Alcoholism

The following essay will introduce you to pros and cons of drinking. It will also give you a clear understanding in why you shouldnt drink alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant; it impairs your ability to drive, slows down your reaction time and causes you to make some risky decisions that you wouldnt normally take. This essay will also help you comprehend how and why things happen, because of alcohol.
Alcoholism can kill in many different ways, and in general, people who drink regularly have a higher rate of deaths from injury, violence, and some cancers. The earlier a person begins drinking heavily, the greater their chance of developing serious illnesses later on. Any protection that occurs with moderate alcohol intake appears to be confined to adults over 60 who have risks for heart disease. Adults who drink moderately (about one drink a day) have a lower mortality rate than their non-drinking peers, their risk for untimely death increases with heavier drinking.

Alcohol may not cause cancer, but it probably does increase the carcinogenic effects of other substances, such as cigarette smoke. Daily drinking increases the risk for lung, gastric, pancreatic, colorectal, urinary tract, liver, brain cancers, and leukemia. About 75% of cancers of the esophagus and 50% of cancers of the mouth, and throat are attributed to alcoholism. (Wine appears to pose less danger for these cancers than beer or hard liquor.) Smoking combined with drinking enhances risks for most of these cancers dramatically. When women consume as little as one drink a day, they may increase their chances of breast cancer by as much as 30%.

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In the liver, alcohol converts to an even more toxic substance, which can cause substantial damage. Not eating when drinking and consuming a variety of alcoholic beverages are also factors that increase the risk for liver damage. People with alcoholism are also at higher risk for hepatitis B and C, potentially chronic liver diseases than can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. People with alcoholism should be immunized against hepatitis B; they may need a higher-than-normal dose of the vaccine for it to be effective.

Alcohol has widespread effects on the brain. The use of alcohol, however, eventually produces depression and confusion. In chronic cases, alcoholism can lead to mental disturbances. Alcohol can also cause milder problems, including headaches (especially after drinking red wine). Except in severe cases, the damage is not permanent and abstinence nearly always leads to recovery of normal mental function. Alcohol may increase the risk for hemorrhage stroke (caused by bleeding in the brain), although it may protect against stroke caused by narrowed arteries.
Alcohol plays a major role in more than half of all automobile accidents. Alcohol also increases the risk of accidental injuries from many other causes. Drinking and driving is dangerous to yourself and others around you. The penalty for drinking and driving is Driving Under the Influence (DUI). If your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) registers over .08, you are Driving Under the Influence. After having one drink it takes approximately one hour for your body to burn off the alcohol. You cant depend on yourself to be able to drive after an hour, because everyone processes alcohol differently and you might even feel the effects long after youve been drinking. Your BAC is based on your body weight, how much you have had to drink, the amount of food you may have eaten before drinking, the length of time over which you have had alcohol, and the speed at which your own body processes alcohol (once again, everyone is different). There is no way to make your body burn alcohol faster; eating, drinking coffee, exercising, or taking a cold shower may make you feel better, but they have no effect on your rate that alcohol is processed.
Alcohol can also create hormonal effects. Alcoholism increases the levels of the female hormone estrogen and reduces the levels of the male hormone testosterone, factors that contribute to impotence in men. I placed this statement here, because I personally believe that men, such as myself, should be aware on how alcohol effects a males ability to perform.
Domestic violence is a common consequence of alcohol abuse. For women, the most serious risk factor for injury from domestic violence may be a history of alcohol abuse in her male partner. Alcoholism in parents also increases the risk for violent behavior and abuse toward their children. Children of alcoholics tend to do worse academically than others, have a higher incidence of depression, anxiety, and stress and lower self-esteem than their peers. Children who were diagnosed with major depression between the ages of six and 12 were more likely to have alcoholic parents or relatives, than those children who do not have parents who are alcoholics. Alcoholic households are less cohesive, have more conflicts, and their members are less independent and expressive than households with non-alcoholics or recovering alcoholic parents. In addition to their own inherited risk for later alcoholism, children of alcoholics have serious coping problems that may be life long. Alcoholic parents are at higher risk for divorced and for psychiatric symptoms. The only events with greater psychological impact on children are sexual and physical abuse.

