What Is Alcoholism?
Dealing with alcohol can be confusing because some adults can enjoy it, while others can develop a problem with it. This is called alcoholism or being and alcoholic. Theses people have little control over their drinking and can't stop without help. Alcoholism is chronic, which means it continues over time. It often gets worse, causing the person to develop serious health problems
What Happens When People Drink?
When people drink too much, they might do or say things they don't mean. They might hurt themselves or other people, especially if they drive a car. Someone who drinks too much also might throw up and could wake up the next day feeling awful — that's called a hangover.
Drinking too much alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning, which can kill a person. Over time, people who abuse alcohol can do serious damage to their bodies. The liver, which removes poisons from the blood, is especially at risk.
It can be tempting to try alcohol. It's normal to be curious about new things, especially if it seems like everyone is doing it. But everyone is not drinking alcohol. If someone says you're immature for not drinking, don't believe them. You're actually more mature because you're being strong and smart. Still, it can be hard if you feel unpopular because of your decision. Good friends won't stop being your friend just because you don't want to drink alcohol. If you feel this kind of pressure, talk to someone you trust.
- One survey found that 32% of the heavy drinkers over 12 were also illegal drug users
- Alcohol-related traffic deaths in the US were 12,998 in 2007. This is more than three times as many American soldiers who died in combat in the first six years of the Iraq war
- 40% of violent crimes occur under the influence of alcohol
- In the U.S., a person is killed in an alcohol-related car accident every 30 minutes