3. Frequency of drinking episodes. One who gets
drunk three or four times a year is less liable to be labeled
alcoholic than someone who gets drunk every week.
4. The effect of drunkenness upon self and others.
Persons who commit deviant sexual acts or beat their
mates while drunk are more likely to be labeled
alcoholic than those who quietly get drunk without
bothering others. The effects of drunkenness on others
and the reactions of others to the drunkenness determine
if and how the person is labeled alcoholic.
5. Visibility to labeling agents. The police; the
courts; school personnel; welfare workers; employers;
and, in some situations, family, friends, and helping
agentspsychiatrists, physicians, lawyersare the key
sources of alcoholic labeling.
6. The social situation of the person. Each class and
status group in our society has set different standards.
How one does or does not conform to the standards of
ones own group determines whether a person is labeled
an alcoholic and, therefore, is reacted to as an alcoholic.
The following sources can help you sort out the
specific traits of alcoholism in a person:
The persons family physician or clergyman
An Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon group
An alcoholism clinic or alcoholism information
and referral center
A public health nurse or a social worker
A community mental health center
The Department of Veterans Affairs or a general
A health, welfare, or family service agency
The persons employer or labor union
Local affiliates of the National Council on
Only a physician or clinical psychologist can make
a medical diagnosis of alcoholism.
About 70 percent of alcoholic people are married
and live with their families; hold a job, often an
important one; and still are accepted and reasonably
respected members of their communities. For those of
this group who seek treatment, the outlook is optimistic.
Alcoholism is a treatable illness from which as many as
two-thirds of its victims can recover. Yet because a
number of myths and misunderstandings persist, the
problem drinker has difficulty seeking and getting
We still think of alcoholism as a form of moral
weakness rather than an illness. That stigma causes
problem drinkers and their families to hide their sins
rather than tell of their problems and seek treatment. In
addition, many people, laymen and medical personnel
alike, still consider alcoholism to be untreatable. They
regard the person with alcohol problems as
unmanageable and unwilling to be helped. None of
those assumptions are true.
Generally, the treatment of alcoholism involves
three steps, although all persons may not need all three:
Managing acute episodes of intoxication to save
the persons life and to help the person overcome
the immediate effects of excess alcohol
Correcting the chronic health problems
associated with alcoholism
Changing the long-term behavior of alcoholics
so that they dont continue destructive drinking
The Navy provides numerous kinds of treatment
techniques for the many different types of drinking
problems. Its main challenge is to identify the needs of
each person and to match the needs with the most
appropriate therapy. The Navy is meeting that challenge
through the Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program.
Preventing Alcohol Problems and Alcoholism
The primary responsibility for alcohol abuse
prevention rests with the individual. The Navy,
however, sets and firmly enforces policies, programs,
and procedures designed to prevent alcohol abuse.
Consumption of alcoholic beverages just before or
during working hours reduces productivity. Each Navy
member has the freedom to make a personal choice
about whether to use alcoholic beverages. However, the
use of alcohol must not have the following effects:
1. Interfere with the efficient and safe performance
of the individuals military duties
2. Reduce the persons dependability
3. Reflect discredit upon the individual personally
or upon the Navy
the incidence of alcoholism,
make every effort to eliminate