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In present day society, illness runs rampant among cities. Some individuals recognize their disease and seek help, while others continue to walk the streets unaware that they are infected. The disease does not cure itself and only continually increase in severity as an individual ages; however, thousands of people die each year not knowing they even had a problem. This problem which affects our society each day is alcoholism. There are three main aspects which deal with alcoholism and what effects alcoholism has on the human body, and what can be done to cure alcoholism. The first point being addressed is what exactly alcoholism is.
According to The Readers Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary, alcoholism is a diseased condition resulting from the excessive use or persistent use of alcoholic beverages. Alcoholism has divided into two major forms -- alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence (Goodwin 1998). Alcohol abuse is the excessive consumption of alcohol which has detrimental effects on the people and situations surrounding an individual; whereas, alcohol dependence is a physical attachment to the alcohol. Alcohol abuse leads to hazardous behavior, such as drunken driving and continued drinking despite negative consequences on family, work, or social functioning.
Alcohol dependence involves withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is not used, and lack of control over drinking despite serious social and medical problems (Goodwin 1998). Various studies have been performed to show the relationship between alcoholism and genetics. New research on male twins show that genes play a critical role in the development of milder forms of alcoholism, such as, occasional abuse that can land the drinker in dangerous circumstances, particularly while driving (Goodwin 1998). The genetic similarity between twins makes them the perfect subjects on which to perform testing. Previous research has shown that people with an alcoholic family member have a two to four times higher risk of becoming alcoholic than members of the general population (Goodwin 1998).
Many people believe adolescence and development affects alcoholism. The study noted that the way children are raised influences whether they will drink as adolescents and adults (Goodwin 1998). Parental influence on a child is fundamental in determining the childs outlook on alcohol consumption. Psychologically, both environment and genetics play important roles in whether a person will develop alcoholism or not.
A study regarding alcohol has recently come out and supported the consumption of alcohol to a limited degree. However, scientists are wary of giving out this information because when a study is published that proves that moderate alcohol use to two drinks per day -- has potent medicinal effects, its new guaranteed to prompt many Americans to raise a glass and cheer (Apthorp, 1999). Scientists simply want to ensure that this information does not further promote alcoholics to drink. Dr.
Charles Hedeken, an endowed professor of medicine at Harvard University comments, The difference between drinking small or large amounts is the difference between preventing and causing premature death (Apthorp, 1999). When people continuously consume an excessive amount of alcohol they are at four times the health risks than individuals who enjoy a glass of wine at dinner. You cant tell people to start drinking because you dont know how people will take that advice, said Harvard's Dr. Eric Rimm. Indeed, while moderate amounts of alcohol... increase the good form of cholesterol and keep platelets in the blood from becoming too sticky and clotting, there are other ways to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (Apthorp, 1999).
The second point being addressed concerning alcoholism is what effects alcohol has on the human body through development. As a person ages, alcohol has been recognized as having an effect on human strokes. Heavy alcohol consumption can induce stroke bits destructive actions on blood pressure, the heart blood, and blood flow to the brain. Moderate alcohol intake seems to decrease stroke risk (Windle 2000).
Alcohol does not only promote self destruction it also has societal effects. There are increase public health dangers, such as, alcoholism, hypertension, obesity, stroke, cardiomyopathy, a number of cancers, liver disease, accidents, suicides, and fetal alcohol syndrome (Rae 1993). Alcohol also increases the risk of breast cancer among women. In one study, for ever 10 grams of alcohol consumed daily, the risk of invasive breast cancer increased by nine percent.
Women who drank two to three drinks daily had a fifty-seven percent higher risk of death from breast cancer than abstainers (Windle 2000). Alcohol overall has a negative effect on any individuals lifestyle. Family, work, and self-esteem are all aspects of life that are destroyed by alcoholism. Alcohol can have significantly negative effects on individuals, but some more than others. Women who are pregnant should be sure to sustain from alcohol in order for proper development in the child. Abstinence prevents infliction of the fetal alcohol syndrome in the fertilized embryo, developing fetus, and live infant (Windle 2000).
People with medical conditions should be wary of the effects of alcohol. If you have a medical condition such as ulcers or liver disease, shun alcohol because it worsens health problems (Windle 2000). Recovering alcoholics should constantly abstain from any type of alcoholic beverage because their problem is continuous throughout development. Even after a remote dry period, the alcoholic will pick up drinking habits that where he or she left off. Alcohol consumption also effects basic motor skills and coordination which enables the individual to operate vehicles or heavy machinery. Teenagers should also abstain from drinking because it limits growth through regular development.
