Essay on Health & Society

Posted on March 16, 2018 by Cheapest Assignment

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Essay on Health & Society

Task: Write as 1500 word paper exploring a contemporary issue that has an effect on the population in Australia. Marmot and Wilsinson (2003) encourage us to think about health issues from a very wide and socially focused perspective, and have identified 10 social determinants of health . This assignment allows us to apply these determinants to a chosen topic of interest, and explain why it is important for nurses to understand the social determinants of health, and how this relates to nursing practice.

Length: 1500 words plus references



Each individual on this planet is addicted to something or the other. Addiction can be of anything which is mainly categorised into two types – substance related addiction and non-substance related addiction or behavioural addiction such as binge-eating, delinquent betting, sex obsession, fanatical workouts, compulsive wandering and gadget addiction. This essay, however, deals with substance-related (alcohol and drugs) addiction. Addiction is a serious topic as it has been found that the strong effects of addiction and the compulsive changes in the mind of a person have given rise to serious communal issues in Australia. It has paved the way for grave crimes such as domestic violence, molestation, drunk driving, rape, child abuse and robbery leading to criminal condemnation. Even monetary problems and unemployment are closely linked with addiction (, 2014).

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Drug or alcohol dependence syndrome

This syndrome generally denotes to substance dependence, which is the obsessive and unrestrained consumption of the substance, usually to the disadvantage of the consumer’s wellbeing, individual relations, and community standing. It is pathologically measured an illness, an addictive sickness. Its misuse has the possibility to harm almost every organ in the physique, including the brain. The results of prolonged alcohol misuse can cause a wide range of clinical, mental and psychological problems. Serious cerebral problems are commonly making it one of the chief reasons for lunacy. Extreme alcohol or drug intake results in the destruction to the intelligence, and emotional wellbeing of an individual is gradually affected by the passing time (Huckle, You and Casswell, 2010).

Cheapest Assignment - Essay on Health & Society

The social skills are decreased in people suffering from addiction due to the neurotoxic effects of alcohol or drugs on the brain, particularly the prefrontal cortex.  It even leads to impairments in recognizing facial responses, prosody observation complications, and attention insufficiencies; the capability to comprehend absurdity is also reduced (, 2015).  

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Psychiatric ailments are common in individuals having an addictive disorder, with approximately twenty-five percent facing dire psychiatric instabilities. The most prevalent psychiatric indications are nervousness and complaints of dejection. Psychiatric indications primarily worsen through substance extraction, but characteristically recover with sustained self-denial.

The mental illness and behaviour of an addict affects the people related to them, their family and groups, and lead them to loneliness. This loneliness further leads to separation, marital clash, domestic violence and child neglect. Life becomes miserable and emotional challenges for children who have parents suffering from addictive disorder (ice epidemic Fact or fiction, 2014). They dread and loathe their parents due to their unstable mood behaviours and their inability to quit the substance addiction.

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Management or treatment of substance abuse varies from person to person. Persons who address the problems related to the addiction and seek medical help are given the required treatment. Those who do not want to discuss their problems due to shame and social disgrace are given counselling and appropriate treatment when they seek it. Most treatments aim to help and save the addicted individuals’ lives by reassurance, decontamination monitored by a number of encouraging therapies (Robinson and Berridge, 2000).

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The social determinants of health

Social environment, anxiety, psychological condition, family history, age, racial group, and sex all influence the risk for the disorder. Substantial alcohol or drug consumption create modifications in the mind’s construction and communication, though some changes occur with marginal use of narcotics over a small duration of time, such as acceptance and physical need. These variations keep an addicted person with uncontrollable helplessness to discontinue intake and result in alcohol or drug removal symptom (Keane, Magee and Lee, 2014). Recognizing addiction may be challenging for those affected because of the public humiliation associated with the syndrome that causes people with alcoholism to avoid identification and cure for fear of disgrace or communal significances. In broad-spectrum, delinquent substance abuse is considered addiction when the person carries on consuming it in spite of suffering social or health complications caused by its misuse.

Marmot and Wilkinson’s ‘Social Determinants of Health: the Solid Facts’ mentions the ten social determinants of health-(i) social gradient / social support, (ii) stress(iii) early life (iv) social exclusion (v) work (vi) unemployment (vii) social support (viii) addiction (ix)food  and (x) transport (Wilkinson and Marmot, 2003).

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The four major social determinants of health, due to its relevance to the chosen topic of the essay, namely early life, social gradient / social support, addiction, and stress are discussed below:

Early life

Early life abuse is one of the key factors of individuals turning to addiction. Children who have had parents suffering from addiction or have experienced parents consuming illegal drugs in front of them, grow up believing that it is normal to use or misuse substance and turn out to be addicts themselves in their future lives. Since their parents do not teach them hence they do not realise the outcome of using drugs or alcohol on their physical and mental health. Again child abuse, domestic violence or child molestation have an ill-effect on the child’s minds and it stays with them forever. These children suffer from mental pressure and turn to addictive substances to escape from the reality of this painful life and attain instant pleasure.

