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Case Study: an Individual Whose Addiction Has Adversely Affected His Life

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Table of contents

  1. Addiction
  2. Background information
  3. Theoretical explanation of Richard’s condition
  4. A treatment plan
  5. Conclusion


Spanagel et al. (2013) defined alcohol addiction as the continuous use of alcohol despite its adverse effects on the user. Addiction to alcohol affects the user both behaviorally and psychologically. Research has shown that however much the alcohol users may try to hide the effects by acting as if nothing is wrong, the close friends and family will notice the changes in the users (McCrady, 2017). My case study is a based on an individual whose addiction has adversely affected his life.

Background information

My subject of study is Richard, real name withheld for confidentiality purposes. Looking at Richard’s case, it can be noted that alcohol addicts fall into the trap without their realization. Richard is a middle-aged man married to one wife with two children. While interacting with him, it was clear that addiction has adversely affected his reasoning capacity since at times he could repeat the same statement more than twice. However, he can still recall when and how he began taking alcohol as a young man who had just gotten married.

The habit started as a non-routine practice whereby he could drink on weekends after work or while attending parties in clubs. His wife did not notice it until when they both attended a friend’s party where liquor was served. She was shocked to find him drinking. From that day, her objection to him going out on weekends alone made it worse for him. He felt the wife was controlling him too much. Defiantly, he began to frequent his visits to clubs and bars. His life suddenly changed; he cared less about his job. He could oversleep and fail to go to work. This continued for years, and the wife had nothing to say since he was always the kind of man who easily gets agitated. When his boss noticed his sudden change in performance had changed, he was summoned and warned of drinking too much. Later that month, he recieved a dismissal letter.

The dismissal from work worsened his life. He began drinking too much in the name of trying to forget what was going on in his life. He misused the family savings and the wife ran away with the children since he was even violent at times. The running away of the wife left him hopeless. He could not eat well, and his health deteriorated. His brother came to his rescue; he talked to him, took him to the hospital and later to rehab where his is currently undergoing rehabilitation.

Theoretical explanation of Richard’s condition

Based on the available facts on the background life and the experiences of Richard, his sudden change of behavior that compelled him to take more alcohol can be attributed to frustrations he was going through. His wife was over protective and could not let him go out on weekends. Richard retaliated by being defiant, and he decided to take more alcohol. Moreover, when he was sacked, he was depressed. His dismissal made him sought a means of forgetting his agony and problems little did he knew what was to become of him. Too much drinking and subsequently his addiction was worsened by his problems in life.

Before being brought to the rehabilitation center, he was taken to the hospital to see a doctor since he was weak due to starvation. He was given medication which enabled him to regain his appetite. The doctor also found that his kidneys and liver had been severely affected. However, the doctor noted that no medication could bring back Richard’s health unless rehabilitation program is adopted. Richard’s dependency on alcohol is very high since he cannot eat, concentrate or even sleep without taking alcohol. Thus, he cannot decide to stop drinking instantly. This is because he will suffer from withdrawal symptoms that may be even more severe than the effects of alcohol use.

According to Perry (2014), withdrawal effects are physical symptoms that are felt by an individual who abruptly stops taking alcohol. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include nausea, seizures, body tremors, leg syndrome, and headaches. Therefore, care should be taken while designing the right rehab program for Richard so as to ensure that his health improves rather than suffering from withdrawal effects.

A treatment plan

Several psychological approaches can be used to treat alcohol dependency. These approaches include social skills training, motivation, cognitive therapy, and family therapy. The type of approach used whether single or in combination has different results depending on the individual under rehabilitation. Moreover, Wiers et al. (2014) argued that no single psychological approach has superior ability to give a long-term recovery from alcohol addiction. Therefore, it is important to apply different approaches and gamble with them since the main aim is to ensure quick and full recovery from the vice. However, before applying an approach, the client’s characteristic such as the family, health status, social life, mental stability should be considered.

In the case of my study, Richard is a middle-aged man with a family, although the wife has run away. Based on his educational level and social status, he understands very well about the dangers of alcohol, addiction. The best hypothetical treatment plan for Richard is to be taken through a cognitive behavioral therapy. According to Donovan and Mattson (1994), the treatment would entails the prevention of a relapse by following a learning process that would see the end of drinking by the subject individual. Cognitive behavioral therapy would compel Richard to identify the problems associated with drinking and correct them by applying different skills to be taught. The skills that are helpful in ensuring the success of this approach is the practice of self-control. This would help to reduce cravings since he would be in a position to learn the dangers associated with the drug (Sofuoglu et al.,2013).

Moreover, besides the use of cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy would be helpful. His wife and brother are the closest family members who can be involved. They would help in giving moral support to Richard. The moral support would help him feel loved and thus he would anticipate to free himself from alcoholism (Gurman et al., 2015). Therefore, the hypothetical treatment would be a combination of two strategies.


Richard is one among the many people around the globe who are battling with alcohol addiction. Psychologists, therefore, have a great role to play in helping the individuals affected overcome the challenges of alcohol dependency (Van and Davis, 2016). Based on Richard’s case, it can be deduced that alcohol addiction is triggered by several factors, majorly social factors. His quarrel with his wife intensified his habit of drinking which was later compounded by his sacking. Therefore, while trying to help drug addicts, bit important to understand their background.

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