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Alcoholism among Native Americans

Alcoholismamong Native Americans

Alcoholismamong Native Americans

Alcoholismlike any other factor tends to follow a particular ethnic or economicgroup of people. Most of the people are influenced by the use ofalcohol. The majority of the people start drinking as early as teenages. Some start drinking while in college due to peer influence.Others start drinking at middle age while partying or due to theinfluence of their colleagues. Whereas some individuals drink becauseof fun, others consume alcohol as a way of relieving stress anddepression. Besides, even the aged people consume alcohol. Thestatistics show that alcoholism tends to ruin most families.Biologically, it is evident that alcoholism can be genetic. Sometimesyou may realize that a son born to a drunkard father may end up beingalcoholic as he grows up. Some ethnic groups such as the NativeAmericans have experienced the influence of alcoholism at widerlevels.

Statisticsshows that the Native Americans’ rate of alcohol consumption ismuch higher as compared to another group of people. It isapproximated that one in ten of the Native Americans drink alcohol.Furthermore, results show that around 12% of the deaths have beenassociated with alcohol consumption [ CITATION Wil89 l 1033 ].Besides,most of the traffic accidents cases that have been reported arealcohol related. Similarly, suicide, homicide and liver diseasesassociated with alcohol have been reported in Native America.

Historically,it is clear that the Native Americans were familiarized to alcoholconsumption by the early European traders and settlers. The Europeantraders used to sell alcohol to the Native Americans so that they canfeel relaxed and offer back a better trade. It is noted that thealcohol intake affected the Native Americans’ culture. The studyshows that alcohol consumption had genetic influence on this group ofpeople[ CITATION Wil89 l 1033 ].Some groups ofindividuals such as the Chinese and Japanese possess the gene. Theeffect is seen when they drink a large amount of alcohol. Theseadverse effects are due to gene mutations. The side effects includenausea, rapid heartbeat, and drowsiness. However, some groups ofNative Americans do not possess the gene mutation.

Accordingto the psych cultural view, alcohol consumption is said to be causedby social, economic, cultural and personal problems[ CITATION Joh01 l 1033 ].From the psych cultural perspective, it can be realized thatalcoholism comes about due to some certain factors. For example, onemay decide to take alcohol as one way of relieving stress. Besides,one can opt to consume alcohol because of the culture. From the viewit is evident that to do away with alcoholism, there are so manyfactors to look into before making the decision. The cultureis one of factors that made the Native Americans sail intoalcoholism. Even though this is the case, it is realized that alcoholconsumption has profound effects. These effects may include livercirrhosis among others.

Itis important to note that, as much as alcoholism is said to be themajor cause of alcohol-related diseases such as cirrhosis, alcoholitself does not contribute directly to the disease. It is noted thatthe cause of the disease is caused by a series of social behaviors.For example, the Native Americas have the habit of drinking alcoholwithout taking food. The outcome is that the individuals end up beingattacked by the disease. Thus, the disease is not brought about dueto alcohol uptake but rather due to the neglect of the required dietthat is required to protect the body[ CITATION Wil89 l 1033 ].

Besides,research shows that 75 to 80 percent of the suicides committed byNative Americans are influenced by alcoholism. Similarly, 90% of thehomicides are due alcoholism[ CITATION Sea06 l 1033 ].Thesefindings are as per the study that was carried out by the FBI on theconviction rates for crimes. The results indicate that the NativeAmericans record the highest number of crimes committed in America.The number is said to be twice that of the blacks and thrice that ofthe whites. Furthermore, the rate of offenses committed such aspublic drunkenness by the Native Americans is said to be eight timesthat of the Hispanics and the whites combined[ CITATION Sea06 l 1033 ].