Another function of the body which alcohol affects is a persons sleeping pattern. Sleeping disturbances associated with alcoholism include increased time required to fall asleep, frequent awakenings, and a decrease in subjective sleep quality associated with daytime fatigue (Rae 1993). The effects on sleeping increase when a drinker limits their intake. Abrupt reduction of heavy drinking can trigger alcohol withdrawal syndrome, accompanied by pronounced insomnia with marked sleep fragmentation. (Rae 1993). Alcohol consumption has numerous effects on the body throughout development, both small and large. The best way to limit these effects is to drink in moderation limiting your self to one or two glasses of wine or beer a day.
An additional issue concerning alcoholism is the different roles alcoholism plays in the lives of various people while in the different stages of development. Among teenagers, alcohol is a rebellious act seen as a rite of passage. Many parents have med emotions about their kids drinking... If they did it, how can they say no to their kids? Teens often read parents ambivalence as an OK to drink (Kiianmaa 2000). After having many teenage friends that experimented with underage drinking, I feel education about drinking should be promoted to ensure safety.
Alcohol remains the fuel behind car crashes, suicides, rapes, sexually transmitted diseases and violence that cost hundreds of teens their health or lives each year (Kiianmaa 2000). In order to regulate teenage drinking, educators and parents are beginning to address the issue in schools. The education system has begun to set up programs to help the fight against underage drinking. Students can be suspended or even cut from sports and other extracurricular activities if they are caught drinking (Kiianmaa 2000). The effects of alcohol even have different results between men and women.
The average drinking mans intake is about twice that of the average drinking woman (Schuckit 2001). Perhaps, development and the gender separation between men and women create some differences. Situations also effect how the two different sexes will react to alcohol. Women are at high risk when they are divorced and unemployed with no children living at home (Schuckit 2001). The last point being addressed is what can be done to cure alcoholism.
According to the articles I have read, a certain degree of treatment can benefit an alcoholic, but the primary factor in recovery must be personal will. For those individuals who can not successfully quit on their own, there are several alternative therapies to overcome alcoholism. The first technique is the twelve-step facilitation therapy where the therapist teaches clients the effects of alcohol and drugs based on the disease concept of addiction (Begleiter 1994). The next suggested treatment was discussed throughout the textbook; it is cognitive behavioral therapy. In this form of recovery, the therapist helps clients to evaluate the impact of alcohol and drugs on their lives and to make a reasoned decision to quit (Begleiter 1994).
The last treatment suggested was the motivational enhancement therapy. During this therapy, the therapist helps clients to improve their level of commitment and motivation to change (Begleiter 1994). The therapist emphasizes a clients personal responsibility for change and facilitates the clients self-efficiency or optimism (Begleiter 1994). Every individuals problems vary in severity and each individual is prone to need different treatments. The results of the above therapies are incredibly similar with each study having a high success rate. The most prominent results were after an individual went through all three therapies.
For all three combined, the average number of drinking days dropped from 25 month to 3. 1 months (Begleiter 1994). Along with going through these treatments, recovering alcoholics may find that a healthier lifestyle can be beneficial in deterring drinking. Research shows that a well balanced diet can control cravings, reduce stress, and improve physical health (Begleiter 1994). Also, regular exercise helps to relieve depression and anxiety, which could lead to drinking (Begleiter 1994). Alcoholism effects the entire population in various ways, whether it be a family member, friend, or acquaintance. It is a problem which continues to increase in our society.
By knowing what alcoholism is, by knowing how alcoholism affects the human body, and by knowing what can be done to cure alcoholism, individuals can begin to eliminate the problem. Awareness is the only way to deter the problem and help those with the disease. Bibliography: -Apthorp, Stephen P. , Alcohol and Substance Abuse (1999); -Begleiter, H. , and Kissin, B. , eds. , The Genetics of Alcoholism (1994); -Clark, W. B. , and Hilton, M. E. , eds. , Alcohol in America (1991); -Consumer Reports Books Editors, The Facts about Drug Use Among Adolescents (1992); - Goodwin, D. W. , Teenage Alcoholism, 2 d ed. (1998); -Kiianmaa, K. , et al. , eds. , Genetic Aspects of Alcoholism (2000); -Rae, S. , ed. , The Faber Book of Drink, Drinkers, and Drinking (1993); -Schuckit, M. , Drug and Alcohol Abuse (1998) & .
Drinking: Consequences and Reasons of the Adolescence. , (June 3, 2001) -Windle, Michael Windle, Ph. D. of The New York State Research Institute on Addictions, Alcoholism. , (January 17, 2000)
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