Why is Alcohol an Addiction?

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Why Alcohol?

Alcohol is a big problem in today's society and the abuse is even bigger. Alcohol abuse is seen as extremely problematic as it shows up in cases of domestic violence, dangerous driving, and disorderly conduct every day. Alcohol is not only affecting the behavior of people but their health as well.

History of Alcohol

The big question is when did alcohol start becoming a problem? During the 1500's in Britain, gin consumption reached 18 million gallons and alcoholism became widespread. In the 1800's, a change in attitudes was present and the temperance movement began promoting the moderate use of alcohol to the public. This led to it ultimately becoming a push for total prohibition. In 1920, the United States passed a law prohibiting the manufacture, sale, import, and export of intoxicating liquors.
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Biology of Alcohol

People become addicted to alcohol resulting in changes of their behavior and body. People use alcohol as a way of pleasure because they enjoy how it makes their body feel. The brain is wired to seek out pleasing feelings which is why the addiction of alcohol is a disease that affects the brain, creating a craving for a repetition of the good sensations. Many people with low self-esteem use alcohol to become socially accepted with their peers to boost their confidence but this can lead to extended use and addiction. Addiction to alcohol is a process that evolves over time. When people drink excessively for a period of time, they start to feel dependent on the product.

Treatments for Alcohol Abusers

Because of significant advances in the past 60 years, there are many treatment methods currently available for people addicted to alcohol. The options include behavioral treatments, medications, and mutual-support groups. Behavioral treatments, led by health professionals, are aimed at changing drinking behavior through counseling and are supported by studies showing that they can be beneficial. There are three medications that are currently approved in the US to help people stop or reduce their drinking habit and prevent relapse. The last option is a program that combines peer treatment with health professionals but can be unreliable as it is difficult for researchers to determine their success rates due to the anonymous nature of mutual-support groups. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition that can occur in people who have been drinking heavily for weeks, months, or years then either stop or significantly reduce their consumption. Some symptoms of withdrawal are nausea, sweating, vomiting, and headaches leading to more dangerous cases of severe anxiety, hallucinations, seizures, high blood pressure, and severe tremors.

Statistics on Alcohol

There are about 17.6 million people suffer from alcohol abuse or addiction. Since alcohol is a large problem in the United States, there are hundreds to thousands of alcoholism treatment programs for those thousands of people that become addicted to alcohol every year. Harmful use of alcohol results in the death of about 88,000 people annually. About only 10% of the 17.6 million people will receive rehab of some sort. One more fact is that around 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related injuries such as car crashes.
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Impacts of Being Addicted

Our nation's number one health issue is alcoholism and drug dependence. After a while, people who regularly abuse alcohol develop a tolerance to obtain the same effects which leads to ultimately becoming hooked on the substance. Once drinking becomes a significant part of a person's life, it can lead to more devastating long term and life-threatening effects. Alcohol abusers and addicts can develop liver damage, cancer, dementia, increased blood pressure, and are at higher risks for a heart disease or stroke. In addition to the permanent damage to an individual's physical health, addiction can also cause relationship problems, tension with family, job difficulties, financial problems, and legal issues. Alcoholism impacts a person's behavior or mental process because our brain relies on a delicate balance of chemicals and processes. Alcohol is a depressant which means it can disrupt that balance, affecting our thoughts, feelings, and actions.
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Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

If there is a way to help someone that has a drinking problem, execute and find out what to do. There is a way of telling if an individual abuses or depends on alcohol. Alcohol abusers have some ability to set limits on their drinking but their use is still dangerous to themselves and others around them. Some common symptoms or signs of alcohol abuse are repeatedly neglecting responsibilities at home, school, or work, experiencing legal problems, drinking as a way to relax, and continuing to drink even though he or she knows that it is causing problems in their relationships. Signs of alcohol dependence are tolerance of alcohol, withdrawal, losing control over drinking, when you feel like quitting drinking but you can't, and when you give up on other activities because of drinking.
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MLA Citations

"Alcohol Facts and Statistics." Alcohol Facts and Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2015.


"Alcoholism | Alcohol Dependence |Alcohol Abuse | Alcohol Addiction." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2015.


"Teen Health and Wellness." Teen Health and Wellness. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2015.


Pictures


"Alcohol". Google Images. 24 September 2015.


"History of Alcohol". Google Images. 24 September 2015.


"Car crash due to alcoholism". Google Images. 24 September 2015.


"Alcohol Abuse". Google Images. 24 September 2015.


"Alcohol Addiction". Google Images. 24 September 2015.