the second step, therapist gives feedback about the initial assessment, a step that stimulates discussion about substance use. In this session, therapist applies motivational statements. Motivational interviewing is conducted with a view of strengthening overall motivation and building a plan towards change. Coping strategies regarding high-risk situations is suggested through the discussion with the victim. In the following sessions, therapist monitors the change, use cessation strategies and continue to encourage the victim to commit to sustained abstinence (Milne, Sheeran & Orbell 2000).

Thorough comprehension of alcoholism and its influence act as a starting point for many organisations to address the problem. The fact that individuals use substances is not new in different sectors of the economies. The awareness of use of alcohol has been increased in businesses and thus boosting its acceptance (Milne, Sheeran & Orbell 2000). Many aspects within modern business require alertness of the problem which warrants investigation and assistance to the victim. Organisations understand that failure to address the problem early is likely to cause non-performance in the workplace and in learning institutions, absenteeism, and reduced productivity, pre-occupation with substance use which interfere with concentration, performance of illegal activities and increased stress in the workplace.

Alcohol and Social-disorder

The relationship between alcohols versus social-disorder has been gauged as being due to physiological impacts of alcohol, the expectations and characteristics related to drinkers and social-cultural norms. While causal relationship of alcohol consumption versus social-disorder has not been fully understood, the underlying evidence is that a close relationship exists between drinking as well as anti-social behaviour (Lynskey, White, Hill, Letcher & Hall 1999). There is also a higher risk of social-disorder particularly in presence of alcohol-consumption, as well as positive association between levels of sales and incidences of assaults. The national research conducted between 1993 and 1995 in Australia indicated that younger persons especially males, were likely to become victims of alcohol-related social-disorder as compared to older persons. Moreover, post-secondary education was also linked with elevated rates of abuse-related property damage, fear and verbal abuse (Paul 1999).

Disease theory

Webb, Sniehotta & Michie (2010), asserts that in order to fully understand this theory, it is always important to perform a comparative analysis of those influenced by the abuse of alcohol to those without influence. This theory works in the umbrella of addiction theory. The model describes addiction as brain disease which is hard to control (including distorted structure as well as functioning) and which cause addiction to be irreversible. The theory also concern itself with pathological brain-changes that results from uncontrollable urges. The constant craving is normally labelled as the centre of disease theory. The victim succumbs to ‘urgent and empowering’ force which emotionally and physically takes over him.

The disease theory depicts progressive as well as permanent lifetime illness that is guided by loss of control. The theory also perceives addiction as fitting to description of a medical disorder, claiming that some people inherits tendency for the disease. In most of the cases, there are distinguishable symptoms, although each and every case entails different combination set of genes. Moreover, the surrounding environment plays a fundamental role as far as the overall outcome is concerned (Webb, Sniehotta & Michie 2010).

The overall implications of this theory assert that alcohol abusers have similar abstinence treatment goal. Individuals linked with family history of dependency are perceived to be at a higher risk as they inherit defective genes. As such, treatment is always ideal in order to avoid the effects of the untreated substance misuse, ailments and death whilst spontaneous recovery is more unlikely. Even in treatable circumstances, there is a higher potential for relapse regardless of duration of sobriety.

Biological Theory

Biological theory revolves around a number of factors that explains addiction as an aspect of human behavioural outcome. These factors comprise of genetics, structure of the brain, brain chemistry as well as brain functioning. Each physiology and genetic plays a role in alcohol addiction. Biological theory claims people respond to stimuli differently; some respond at a higher magnitude than others. Brain functioning allow people to resist to certain issues (temptations and impulses) like alcoholism. However, it is always hard for individuals with altered brains. Biological theory entails physical component of alcohol addiction which includes withdrawal system. This includes body temperature changes, panic disorder, depression, tremors, delusions and paranoia. These symptoms act as physical indicators that overall addiction is part of biological entity whose resultant effect is medical problem (Webb, Sniehotta & Michie 2010).

Two supplementary theories play an important part in comprehending addiction from biological perspective. The first theory entails processing of incentive-values that cause abnormality in the brain activity. The second theory revolves around abnormal activity of prefrontal cortex which is responsible for building substance seeking behaviours. Functional imaging research on drug abusers shows an activation of cortical system, which reveals mutual collaboration of incentive and internal-state which produce motivation for use as well as addiction of alcohol. On the other hand, urges of consumer alcohol are necessitated by insula, which increase the need to use a certain drug. Physiological withdrawal includes seizures, tachycardia as well as hypertension. However, withdrawal is quite necessary in order to alleviate dysphoria in an individual (Webb, Sniehotta & Michie 2010).

Treatment and recovery associated with biological theory involves understanding overall vulnerability associated with an individual. According to this theory, detoxification do not act as a solution, the major step adopted is recovery and abstinence. Abstinence acts as the first step followed by recovery. Consequently, treatment educates an individual about common triggers and their own genetic predisposition towards addiction.

Learning Theory

This theory perceives alcohol addiction as a learned behaviour. The major influences on a person’s actions are behaviours, control of behaviour, norms as well as motivational factors. Specifically, positive attitude regarding drinking, low-level confidence levels to shun drinking, self efficacy, stronger belief that peers are engaging in the behaviour contributes to maladaptive drinking patterns among the youth (Webb, Sniehotta & Michie 2010).

