Alcohol and Drug Abuse Essay

Topics: Drug addiction, Addiction, Alcohol abuse Pages: 5 (1663 words) Published: March 9, 2011
Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Alcohol is a liquor or brew containing alcohol as the active agent. (Online Dictionary) Although it is legal in the United States it is still illegal to those who aren’t twenty one years of age and other. This includes those persons of age purchasing alcohol for those under age. To some college students, heavy drinking that leads to vomiting is not alcohol abuse but simply having a good time. Alcoholism or alcohol dependence is a chronic disorder characterized by compulsive, repeated, and excessive consumption of alcohol to the extent that the individual's health, social and economic functioning is impaired. Alcoholism has four symptoms namely craving, loss of control, physical dependence and tolerance. Craving is a strong urge or need to consume alcohol and loss of control is the inability to control the amount of intake of alcohol. Tolerance can be explained as the need for increased amount of alcohol every time to feel the alcohol's effect. The factors that lead to alcoholism could be genetic, environmental, psychological or social. Many times alcoholism has gone unnoticed for years. Alcoholism does not depend on the kind of alcohol an individual consumes but it depends on the quantity, long period of addiction and the uncontrollable need of it. Some individuals are able to recover from alcoholism easily while there are others who may require medical assistance. Excess alcohol or alcoholism can lead to serious health problems. Short-term effects include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, slurred speech and impaired judgment and coordination. Excessive use of alcohol can lead to depression, heart failure, liver cirrhosis, and damage to vital organs, high blood pressure, sexual dysfunctions and even brain and nervous system damage. Alcoholism has a direct effect on the liver. Alcohol effects begin to show within about ten minutes of consumption and are at their peak for about 40-60 minutes. Since alcohol remains in the blood stream until the liver metabolizes it, increased consumption of alcohol strains the liver and increases the danger of liver breakdown. Alcoholism in pregnant women leads to birth of infants with fetal alcohol syndrome in which case the infants suffer from mental retardation and irreversible physical abnormalities. Despite the fact that alcohol has been used in a number of ways throughout history that can be deemed beneficial, thousands of years ago it was also realized that abusive drinking resulted in negative personal and social problems. For example, a Chinese manuscript written approximately 650 B.C. was recently found which articulated how difficult it was for people to do without beer and also included warnings about the "abuse" of beer. In order to be considered an alcohol abuser you must go through four stages before to the last stage of addiction. The four stages of alcoholism are pre-alcoholic, prodromal, crucial and chronic. The first stage is the use of alcohol without any negative consequences. The drinker has control over the amount of alcohol consumed and rarely drinks to the point of intoxication. The second stage of alcoholism also known as the early stage is associated with the misuse of alcohol. The drinker claims that alcohol is the only way they know how to solve their problems. During the third stage the drinkers tolerance increases. This means that the drinker requires an increased quantity of alcohol every time in order to get the desired effect or feeling. While in this stage their body begins to adapt to the increased level of alcohol and the person learns that they function better with the drinking as the blood alcohol level rises. The last stage is when medical complications start along with the complete loss of control over one's life. Liver cirrhosis, high blood pressure, depression, insomnia, nerve dysfunction and hypertension can occur during this stage. These are serious withdrawal symptoms. This can sometimes cause other problems like insanity or...

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