Research Paper on Chronic Alcoholism and Disengagement Theory


The main aim of this paper is to discuss treatment approaches and enhance health needs for people suffering from chronic alcoholism. The consequences of chronic alcoholism are far and wide. Moreover, it is not only the sufferer who is involved but also his or her family and the community at large. It is critical to note that the best therapeutic outcome will be achieved by duly involving the individual, his or her family, the community and other members of the professional community. The paper also discusses particular nursing goals for the patients suffering from chronic alcoholism, assessments, relevant interventions and implementation of clinical treatments stipulated. The author has also relates the disengagement theory in the particular condition under study.

Health Condition

An alcoholic person is one who suffers from alcoholism. Alcoholism is a severe or chronic illness that is featured by four main symptoms. They include loss of control, physical dependence, craving and tolerance. A chronic alcoholic is one who depends on alcohol for survival and he or she is severely addicted. Such people consume alcohol on a daily basis and on at an alarming level. In addition, these people in most cases do not have control of their drinking habits, do not have stable jobs, they do not have contact with their relatives or friends and may be affected by cognitive impairment because of their habit. This form of alcohol experiences serious health implications owing to their drinking and thus necessitating early medical interventions (Alcohol, 2017).

According to a study spearheaded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)  in 2007 to determine the similarities between alcoholic individuals, alcoholic types are in five categories. Each of these alcoholic categories harbors their own unique features, risk factors and drinking behaviors. These categories include the young antisocial type, the young adult type, the intermediate familial type, the functional type and the chronic severe type. Individuals categorized into the chronic severe type consist of only 9 percent of the alcoholic population in the United States. Nonetheless, this group happens to be the most commonly thought of in stereotyping alcoholics. In most cases, they consist of men, involved in other substance abuse, and or divorced. Furthermore, they may either be homeless, living in dysfunctional family contexts and may be suffering from mental health issues including schizophrenia and depression.

According to Haber, Lintzeris and Lopatko (2009) an individual suffering from severe alcoholic requires treatment medications for other mental conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or personality disorders. There are also other medical concerns including but not limited to heart diseases, cancer, vitamin deficiencies and malnourishment due to lack of sufficient and balanced diet. Medical intervention is the key to treating persons with chronic alcoholism. Since these people are physically addicted to alcohol, they have a high likelihood of going through withdrawals and in the event that they do not harbor medical detoxification, they have high risk of developing serious health conditions such as cardiovascular collapse or heart attack.

Disengagement Theory

Disengagement is simply a retreat from taking part or being involved in a particular action, group or position. Withdraw can happen at different domains or stages such as behavioral or motional. This implies that disengagement is both an outcome and process. According to Cumming and Henry, 1961, disengagement theory is one of the major psychological models that presents a description of individual development in old age. The other major type of psychological theories is the continuity theory and activity theory. The theory postulates that aging is a compulsory disengagement, which leads to declined interactions between an older person and others in the social system where he or she belongs. The theory goes further to claim that it is acceptable and nature for older individuals to withdraw from the community.

The disengagement theory is related with chronic alcoholism in various perspectives. For instance, alcohol prevents a person from going about his or her daily chores and to fulfill regular work or scholastic responsibilities. This also hinders to a significant levels, interpersonal relationships since the person is now filled with thoughts of drinking, how she or she can acquire more alcohol and thoughts of how to stop drink or how he can recover from the effects of drinking. Generally, individuals suffering from chronic alcoholism experience problems related with their occupations, social life, interpersonal life and even family because of the intense alcohol use. Behavioral symptoms that relate to disengagement theory include drinking alone to hide problems when drinking from others, causing irritations when alcohol is absent, violent behavior, being passive or augmentative among others (, 2017).

Dimensions of Wellness

The dimension of wellness selected for this case is the physical wellness perspective. According to University of Carlifonia (2014), physical wellness relates to the capability of an individual in maintaining a healthy quality of life, which subsequently enables them to get through their daily life and operations as normally as possible. The ability of individuals in recognizing their behaviors have a significant effect on their wellbeing alongside embracing healthful habits such as  balanced diet, regular checkups, exercises, and balanced diet. At the same time, individuals are requested to avoid as much as possible engagement in destructive habits such as alcohol abuse, unhealthy diets, among others that will hinder their physical wellness.

In this context, there is a need to make the patients, in this case the chronic alcoholics well informed as to what they need to do and the necessary lifestyle changes they need to make as a step in management of their disease. In particular, they should be required to abandon alcoholism though on a gradual level, eat only health and balanced foods including a consideration of low salt as a means of controlling their blood pressure. They also need to involve themselves regularly on physical exercises as a means of maintaining their healthy. The physician should focus on enhancing the cognitive abilities of the patient and improve the ability to undertake daily tasks as well as personal care.


It may not be possible for nurses to completely change the drinking habits of an alcoholic. However, it is their responsibility to help patients develop their self-identity, self-evaluation and awareness. Nurses are also advised to deal with the patients in a non-judgmental manner. In addition, the health care give should show concern for the patient’s welfare while endeavoring to create a trusting environment.

It is also important for healthcare providers to consider early intervention, promotion and prevention approaches for those suffering from the disease. The interventions should be aimed at making the patient aware of his or her status, see the need to change the behavior and provide the necessary medications. The nurse is also in this case mandated to prevent the development of associated health problems alongside managing their impact among the identified group of people.



Alcohol (2017). Chronic severe alcoholic: Types of alcoholic. Available from    (2017). Alcohol Abuse & Addiction Signs, Effects & Symptoms.

Available from

Cumming, E., Henry, W. 1961. Growing Old. New York: Basic. p. 227

Haber, P., Lintzeris., N.,  Lopatko, O., Proude, E. (2009). Treatment of Alcohol Problems.

Available from$File/treatqui.pdf

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) (2007). Understanding the impact

of alcohol on human health and well-being. Available from

University of Carlifornia. (2014).  Seven Dimensions of Wellness. Available from