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Essay about Symptoms, Effects, and Treatments of Alcoholism

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Symptoms, Effects, and Treatments of Alcoholism



     When the words “substance abuse” are heard, most frequently the thought of using marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or some other illegal drug pops into mind. Alcohol, however, can be abused in the same manner as the above mentioned illegal drugs. Abnormal craving for alcohol can be averted using many techniques, even including drug therapy.

     Alcoholism is defined as “a disorder characterized by the excessive consumption of and dependence on alcoholic beverages, leading to physical and psychological harm and impaired social and vocational functioning” (www.dictionary.com). Alcoholism has no prejudice; it can affect anyone, of any age. Though it is thought to arise from a combination of physiological, psychological, social, and genetic factors, no hard proof is yet available to back up this theory. An unmistakable fact, however, is that in 1998 the number of driving and driving related deaths was 41,501 in the United States alone. Also in 1998 in the United States 397,607 potential years of life were lost due to drunken driving (http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/databases). The projected number of alcohol abusers and dependents aged 18 or older for the United States in the year 2000 is 15,416, with the highest percentage of these people being between the ages of 18-29 (http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/databases).

     Although the loss of life due to alcohol related incidents is a pressing issue, there are also many other risks that are related to alcohol abuse and dependency. One of the most frequently known risks is cirrhosis of the liver. The affects of this disease include the hardening of the liver. Scar tissue often develops, and liver failure is often the end result of this condition. Ulcers in the lining of the stomach or intestines are also common side effects of alcohol abuse. These ulcers are small holes which develop from the level of acidity being too high in the stomach or intestines (Bier). The use of alcohol during pregnancy is also an extremely dangerous situation. When a pregnant mother consumes alcohol regularly during pregnancy, she risks not only her own safety, but the safety of her unborn child. The reason alcohol effects the unborn child is it hinders the ability of the fetus to receive enough oxygen and nourishment from the mother’s blood. Symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) are far r...


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... alcohol has started to go down, and with the attention and awareness of the public it may continue to do so. Should the public decide to use the resources available, alcoholism should no longer be a prevalent problem in our society.

Works Cited

Ackerman, R. J., Children of Alcoholics: A Bibliography and Resource Guide, Deerfield Beach, Florida: Health Communications Publications, 1990.

Alcoholics Anonymous. “Alcoholics Anonymous Website”. 7 October 2001. www.alcoholics-anonymous.org

Behavioral Medicine Associates. “Alcohol Addiction”. 5 October 2001.

Bier, W. C. (ed.), Problems in Addiction: Alcohol and Drug Addiction, New York: Fordham University, 1962.

Dictionary.com. “Definition of Alcoholism”. 5 October 2001. www.dictionary.com

Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse. “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome- Fact Sheet”. 5 October 2001. < http://www.well.com/user/woa/fsfas.htm>

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information. “Straight facts about Drugs and Alcohol”. 3 October 2001.

National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism. “Quick facts”. 5 October 2001. < http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/>

     


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