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All Across The World, People Are

All across the world, people are consuming alcohol daily. According to the World Health Organization, each person who is within the age of fifteen years and older consumes 13.5 grams of pure alcohol a day. The over consumption and eventual abuse of alcohol has caused a rise in medical issues. Some of the health issues it has shown to cause are heart disease, cancer, diabetes, mood, liver (cirrhosis), CNS (alcohol-related dementia), gastrointestinal tract, and lack of memory. (LaMotte, 2018)

This is an important issue for society because people are consuming liquids, with the mentality that it will not hurt them without being educated to the extent needed. Beers, wines, and liquor all contain warning labels on not to drink while pregnant or while operating a vehicle. But, the labels fail to educate the public on the full information of what drinking can do medically. Thus far, medically it has gone to show that approximately seven “standard drinks” in the United States increase peoples risk of death and eventually shortens the person’s life expectancy.

The media portrays commercials of what smoking cigarettes and drugs can do to the body, however what do they advertise about alcohol? They advertise promotions of liquor, beers, and tie it into partying, yet they never have a commercial showing the harm alcohol has done to an individual. Our society and communities lack the education needed to know prior to consuming alcohol. As silly as this may sound, I feel that it should be mandatory to take an exam or fill out paperwork to prove your acknowledgement about alcohol and smoking before being allowed to do such. For instance, in order to own a taser an individual must pass the FOID test, mental health exams, etc. So with that said, why force education and restrictions on a piece of equipment used for safety and not such for substances that can kill you? Why allow those who are suicidal and mentally unstable at a point in time, to rely on something that can severely hurt them?

Medical social workers could be a important resource to people who eventually become patients. I feel this is an important issue to those in the medical social work field because it has been said that alcohol abuse is the most common drug used and abused in our society. This is a very important issue for us because, if a man comes to a hospital with cirrhosis, or a woman comes pregnant with fetal alcohol syndrome we need to have a game plan in check to help tackle these issues right away. As social workers we need to be educated with the impacts of alcohol because it is associated with many things such as domestic violence, child abuse, accidents, and or even homicides. So with that said, we are the glue that can help mend this person or family back together based on our knowledge and profession. Our patients rely on us to help them in a time that they can not even seem to help themselves, and it is our job to know how to properly address this really important issue. (Allen, 2015)

When it came down to the implications that can be seen in the practice, I fully did not understand this portion of the paper. So based on the definition on Google, an implication can be seen as the action or state of being involved in something. Based on that, in healthcare settings social workers help people who undergo detoxification and abuse alcohol substances. The action a medical social worker would take during this situation could be applying CAGE when engaging the patient in a biopsychosocial assessment. Thus far, it is very important that the social worker maintains their focus on the patient’s strengths rather than weaknesses, avoid confrontation, and accept that the treatment goals need to go through smaller steps to achieve the ultimate goal. Another way a medical social worker can be involved in the practice, is by arranging programs in the hospital around April to promote educational information during Alcohol Awareness Month (and or any other month) or even attending seminars based on alcoholism to further their knowledge with this issue since things are always changing over time. There are so many shapes, ways, and forms that we can be involved however, at the end of the day it depends on what kind of medical social worker you are. Every social worker goes about their practices working with the same material, yet enforcing it differently.

The recommendations for hospital practice that can help address the issue can vary. As members of a treatment team, social workers can work with the family and patient to assess the readiness according to the patients treatment. Thus far the social worker can also help steer the patient in the right direction for his/her appropriate levels of service needed. Furthermore, social workers can help educate patients about the withdrawal process, engage in assisting a support system (family, peer, etc.) and encourage him/her to continue the path with a alcohol-free environment. Moreover, social workers can not force those to stop drinking because of the negative impacts this usage has, however what we can do is educate the communities more about the consequences this has. With the use of “spreading the word”, it has a better chance of holding an impact on several people. For instance, having a medical social worker attend colleges to present speeches to educate students could work out or possibly working with a local legislators and write letters to inform the needs of public service announcements of the impacts of drinking for the communities as well.

Another recommendation for a hospital practice in helping assist this issue is by, utilizing a collaborative care approach in order to avoid a long-term-care cost and possibly improve the patient access. Thus far, possibly co-locating social workers with the hospitals primary team could all the expansion of allowing the medical condition to be fully addressed. Also, the use of technology is constantly expanding and with that said it allows team members to communicate from distances through phones, electronic medical records, and the usage of live video conferencing tools (FaceTime, Skype, Google, etc.). With the use of virtually connecting, it allows medical social workers to provide a sense of community based care. The usage of community based care, is the best way to connect with those in the community as well as, help address this problem to the fullest that it can.