Alcoholism is the continued excessive and usually uncontrollable use of alcoholic drinks. There are many symptoms, complications, treatments and ways of prevention for alcoholism. Certain groups of people may be at a greater risk than others for several reasons. There are numerous factors in how people may become addicted. More than thirteen million Americans abuse alcohol, and over 100,000 deaths are caused by alcohol (AOL,1). Symptoms of alcoholism include some, if not all of the following. Drinking secretly or alone, and on a regular basis are early signs of alcoholism.
Other symptoms include forgetting things that happened while intoxicated, irritability, an unorganized personal or professional life, and seclusion from things that used to occupy time and amuse ones self (Goodwin,6, Berger,68). These symptoms are acquired over time and may be hard to spot. Binge drinking (when somebody consumes large amounts of alcohol in one sitting) is also a sign of alcoholism (AOL,1). Factors of the ability to become an alcoholic depend on a few things. The age at which one starts drinking is a major part of the disease. The younger the age a person starts drinking, the more liable they are to become an alcoholic.
This is due to the fact that if a person starts drinking at a younger age, the more time they have to make it a habit. Also, drinking is more appealing to a younger person due to media and peer pressure. Gender, race, age, and family history are all major factors as well. Young females that have a family history of alcoholism are largely at risk. However, the largest group of people at risk of becoming alcoholics overall is teenagers (Wilson. 1). As a form of rebellion, or just having a god time, alcohol has worked its way into many teenagers lives at one time or another.
The ways to prevent alcoholism are fairly obvious. If a person has a fault for becoming addicted to anything, whether it be cigarettes or chocolate, they stand a chance of becoming an alcoholic. Adults may take years to become alcohol dependant, but the addiction for teenagers happens much more quickly. To prevent this, parents should set good examples of the quantity and number of occasions that they consume alcohol. Parents should also be able to communicate with their teen so that they may be able to detect the problem early on.
The best way to prevent alcoholism is to never drink, but that is rarely seen in the social lives of todays adolescents. There are many forms of treatment for suffering abusive alcoholics. Detoxification, abstinence, or withdrawal is used often, although it is proven almost impossible to quit anything cold turkey. These forms of treatment are usually used as an introduction to a more serious form of therapy. There are also psychological support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, that are used to support one another while trying to overcome the addiction of alcohol.
This organization also uses a 12 Step Program. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy are also popular treatments. Cognitive-behavioral therapy works to reduce the craving for alcohol and how to refuse a drink in a social situation. Motivational therapy makes the alcoholic more responsible for themselves. These three treatments are more beneficial to some patients more than others, but each can be tailored to suit each individual (Minneapolis, 12a). Deaths due to alcohol use and abuse are very common. Nearly 14 million deaths annually are caused by alcohol.
The fatalities occur due to things such as cirrhosis of the liver, suicide, and car accidents (Goodwin, 26). Not only is the drinker putting their own life at risk, but sometimes other peoples lives as well. Currently, the media has been drawing the publics attention to the dangers of drinking while intoxicated. When a drunk driver gets behind the wheel, they not only have poor judgement, but their reflexes are dulled as well. Since alcohol directly affects the nervous system, a driver would not have the ability to control a car or monitor how fast they are going because they have lost most coordination.
The penalties for DWI are severe, and continue to grow and get worse. The drivers license may be suspended and they must pay a large fine. DWI on a persons record may also make finding a job much harder. The largest penalty for DWI is the numerous deaths caused by irresponsible, reckless drivers. Alcoholism is devastating to the alcoholics themselves and their family and friends. As aforementioned, alcoholism brings with it the irritability, violence and instability that ruin relationships. There are support groups for family members and friends of alcoholics such as Alateen and Alanon.
Some alcoholic adults may abuse their children or spouses. Alcohol is also the leading cause of date rape, premature sex, and suicides (Wilson,1). People start drinking heavily for may reasons. One is that they cannot handle stress and other problems in their life such as problems with relationships or financial pressures. They drink to feel relaxed and to block out problems they are experiencing at the time. Alcohol is able to sedate the troubled individual because it is a depressant that reduces the function of the brain and nervous system.
By calming a persons emotions, they often ignore reality. Unfortunately, the alcohol just creates more problems. In conclusion, alcohol abuse is the result of many things and can ruin the lives of not only the consumer, but their loved ones and, if they are drinking and driving, they are taking the lives of others in their hands. There are many ways to recover from alcohol abuse, and each individual can benefit from one more than another. As long as pressure from the media and social gatherings persist, more and more people will begin drinking, increasing the number of deaths per year.