Causes and Effects of Alcoholism
Many people refer alcoholism to the social promiscuity and permissiveness. Others regard it as the immoral behavior leading to the social degradation. Unfortunately, only a few are aware of the fact that alcoholism is the severe disease characterized by metabolic changes due to which a person is unable to stop after the first drink. At first, people enjoy consuming alcoholic beverages. However, in the course of time, the stable association that alcohol is the pleasure is formed in the human brain. In this case, there develops the psychological dependence. Alcoholism is a set of bad habits related to alcohol abuse, adverse impact on health, life, work, and general well-being. The paper seeks to examine the causes and effects of alcoholism as a psychological and physical dependence on alcohol that is manifested in the metabolic processes of the human body and develops as a result of chronic abuse.
Alcoholism is a serious illness related to chronic pathologies which subordinate will, destroy the psyche, degrade individuals, and adversely affect the functioning of all the internal organs and systems. If a person does not quit consuming alcohol excessively, he/she may die or get into the alcoholic coma. The multi-faceted factors serve as an impetus for the development of alcoholism (Alters & Schiff, 2013). The most common one are the established drinking traditions. Individuals drink with colleagues, classmates, relatives, and family members on any occasion. Non-drinkers are often perceived as the anti-social elements and are condemned by others.
Gradually, the reasons to drink become far-fetched as a person seeks to take another dose of alcohol. In such circumstances, even a man with the strong spirit cannot resist. Another social cause of alcoholism is the lack of interest in the chosen specialty and work performed. The inability to confront the serious life issues also poses a challenge (Prentiss, 2010). It can be a betrayal, divorce, family discord, loneliness, loss of a loved one, and the deadly disease. Trying to forget about the difficulties, people tend to compensate the depressed state with the artificial feeling of joy and euphoria. Poor living conditions, housing issues, the lack of permanent income, inadequate nutrition, and poverty motivate people to drink alcohol. Therefore, they start abusing it out of the despair to deal with the bitter reality. Some occupations provoke a tendency to consume alcohol due to the excessive psychological stress, risk to one’s own life, availability of alcoholic beverages, increased responsibility to others, and the suppression of the inner self.
Research on the abstainers, people who drink regularly, and those who suffer from addiction reveals biochemical changes manifested in individuals, who have been abusing alcoholic beverages for a long time. However, it is not clear whether this is due to the excessive drinking. Metabolic processes through which the body gets rid of alcohol quickly develop in the majority of alcoholics. These processes do not occur in healthy people. Individuals, who abuse alcoholic beverages, have a much better tolerance to alcohol. Emotional stress causes physiological changes in the body, but experiments do not confirm that they are the first fundamental cause of alcoholism. However, researchers claim that the development of alcoholism is associated with the certain physical characteristics.
It has been proved that children whose parents are alcoholics have a 25% higher risk of developing dependence than children of non-drinking parents (Gunn & Taylor, 2014). Genetic factors undoubtedly affect one’s susceptibility to alcohol. However, it is not the main cause of the problem. Experts highlight the social and psychological factors and claim that the genetic factors are only the basis on which they operate.
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Everything depends on the person, his ability to adapt to the surrounding world, life circumstances, as well as the nature of the tendencies of the human mind. In this case, people drink to get free from restrictions, gain confidence, find their own place in life, stop being afraid, avoid panic attacks, anxiety, get rid of sadness, aggression, and escape from complexes. Due to the nature of the psyche, a person sometimes cannot express hisher own views directly; therefore, he/she starts consuming alcoholic beverages to attract attention. It can be also applied to all other cases where alcohol supposedly helps a person to have better self-realization. Spleeny and anxious people suffer from alcohol addiction as they try to get rid of their fear and troubles.
Throughout their lives, drinkers are faced with many issues, namely aggressiveness and loss of self-control in a state of intoxication and hangover, accidents, hypothermia and overheating in the state of extreme intoxication, and alcohol poisoning. Moreover, alcoholics are at a great risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver, cancers, cardiovascular diseases, psychoses, and disability. In addition, they are often arrested for being drunk in public. Alcohol addiction increases conflicts in the family and may even lead to its destruction.
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The social consequences of alcoholism are considerable. It increases the number of traffic and working accidents as well as economic costs associated with the payment of disability benefits, and the fight against crime in a state of intoxication. Alcoholism also leads to the work absenteeism and lost productivity. Alcohol abuse reduces the life expectancy for about twenty years, and it often causes premature death from infectious diseases due to the decreased immunity (Becker & Gardner, 2012).
In order to assess the seriousness of such problem as alcoholism, it is necessary to comprehend the social damage that it generates. The addiction to alcohol leads to the ruination of families, birth of sick children who may also become alcoholics in the future. The crime rate due to drunkenness has been steadily growing. The prevalence of alcoholism in the modern society leads to its degradation. The number of the working-age population reduces due to serious health problems. The consequences of alcoholism adversely affect not only the person who drinks, but also the whole society and deteriorate the genotype of the entire nation. Therefore, it is necessary to focus on the prevention of this severe disease rather than its treatment.