During pregnancy and infant development, one must take extreme precautions.
Even moderate amounts of alcohol may have damaging effects on the developing fetus, including low birth weight and an increased risk for miscarriage. High amounts can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which can result in mental and growth retardation. There is also a higher risk for leukemia in infants of women who drink any type of alcoholic beverages during pregnancy.
From what you have read, you can see that alcohol has a great influence on the body. Many people drink alcoholic beverages and believe that it will not have an affect, but they are wrong! Alcohol plays a very disturbing role and affects you physically, mentally and spiritually. Personally, drinking alcoholic beverages is something that doesnt have to be part of your life. Alcohol is a want, not a need, and if you live a life without alcohol you will definitely live a life of happiness. Dont take my word for it try it!
Category: Social Issues

Alcoholism

Alcoholism and its Effects On the Family
Alcohol is a very powerful drug. It can ruin someones life. It may also be able to ruin everyone that alcoholic lives around. But first what is alcoholism.
Alcoholism is a chronic disorder characterized by dependence on alcohol, repeated excessive use of alcoholic beverages, development of withdrawal symptoms on reducing or ceasing alcohol intake, morbidity that may include cirrhosis of the liver, and decreased ability to function socially and vocationally. Currently believed by many to be a disease with strong genetic links.

One thing that defines alcoholism is denial. Early in the development of alcoholism, occasional episodes of excessive drinking are explained away by both parents. Drinking because of being tired, worry, or a bad day is not unbelievable. The idea is that the event is isolated and is not a problem.(Harrison)
After denial the family tries to get rid of the problem. The non-alcoholic parent realizes that the drinking is not normal and tries to tell the alcoholic to quit, be more careful, or at least cut down. The parent also tries to hide the problems from the outside and keep up a strong look. The kids may now start to have problems due to the family stress.(Harrison)
Now comes all the chaos and disorganization. The family balance is starting to break up. The non-alcoholic parent can no longer pretend everything is okay. That parent spends most of the time going from problem to problem. Financial problems are not unusual. At this point the parent is likely to seek outside help.(Harrison)
Now we are starting to rebuild the structure and regain control. The non-alcoholic parent coping abilities have become strengthened. He or she gradually takes over a larger share of the responsibility for the family. This may mean getting a job or taking over the money. Rather than focusing on getting the alcoholic to shape up, the spouse is now taking charge and tries to encourage family life, in spite of the alcoholism.(Harrison)
Now it is time to try and get away from the alcoholic. Separation or divorce may be tried. If the family remains together, the family continues living around the alcoholic. In the case of separation, family reform occurs without the alcoholic member. If the alcoholic achieves sobriety, a resolution may take place. Either way, both parents must straighten up their roles within the family and make new adjustments.(Harrison)
There are many places you can go to get help. First of all there is Alcoholics Anonymous which is for those who are drinking and want to go get help with there disease. Then there is Ala-non which is for those who have a close relationship with the alcoholic. Ala-non helps them by giving them ideas on how to cope with an alcoholic. There is another type of Ala-non which is called Ala-teen which is for kids that need coping with there alcoholic parents or relatives.

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In the end if the alcoholic in the family gets help the better the family is. But problems may still occur. First off the alcoholic is never cured from the disease. If he or she picks up a drink ever again they will be hooked in a snap and go through the cycle again. Also the alcoholic may suffer other problems such as being bi-polar. And the family might have become so unstable that they can never get back to a steady life. So even after the alcoholic gets help they still might have some problems.

So after all alcohol is a very strong drug. Look at what can happen to one family if they are living in an alcoholic household. Such as money problems and house troubles. But still if the alcoholic family gets help they can overcome the disease. That is what an alcoholic family goes through and if they are lucky it is a happy ending after all.

Alcoholism

In Young Age
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse is a growing problem in our society. Daily, people
are injured and killed in alcohol-related accidents and this has an effect on
each and every person as a result of these occurrences. Whether we are
personally involved or have directly suffered from the activities of someone who
is under the influence of alcohol, we all suffer from the negative consequences
of alcohol. Since we have those who choose to abuse these privileges we need to
develop consequences for them. By learning what leads people to drink alcohol,
and how this affects their lives, we can then determine what actions need to be
taken to help remove ourselves from our ever-increasing attraction to alcohol.

Because the abuse of alcohol often begins with adolescents and young adults,
most research is based around them. At this particular time in life we hope to
find out why these young adults choose to drink, and what motivates them to
drink. Michael and Rebecca C. Windle, in their research, were able to show
several reasons that provided incentives for adolescents to consume alcohol.