Itis evident that alcohol consumption has profound effects on thebehavior of people of Alaska. From the data that was collected, itwas clear that the majority of the Alaska natives have more severecomplications as compared to their counterparts[ CITATION Wil89 l 1033 ].When the behavior and psychiatric characteristics of the people ofAlaska are compared with other ethnic groups, it is realized to bedevastating. Besides, as per the survey, the behavior regarding theviolence of women of Alaska is at higher risk as compared to otherwomen globally. The nature of violence has been found out to beconsistent with the drinking behavior. Likewise, alcoholism has ledto modification of the culture of the Alaska people. The modificationhas been done by the Russians among other people. Thus, new customshave been imposed to the Alaska natives as well as other economicsystems. Also, the development of oil in the region has resulted inchanging from substance farming to cash farming. Besides, there hasbeen a change in family roles and other forms of culture. It is vitalto note that all these changes are caused by alcoholism.

Asurvey shows that about 47.8% of men and 24.4% of women drink alcoholin Alaska. Half of the men have been advised to stop drinking so thatthey can be cured but to no avail (Seale, 2006). The result is memoryblackouts and comma. Symptoms related to women consuming alcoholinclude the inability to stop drinking, causing harm to others aswell as themselves, memory blackouts and negligence ofresponsibilities. Also, it is noted that alcohol drinking may lead toearly deaths.

Alcoholconsumption among the Native Americans has caused adverse problems.It has an impact on families. Children have been neglected by theirirresponsible parents there is sexual abuse whereby members of thefamily who are influenced by alcohol are involved. There is hunger inthese families because they do not have time to go out and work sothat they can get money for their upkeep. Additionally, alcoholismleads to marital conflicts. Most of the families of Alaska Nativeshave broken due to alcoholism. The conflicts come about due toavoidance of the duties. The result is divorce and separationsleaving children suffering. Moreover, alcoholism leads to a change ofresponsibilities. Children resume the duties of their parents such ascooking, looking for food and cleaning. All these problems facing thepeople of Alaska have been contributed by alcohol consumption.

Additionally,it is evident that consumption of alcohol by the people of Alaska hasimpacted the community as a whole. Alcoholism has led to societal andeducational consequences. The societal consequences entail underagedrinking where teenagers consume alcohol before completing schoolthere is drug trafficking, violent crimes, and assaults. Besides, theeducational costs include early school dropouts. Children drop out ofschool due to various reasons. Sometimes children lack school feesfor their studies they lack shelter, and food. All these factors bara child from going to school. For this reason, the majority of theyouths of Alaska group have missed the opportunity of going to schooldue to alcoholism.

Furthermore,there has been reduced consumption of alcohol in Alaska and AmericaNatives recently. Some of the factors that have contributed to thereduction include the following there has been church involvementthrough the elders who ensure that sobriety prevails among members ofthe society[ CITATION Con12 l 1033 ].Besides,stringent rules have been set aside that restrict alcoholconsumption. If one is caught drinking, he or she will face the law.Moreover, personal willpower has contributed to the reduction inalcohol consumption amongst the people of Alaska and the NativeAmericans.

Inconclusion, the profound effects of alcohol consumption on the‘civilized society’ of the Native America have gone beyond theloss of materials. The Alaska and American Indian Natives have putthemselves in a situation whereby they are not able to define whothey are and what they are doing. Their cultural identity has beenlost, their educational systems have been affected, and there is theloss of spiritual strengths among others. The primary cause of allthese effects is alcohol consumption among the Native AmericanIndians and the Alaska. Families, communities, and relationships havebeen ruined, and any struggle to save the situation must becomprehensive and integrated. All people of Alaska and AmericaNatives must be committed in alleviating the problem of alcoholism.


Conti, G. S. (2012). Alcohol Control Policy and the Blackfeet Reservation. A Study of Attitudes Toward Alcohol. Journal of Adult Education , 41.

Johnson, J. P. (2001). Native American Perceptions of the National Association for Native American Children of Alcoholics: In Their Own Words. Cultural Competence, 159-202.

Seale, J. S. (2006). Alcohol Problems in Alaska Natives:. Lesson from the Intuit.

Willard, B. (1989). Substance Abuse and the American Indian.