Hispanic Americans and Alcohol: An in Depth Investigation of Trends, Attitudes, and Cultural Issues Affecting Treatment Opportunities and Prevention
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The subject to be discussed in the following pages is a matter of great concern and importance in American society today. As America becomes more and more of a melting pot, salad bowl, or whatever the classification is nowadays, it is imperative that American society be sensitive to the cultural needs and concerns of its people. The Hispanic/ Latino community is the fastest growing minority group in the United States and is expected to surpass that of African Americans. So how did I go about choosing this topic? Being half Hispanic myself, I have always been interested in the culture, language, and people. I know that many Hispanics struggle for some stability and representation in the United States, but have problems with the language, finding jobs, receiving medical care, etc. It disturbs me to know that there are certain populations not getting enough attention or treatment. I can remember spending many holidays in the back room of my grandparents' home with my brother watching television while the rest of the family was in another room consuming large amounts of alcohol. This was not a site that my parents wanted to expose my brother nor I to. Even though the alcohol abuse ended with my father, the damage had already been done. My father had already experienced the affects and strains alcohol abuse puts on the family. He has seen the violence, the rage, and the problems that come with alcoholism. And even though my father rarely consumes alcohol, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins that have issues with alcohol trickle down to affect my family; my father, my mother, my brother, and myself. My father was able to break the cycle of alcoholism, but not every Hispanic family can do that. This is a deadly cycle that needs to be addressed by society and the medical community. It is extremely hard to change the cultural ideals of a people, but many Hispanics suffer from health-related problems such as alcohol-induced diabetes or cirrhosis of the liver. Toward the end of her life, my grandmother was required to have dialysis every single day because she had done so much damage to her kidneys that they could no longer function properly. Unfortunately, many low-income Hispanics do not have the funds to afford health insurance and die for lack of treatment. In order for society to help solve this issue effectively, cultural ideals, language barriers and traditions need to be addressed.