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“It discloses secrets; ratifies and confirms our hopes; thrusts the coward forth to battle; eases the anxious mind of its burthen; instructs in arts. Whom has not a cheerful glass made eloquent! Whom not quite free and easy from pinching poverty! ” (Horace first century B. C. ) Initially, I wanted to write this paper on substance related disorders. However, in reading the text I felt compelled to focus on the psycological effects and problems that are related to alcoholism. With the media we are all too aware of the widespread dilemma that alcohol contributes to our current age.

I am amazed that there were indeed alcoholics as far back as 3000 years before christ! Despite the pleasure and relaxation that alcohol can bring to some, it can also destroy others self-wort and integrity. Alcohol affects virtually everyone, whether the individual is himself an alcoholic, is the family member of one, or has been the victim of an alcohol related crime. In spite of the dangers alcohol presents,it is still in countless social cirles. Alcohol penetraes all ages, educational, occupational, and socioeconomical boundaries.

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Each year it is estimated that ten percent of all deaths are related to alcohol abuse. Am astonishing fifty percent of all major automobile accidents, and murders are associated with alcohol. On and on the statistics point to the enormous dangers of alcohol, yet it is a legalized drug. As bleak as this problems seems to be on society as a whole, it is also rueful for the poor soul who is alcohol dependent. The life span of the alcoholic is about ten years shorter than the non-drinker. The lifetime prevalence for alcoholism in the United States is as high as fourteen percent.

Taking these statements into consideration it is not difficult to believe that alcohol is ranked the third major cause of death in the United States. Not so suprising is the fact that approximately thirty seven percent of alcohol abusers suffer from at least one co-existing mental disorder. Two psychopathological conditions that have been linked to addictive disorders are depression, and antisocial personality. Schizophrenia, borderline personality, and anxiety disorders have also been connected with this diease. This affliction is five times more dominant among men, than women.

There is no known reasoning for this. However, it is theorized by some that women are more apt to be “closet drinkers”, and are less likely to commit a crime under the influence. Thus, it can be assumed that the number of female alcoholics could be conceivably higher. Alcohol is a depressant, and also impairs judgment, so suicide is often contimplated by the alcoholic. Approximately ten percent actually accomplish taking thier own lives. It is really not difficult to discern how a predisposed addict can fall into addiction.

The first drink is all that it takes. Once in the bloodstream alcohol affects the higher brain centers first. This causes a warm feeling, relaxation, and a mild euphoria. As performance control wavers, the indulgermay do things he would not normally do. This can be inviting to some, as the individual may feel more sociable. Anxieties abate, and the world may seem a happier place. If the first experience is entertaining, the cycle begins. When symptoms of alcohol tolerance is reached, alcohol dependence begins.

In this vicious succession the cell metabolism adapts itself to the presence of alcohol in the bloodstream and now requires it for stability. If the addict’s parents were themeselves alcoholics it is musch more difficult to fight these cravings. Genetic research clearly indicates a link with alcoholism and heredity. The alcoholic who has survived years of drinking and attempts to stop, may have difficulty. Withdrawal delirium is commom. Without alcohol in the bloodstream the individual may become agitated by slight noises or sudden movements.

The longer the individual abstains the more severe the symptoms may become. Disorientation, hallucinations, and acute fear may incur. Withdrawal symptoms can be deadly, and medical assistance should be utilized. With current drugs such as chlordiazepoxide, the death rate has been drastically reduced. Ironically, many alcoholics can lead somewhat normal lives. However, in later years of excess drinking the brain is affected. There is no way around it. It is up to our society as a whole to teach the younger generation, that alcohol is not a wise choice. Our body is a temple, it is time that we treat it as such.

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