Alcoholism is a disease in which the drinking of alcohol becomes uncontrollable. Compulsion and craving of alcohol rules the life of the alcoholic. Many of us drink alcohol to socialize which is not alcoholism. An alcoholic is a frequent habitual user. Alcohol, a central nervous system depressant, dulls the senses especially vision and hearing. Signs of alcoholism are tremors, delirium, inability to concentrate and many others. “According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, more than 13 million Americans abuse alcohol”(Mayo Clinic Health Information 1). There are many causes leading an individual to alcoholism. Alcohol damaging effects are physically, psychologically, and socially devastating.
There are many “so-called” causes that may lead to alcoholism. Psychological, social, and genetic factors have been linked to alcoholism. The psychological argument is that many alcoholics feel a feeling of inferiority and inadequacy. Alcohol is thought to give them false courage needed to face life. They are not capable of feeling self-assured to function in real life. Another cause may be a social factor. Many alcoholics start and begin moderately due to social or peer encouragement. They build up craving and
demand leading to increasing consumption. Eventually, the drinking progresses beyond control. There is another factor: genetics. According to studies, children of alcoholics tend to abuse alcohol themselves. Physiologically alcoholics are though to be weak, and predisposed and more likely to become alcoholics themselves. Children of alcoholic parents tend to be more likely to be alcoholics.
Increased abuse of alcohol leads to physical damage to the body. Alcohol is absorbed directly into the brain, dulling one’s senses and weakling one’s will power. According to the article from the Mayo Clinic Health Information, “Excessive use of alcohol can produce several harmful effects on your brain and nervous system. It also can severely damage your liver, pancreas and cardiovascular system. Alcohol use in pregnant women can damage the fetus” (Mayo 1). Continued ingestion of alcohol affects every organ in the body. Every organ in the body is affected. The liver has serious effects that may lead to cirrhosis and death.. At first the liver adapts and tolerates alcohol. It works harder and finally damages itself in time. Alcohol leads the liver to the inability to metabolize facts. Furthermore, it leads to increase in cholesterol and triglycerides leading to clogged arteries. Red blood cells are also affected leading the individual to become anemic. Deficiencies in minerals, and vitamins weaken the heart muscles leading to heart and circulatory disorders. Alcoholics usually have high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and anemia.
Alcohol also has a long-term effect on the pancreas by continuously bombarding it with sugar. Alcohol as you know has a high sugar level. Insulin is produced in great
quantities as alcohol is absorbed into the system. An energy rush is felt at the start and When insulin is released it leads to a quick energy drop. This leads to instability and loss of control.
Another effect is that alcohol has many calories leading to decrease in appetite. Prolonged use also causes irritation and inflammation to the stomach lining. This inturn leads to gastritis and other digestive disorders. Lack of nutrient absorption leads alcoholics to be prone to frequent colds, infections, skin rashes, and wrinkles.
Alcohol also causes a psychological dependency in addition to physical dependently. Alcohol becomes a necessity and uncontrollable craving and need. Psychologically, alcoholics experience anxiety, depression, blackouts and personality disorders. This is linked to poor nutrition and also the effects of alcohol on the brain. Alcohol has an anesthetic effect. It depresses the central nervous system thus causing improper brain function. A toxic level leads to permanent brain damage.
At first it provides false relief from problems and tension. As alcoholism progresses, it leads to social deterioration. It damages relationships with family and friends. They are used for the sole purpose of satisfying the craving for alcohol. The alcoholic has no time for relationships and is obsessed only with alcohol. His obsession, state of mind, and physical state reduces the capacity to hold a job therefore earn a living.
He treats money irresponsibly therefore leading to financial problems. The alcoholic neglects his family obligation; therefore the family unit is stressed. An intoxicated person is offensive, irrational, domineering, angry, and combative. His friends and family become his enemy. An alcoholic has a distorted view of the people around him. Alcohol can lead to child abuse, domestic violence and even suicide. An alcoholic is physically and mentally exhausted.
Problem drinking has infiltrated every level of our community and society. Alcohol abuse and dependence are major health problems in our country: they cost the United States 100 billion a year! (Mayo 1) Problem drinking is often a contributing factor in many criminal acts such as assault, battery. Alcoholics occupy mental institution hospitals and prisons. They are a monetary burden to our society. Alcoholism is a special threat on our roads and highways. Drinking and driving is responsible for many fatal traffic accidents. “According to the Mayo Clinic Health Information, “Each year, more than 100,000 people die of alcohol-related causes.” The reflexes, senses, and judgment are blurred by alcohol, thus causing innocent people to die.
In conclusion, Alcoholism has many damaging results physically, mentally, and socially. In truth, alcoholism is a sickness. The key is prevention by first education on cause and effect. Furthermore, counseling, guidance, and effort to support the alcoholic are essential. This may lead the alcoholic to recognize his or her problem and lead them to enter and accept treatment.
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Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. “Taking off the binders.” Alcoholism. 09 April. 2001. http://www.yahoo.com.