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Social gradient / social support

Lack of social support has been a contributing factor in substance addiction. Lonely or introvert individuals are more prone to addiction as they do not open up in front of their family members or friends and want to live in isolation. They make fewer friends and do not feel the need to socialise or seek professional help for their condition. Moreover, in some cases, it is seen that children who have busy parents and relatives, feel neglected and regards drug or alcohol as the only means of happiness and support. It is suggested that parents’ or guardians’ intervention is very important in an individual’s life. Social or support groups, or the educational institutions and workplaces, should also take the responsibility of improving an addict’s live by taking necessary measures and initiatives. Adequate support from peer groups, family members, teachers and health care representatives has been found to be very helpful in eradicating this social problem of addiction.


Addiction is considered as an increased acceptance of and bodily reliance on substance (alcohol and drugs), affecting a person’s capability to regulate substance intake carefully. Apart from having poor physical health condition, addiction can have opposing effects on mental health, causing psychiatric syndromes and increasing the risk of suicide (Saal, Dong, Bonci, and Malenka, 2003). A hopeless temperament is a common indication. Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in the world and it is the second leading cause of hospitalisation in Australia.


Stress is one of the major factors that lead to drug or alcohol abuse. In psychological terms, stress is related to the emotion of tension and anxiety. A little stress may be beneficial for the body; however, acute stress worsens the mental and physical health of a person. When an individual lacks coping skills, when faced with a problem, they turn to addictive substances for temporary relief. A stressed or depressed person does not wish to communicate with anyone and goes into a shell making the addictive substances his or her best friend. Again, an individual turns to drugs or alcohol in order to ease out the acute mental or physical pain.

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The social determinants of health in relation to nursing practice

The understanding of the social determinants of health helps a nurse or a healthcare provider in providing both physical and mental support to patients, especially to those who are identified with an addictive disorder. These patients go through a varied number of emotions, from physical to psychological syndrome and their mind is full of irritation, anxiety, grief, and shame and other emotions (Soyka, 2000). They deserve total support from their family and friends in order to cope with the difficult situation. A nurse should play an important role in supporting an addict in keeping up the healthy surviving abilities by is also need to be well informed about the mental and physical condition of a patient. They may also use the cognitive–behavioural therapy for the patient’s treatment. Properly targeted cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) can advance consequences for people with addictive disorder. The important principle of CBT is that thoughts, emotions, physical symptoms, and behaviours are all interconnected (Nordqvist, 2009). Apart from listening and providing support to a patient, a nurse should also organize other foundations of support including supplementary medical operators, personal, spiritual, and disease-related support groups. By proper care and correct medications and by effective communication the nurse should be able to perform the nursing duties.

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Currently, most nations, both developed and under-developed, including Australia are facing health complications due to alcohol or drug misuse. As per the estimation of WHO, about one hundred and forty million people globally suffer from the addiction of alcohol, causing approximately 139,000 deaths in the year 2013.Prevention steps should be undertaken especially for the youth who are the major victims of problems associated with alcoholism. Given the greater costs of alcohol abuse and dependence to both individuals and the public, the main focus should be on prevention of alcohol consumption with the help of several proof-based methods (, 2012). The support and awareness should be initiated by social communities, educational institutes, and workplaces including the home.

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References, 2015, ACAR | Australian Centre for Addiction Research | Sydney, NSW Australia, viewed 15 April 2015, <>., 2014, National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report, viewed 14 April 2015, <>., 2012, Geriatric Nursing Resources for Care of Older Adults: Substance Abuse, viewed 15 April 2015, <>.

Huckle, T., You, R. and Casswell, S. 2010, Socio-economic status predicts drinking patterns but not alcohol-related consequences independently, Addiction, vol 105, no 7, pp.1192-1202.

Ice epidemic Fact or fiction? 2014, of substance, no vol 12 no.3, pp.1-32, viewed 14 April 2015, <>.

Keane, C., Magee, C. and Lee, J. 2014, Childhood trauma and risky alcohol consumption: A study of Australian adults with low housing stability, Drug Alcohol Rev, vol 34, no 1, pp.18-26,.

Nordqvist, C. 2009, What Is Addiction? What Causes Addiction? viewed 14 April 2015, <>.

Robinson, T. and Berridge, K. 2000, The psychology and neurobiology of addiction: an incentive-sensitization view, Addiction, vol 95, no 8s2, pp.91-117.

Saal, D., Dong, Y., Bonci, A. and Malenka, R. 2003, Drugs of Abuse and Stress Trigger a Common Synaptic Adaptation in Dopamine Neurons, Neuron, vol 37, no 4, pp.577-582,.

Soyka, M. 2000, Substance misuse, psychiatric disorder and violent and disturbed behaviour, The British Journal of Psychiatry, vol 176, no 4, pp.345-350.

Wilkinson, R. and Marmot, M. 2003, Social Determinants of Health: the Solid Facts, World Health Organization, Geneva.

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