Alcohol is a legal drug, and one of the oldest and most widely used. Generally, people drink alcohol because a drink or two dulls the senses and brings about a slightly euphoric feeling. Research has shown that occasional moderate drinking is not only harmless, but can have health benefits.
The problem is, there are 10 to 15 million Americans who abuse alcohol, and alcohol is responsible for 100,000 deaths each year. Adolescents account for 4.5 million of those who drink too much. Unfortunately, too many of them drink and drive, and alcohol related automobile accidents are the leading cause of death among those between the ages of 15 and 24 years. Alcohol addiction is dangerous on many levels.
The ingesting of illegal drugs may cause a more rapid addiction, and may have a greater affect on an addict’s behavior, but the high levels of alcohol consumption, combined with how readily it is available, make it a dangerous drug. Alcohol is a drinkable form of ethanol that comes in three forms, beer, wine, and liquor.
Beer, which contains three to six percent alcohol, is made from fermented grains. Wine has 11 to 14 percent alcohol and is derived from fermented fruit. When a fermented product is distilled, it becomes liquor. Liquor contains 40 to 50 percent alcohol. An addict can be addicted to any of these forms of alcohol.
Alcohol, because it affects the nerve cells found deep in the brain, initially acts as a stimulant and creates a sense of relaxation. When too much alcohol is consumed, inhibitions are lifted and people act in a manner they would not if sober, in other words, a drunk can make a fool of himself or herself.
Nausea, loss of balance, and slurred speech are other indications that too much alcohol has been consumed. Continuing to drink can lead to a state of unconsciousness. Whether an individual is an alcoholic or not, consistently drinking too much is alcohol abuse. People who abuse alcohol are taking tremendous risks.
Permanent health problems such as, brain damage, cardiological problems, and liver disease result from drinking too much over a long period of time. Alcohol abuse also increases the risk of pneumonia, tuberculosis, and mouth and throat cancer.
The gastrointestinal system, pancreas and the kidneys are also damaged through over consumption of alcohol. Malnutrition is also common because there is a disruption in the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients. Furthermore, the immune system is disturbed, which makes an individual more susceptible to all diseases and infections.
Psychologically, people who abuse alcohol gradually lose contact with family and friends. Their ability to keep gainful employment diminishes. They exhibit antisocial behavior, and in general lose the life they once knew. Everyone in the community pays for the price of drunkenness. A tremendous amount of police resources go into alcohol related disturbances, violence, crime, and traffic accidents.
It is not how often or the amount of alcohol that indicates alcohol addiction, it is the behaviors and consequences of those behaviors that indicate a problem. A problem drinker develops a tolerance for the substance, and needs to drink an increasingly greater amount to get the high he or she craves.
When an alcoholic tries to stop drinking, he or she suffers physical withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol abuse include perspiration, nausea and a shaking of the body. Some people cannot consume alcohol in any amount. In a society where alcohol consumption is part of the social landscape, not drinking can be extremely difficult.
Perhaps the most notable dangers of alcohol addiction is the potential for death of oneself, or an innocent person in a car driving the other direction along with a whole manner of other possibilities. This is a very real and unfortunate fact anyone with alcohol addiction faces, and should be seriously considered whether it is you or a loved one in the grips of alcohol addiction. There is a way of out of this as well, and looking into different treatment options would be an extremely wise decision on the part of either party.