Alcohol: Most Used and Abused Drug

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Alcohol: Most Used and Abused Drug

Alcohol is the most used and abused drug in the world, for this reason there is no wonder why we have alcohol problems. The most common problem is alcoholism. Alcoholism is a chronic usually progressive disease that includes both a psychological and a physical addiction to alcohol. Alcoholics know what will happen to them when they drink but they are so addicted they can't stop drinking. Alcohol becomes the most important part of the person's life. It totally consumes them, all their thoughts and actions have to do are somehow associated with alcohol. Alcoholism like other illnesses will become worse without treatment and remain life-threatening as long as it is left untreated. The psychological dependence an alcoholic has is when they think alcohol is necessary and life will not be good without it. The physical dependence an alcoholic has is when their body becomes so used to the drug that it now needs alcohol to function without pain. Alcoholism is not a disease experienced only by adults. Alcoholism, like any illness, can strike at any age. Ten percent of the adult drinkers in the U.S are considered alcoholics or at least experience drinking problems to some degree. Surveys have shown that more than one out of three Americans have a personal friend or relative who has had a drinking problem for ten years or longer. Almost two out of three Americans report that they know someone who drinks too much. It is estimated that there are 18 million alcoholic or problem drinkers in the U.S. For every alcoholic there are at least four other people who are affected by the alcoholic. This means that in the U.S. there are at least seventy-two million other people dealing with the disease somehow. Many people believe that alcoholics are people that are the skid row winos and bums. This is a common misconception, actually ninety-four percent of alcoholics live at home, while only six percent are the skid row type.

Ninety percent of all alcoholics are employed, and many work for years before their alcoholism becomes so bad that they cannot perform their job. Federal officials estimate that the abuse of alcohol costs the economy well over one- hundred billion dollars every year. Alcohol does this by making people be less productive at work, taking more sick days, sustaining on the job injuries, collecting more workmen's compensation, and increasing health insurance premiums.

Physical Effects

Prolonged alcohol use like that of an alcoholic can lead to permanent damage of your body. The liver is the organ of the body most vulnerable to damage by alcohol because the liver is where the alcohol is broken down. The liver may become worn out from the daily task of removing alcohol from the blood, this may cause the liver to be unable to perform as well in removing other harmful substances. One of the most dangerous diseases of the liver caused by long-term alcohol use is cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis causes the liver to become inflamed and scarred, which eventually kills the liver and the person. Over fourteen thousand deaths a year from cirrhosis are directly related to alcohol. Alcohol causes an increase in blood pressure, this makes the heart pump harder to move blood around the body. Alcohol can cause an increase in heart rate while at the same time reducing the ability of the heart muscle to pump, it can also cause abnormal heart rhythms. Long-term and heavy use of alcohol can cause a condition of the heart called alcoholic cardiomyopathy, this impairs the heart muscles ability to contract and eventually fail. Alcohol's action on the brain is what causes people to feel intoxicated. A sudden intake of large amounts of alcohol may result in death, this is because nerve impulses to the brain are dangerously blocked. There are over two hundred deaths a year from this kind of accidental alcohol poisoning. Alcohol also has an increasing effect on our brain...
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