Treating alcohol abuse as a social worker

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 17.6 million Americans abuse alcohol or are dependent on the substance. As this is equivalent to about one in every 12 adults, students who are enrolled in master of social work, or MSW degree programs may find themselves working with individuals who suffer from alcoholism. The resources below will give students a better understanding of what alcoholism is, the dangers it can lead to, and how they can help alcoholics during their current or future careers.

What is alcoholism?

Alcohol abuse FAQs: This website by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provides answers to many common questions the general public may have about alcohol abuse. The resource may be a good place for MSW degree seekers to start when gaining knowledge about alcoholism in the U.S.

Resources on alcoholism: Using this website by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, students can learn the difference between enjoying a few drinks and becoming dependent on alcohol. Additionally, this resource provides a wide variety of links to other websites that can be helpful when studying alcoholism.

Alcoholism among college students: Some people develop alcoholism during their college years. For this reason, social work degree seekers may find it helpful to browse this resource, as it explains alcohol abuse for a college audience.

What dangers can alcohol abuse lead to?

Drunk driving: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) provides a wide variety of statistics on drunk driving in the U.S. By browsing this information, social work degree seekers may see the importance in finding help for individuals who suffer from alcohol abuse before they hurt themselves or someone else.

Fetal alcohol syndrome: Pregnant women who suffer from alcoholism can do a great deal of harm to their unborn children. Using this website by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, MSW degree seekers can learn about fetal alcohol syndrome, its symptoms and how it can be treated.

Alcohol-related liver disease: Because alcohol destroys liver cells, individuals who drink excessively run the risk of developing alcohol-related liver diseases. This website created by the American Liver Foundation explains what these diseases are, how they can manifest themselves and how they can be treated.

Immediate and long-term health risks: Using this website by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, social workers can get a good idea of how alcohol abuse can affect individuals both immediately and in the long run.

Alcohol poisoning: When people drink too much, they run the risk of depressing the nerves that control vital and involuntary actions such as breathing. In this way, alcoholism can kill its victims, making it crucial for social workers to do their part in controlling their patients’ drinking habits before they face these devastating results.

Child abuse: Some studies have found that alcoholic parents are more likely to physically and sexually abuse their children. The relationship between alcohol and abuse may be important for social workers to study, especially if they plan on working as a child or family social worker.

Depression: While some people believe that depressed individuals turn to alcohol, various studies have shown that it is actually the other way around. This 2009 study by New Zealand researchers shows that alcohol abuse can lead to depression. Social work degree seekers may want to keep this information in mind when working with patients who suffer from alcoholism.

How can social workers help?

Clients with substance abuse disorders: Using this resource by the National Association of Social Workers, students can get a better understanding of what their roles will be in their future careers. Additionally, this document outlines the ethics social workers should keep in mind when working with clients who suffer from alcohol abuse.

Social workers and alcoholism: This website by the Social Work Policy Institute describes what social workers can do to help people who have an alcohol dependency, including ensuring they have shelter and showing them the benefits of becoming sober. Additionally, social work degree seekers can find links to a variety of other resources on this website.

Mental health and substance abuse social workers: Many professionals who want to treat alcoholism become substance abuse social workers. This website by the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides employment and salary information for individuals who want to enter this specialized field.

Social workers and families of alcoholics: This resource by Help Starts Here discusses how social workers can assist the family members of people who suffer from an alcohol problem. Individuals who wish to become family social workers may especially benefit from reading this article.

Social work and alcohol abuse: This text by Jean V. Sapir discusses how social workers can help individuals who are suffering from alcohol abuse. Specifically, the resource highlights social workers’ role in a clinical setting.

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