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Using a written survey, it was determined that the high-school students being
studied used alcohol to cope with problems in their lives, including
“task-oriented”, “emotion-oriented”, and “avoidance
coping (Windle & Windle, 1996, p. 551).” The only major discrepancies
in results between the sexes became obvious when it was shown by Windle and
Windle that girls were more likely to use alcohol for avoidance and
emotion-oriented coping than were boys, but the boys were more likely to have
alcohol problems (Windle & Windle, 1996). Also found was that adolescents
drank less often for social reasons than for the aforementioned coping reasons (Windle
& Windle, 1996). However, coping motives were responsible for an increased
consumption of alcohol (Windle & Windle, 1996). A surprising result of this
study was that the students drank more frequently as a result of positive daily
events than negative daily events (Windle & Windle, 1996). This suggests
that while young people do drink because they are unhappy with certain events in
their lives, they are more likely to drink because something good has happened
to them recently. Alcoholism is also thought to be passed genetically from
parents to their children. By comparing males with a family history of
alcoholism to males with a history without alcoholism, we can determine the
relationship between genetics, alcoholism, and alcoholic children. While
frequency and quantity of alcoholic consumption of children of alcoholics (COA’s)
and non-COA’s were similar, COA’s were more than twice as likely to be
diagnostically determined alcoholics than were the non-COA’s (Finnet al., 1997).

This shows that one can drink as much as an alcoholic, but not actually be an
alcoholic one’s self. This may contribute to a lack of social understanding of
alcoholism, as we tend to think of an alcoholic as someone who frequently drinks
alcohol, when, instead, the definition of an alcoholic must be changed to
someone genetically pre-disposed to alcoholism or addiction. Another approach to
researching alcoholism was exercised by Sher, Wood, Wood and Raskin. They showed
the differences between expectancies related to alcohol of COA’s and non-COA’s
over a four-year period of time. What was found was that COA’s drank much more
frequently to reduce tension, become more social, make activities more
interesting and perform better than non-COA’s did (Sher et al., 1996). This
could result from a more familiar approach to alcohol, as it presumably had an
effect on the early years of each young adult. At the same time, there was a
general decrease in drinking for these reasons from the time the study began to
its completion four years later (Sher et al., 1996). This research gives us
important insight into reasons for alcohol use, and could provide better
treatment for alcoholic COA’s than is currently being provided. Somewhat similar
to the above research, was that of Chassin, Curran, Hussong and Colder. These
four psychologists were able to show a non-genetic relationship between fathers,
their adolescent children, and peers of the adolescents. They found that COA’s
“substance use growth curve started at a significantly higher level than it
did for non-COA’s… (Chassin et al., 1996, p. 74)” meaning that not only
did the adolescents use alcohol (among other substances), but they used more
than did their non-COA peers. Also, when a COA was combined with drug-using
peers, the adolescent was even more likely to have a significantly higher use of
alcohol (Chassin et al., 1996). This research also shows that children of
alcoholic mothers also “showed steeper substance use growth (Chassin et
al.,1996, p. 74)” than non-COA’s but there generally was not a large effect
on the adolescents. A hypothesis offered by Chassin Curran, Hussong and Colder
on reasons for increased alcohol use was the following: In terms of the
parenting pathway, both maternal and paternal alcoholism were related to
decreased paternal monitoring (although the relation was only marginally
significant for fathers’ alcoholism). In turn, adolescents whose fathers
reported lower levels of moitoring were more likely to associate with drug-using
peers, and these peer associations predicted increases in substance use over
time. Adolescents whose fathers reported less monitoring of their behavior also
had higher initial substance use levels (Chassin et al., 1996, p. 75). From
this, we can deduce that parental alcoholism is not the only cause of increased
alcohol abuse among adolescents, but rather the additional aspects that come
along with having an alcoholic parent. These aspects may include spending less
time with one’s child and external expressions of alcoholism (violence,
depression, etc) that may cause a child to deal as infrequently as possible with
the alcoholic parent. A great deal of research is going into studying the
effects and consequences of alcoholism and alcohol use today. This is necessary
to provide rehabilitation and other help to alcoholics, as from research, an
addiction is not necessarily created, but born. We can all benefit, emotionally,
financially and otherwise from a better understanding of alcoholism.

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