Longitudinal research about planned behaviour among the youth predicts that positive altitude on alcohol-use associate positively with the future alcohol use. Compulsive alcohol is directly associated with reinforcement principles. Since alcohol stimulates part of the brain, an affected individual seeks continued feeling repeatedly, a situation that causes positive reinforcement. In instances where an alcohol addict uses the substance to overcome negative feelings as well as withdrawal symptoms, it’s referred to as negative reinforcement.

Too much empirical support exists regarding learning theory, although it ignores biological processes that are triggered by the substance use. This theory suggests that treatment calls for more focus in creating as well as maintaining behavioural changes. Learning theory has resulted to emergence of effective non-pharmacological treatments, which focuses on development and sustenance of behavioural change, with an example of substance abuse.

In regard to treatment, behaviours are gained through learning principles, for instance, acquisition and reinforcement, which is based on classical as well as operant conditioning. Classical conditioning involves pairing pleasure of addictive-substance with environmental-cues which results to habitual cravings. The theory states that what has been learned can also be unlearned through cue exposure that consists of presenting cue without it pair. This is practically done with a view of lessening the craving and eventually addiction. An example of this concept is taste aversion that is slightly complex than classical-conditioning since time taken in pairing is too much for taste aversion. However, pairing of alcohol with the induced nausea has successfully been used as treatment process for alcohol addiction. Operant conditioning entails instilling rewards and punishment measures to enforce specific behaviours. A rehabilitation centre can be termed as an operant conditioning, because once a patient has proved abstinence from the substance, he is allowed to return to his family (Webb, Sniehotta & Michie 2010).

Traditions of Ethical Thinking

Two traditions of ethical thinking are discussed. This includes traditional ethical thinking and modern ethical thinking.

Traditional ethical thinking: this tradition is construed under ‘sacred canopy’. It asserts that God has the ultimate authority and justification about human ethical norms. It further argues that God is the creator of human being and every person has a purpose to which he was created to fulfil. The ultimate standard is fulfilment of the purpose. Therefore, by fulfilling this purpose, each person realises his full potential of the best he can be. The behaviours that align with this purpose are referred to as virtues while those that act against are vices (Payne, D’Antoine, France, McKenzie, Henley, Bartu, Elliott & Bower 2011).

Modern ethical thinking: this is a new perspective that is freed from ‘sacred canopy’. In this tradition, no universal context exists for human life. It is also not entangled with human nature for best human life. Modern ethical thinking avoids all this and focuses on human- authority. If a person reasons rightly, then universal norms are not perceived as authoritative. The main basic rule for human activity regarding a modern person is maximizing his personal freedom and reduces harm that he causes to others. Modern human believe in freedom in pursuing his endeavours. The major limit to the freedom is where another human being is hurt (Payne, D’Antoine, France, McKenzie, Henley, Bartu, Elliott & Bower 2011).

Application of traditions of Ethical Thinking

The application of these traditions is well illustrated by alcohol abuse. The society has banned abuse of alcohol in our modern culture and especially to those people below 18 years of age. We realize that alcohol abuse affects even those who don’t abuse the substance directly. Thus, modern perspective doesn’t perceive drinking as a bad habit. Rather, what is considered wrong is making others suffer as a result of the abuse; such as displaying of irresponsible behaviour and neglect of an individual’s responsibilities. On the other hand, traditional perspective perceives alcohol abuse as harmful to individual’s health. Alcohol abuse is perceived as wrong since it deprives a person potential in living an enjoyable and full life. Traditional thinking is thus concerned with the individual’s actor and his relation with his Maker (Payne, D’Antoine, France, McKenzie, Henley, Bartu, Elliott & Bower 2011).

The views of traditional and modern perspective on alcohol abuse are used to justify similar set pertaining to ethical norms. However, the differences of these traditions provide constructive ways of how to apply them. Furthermore, since modern thinking promotes human reason as sole ultimate authority while judging ethical issues, it tends to be prone to relativism. Thus, it lacks divine authority over traditional ethical thinking.


Alcohol in Australia: Issues and Strategies, accessed on 18th April 2017, http://www.health.gov.au/internet/drugstrategy/publishing.nsf/Content/alc-strategy/%24FILE/alcohol_strategy_back.pdf

Webb, T. L., Sniehotta, F. F., & Michie, S. (2010). Using theories of behaviour change to inform interventions for addictive behaviours.Addiction,105(11), 1879-1892. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03028.x

Lynskey, M., White, V., Hill, D., Letcher, T. and Hall, W., 1999. Prevalence of illicit drug use among youth: results from the Australian school students’ alcohol and drugs survey. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 23(5), pp.519-524.

Paul W., 1999. Alcohol-related Social Disorder and Rural Youth: accessed on 18th April 2017, http://aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/tandi_pdf/tandi140.pdf

Miller, P.G., Coomber, K., Staiger, P., Zinkiewicz, L. and Toumbourou, J.W., 2010. Review of rural and regional alcohol research in Australia. Australian journal of rural health, 18(3), pp.110-117.

Payne, J.M., D’Antoine, H.A., France, K.E., McKenzie, A.E., Henley, N., Bartu, A.E., Elliott, E.J. and Bower, C., 2011. Collaborating with consumer and community representatives in health and medical research in Australia: results from an evaluation. Health Research Policy and Systems, 9(1), p.18.

Milne, S., Sheeran, P. and Orbell, S., 2000. Prediction and intervention in health‐related behavior: A meta‐analytic review of protection motivation theory. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 30(1), pp.106-143.