Alcohol Abuse

Essay by speedegrilHigh School, 12th grade February 2005

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Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol is liquid distilled product of fermented fruits, grains and vegetables

used as solvent, antiseptic and sedative moderate potential for abuse. Possible

effects are intoxication, sensory alteration, and/or anxiety reduction. Symptoms

of overdose staggering, odor of alcohol on breath, loss of coordination, slurred

speech, dilated pupils, fetal alcohol syndrome (in babies), and/or nerve and

liver damage. Withdrawal Syndrome is first sweating, tremors, then altered

perception, followed by psychosis, fear, and finally auditory hallucinations.

Indications of possible mis-use are confusion, disorientation, loss of motor

nerve control, convulsions, shock, shallow respiration, involuntary defecation,

drowsiness, respiratory depression and possible death. Alcohol is also known as:

Booze, Juice, Brew, Vino, Sauce. You probably know why alcohol is abused some

reasons are relaxation, sociability, and cheap high. But did you know that

alcohol is a depressant that decreases the responses of the central nervous

system. Excessive drinking can cause liver damage and psychotic behavior.


little as two beers or drinks can impair coordination and thinking. Alcohol is

often used by substance abusers to enhance the effects of other drugs. Alcohol

continues to be the most frequently abused substance among young adults. HERE

ARE SOME STRAIGHT FACTS ABOUT ALCOHOL.... Alcohol abuse is a pattern of problem

drinking that results in health consequences, social, problems, or both.

However, alcohol dependence, or alcoholism, refers to a disease that is

characterized by abnormal alcohol-seeking behavior that leads to impaired

control over drinking. Short-term effects of alcohol use include: -Distorted

vision, hearing, and coordination -Altered perceptions and emotions -Impaired

judgment -Bad breath; hangovers Long-term effects of heavy alcohol use include:

-Loss of appetite -Vitamin deficiencies -Stomach ailments -Skin problems -Sexual

impotence -Liver damage -Heart and central nervous system damage -Memory loss

Here are some quick clues to know if I, or someone close, has a drinking

problem: -Inability to control drinking--it seems that regardless of what you

decide beforehand, you frequently wind up drunk -Using alcohol to escape

problems -A change in personality--turning from Dr. Jekyl to Mr. Hyde -A high

tolerance level--drinking just about everybody under the table

-Blackouts--sometimes not remembering what happened while drinking -Problems at

work or in school as a result of drinking -Concern shown by family and friends

about drinking If you have a drinking problem, or if you suspect you have a

drinking problem, there are many others out there like you, and there is help

available. You could talk to school counselor, a friend, or a parent. Excessive

alcohol consumption causes more than 100,000 deaths annually in the United

States, and although the number shows little sign of declining, the rate per

100,000 population has trended down since the early 1980s. Accidents, mostly due

to drunken driving, accounted for 24 percent of these deaths in 1992.

Alcohol-related homicide and suicide accounted for 11 and 8 percent

respectively. Certain types of cancer that are partly attributable to alcohol,

such as those of the esophagus, larynx, and oral cavity, contributed another 17

percent. About 9 percent is due to alcohol-related stroke. One of the most

important contributors to alcohol-related deaths is a group of 12 ailments

wholly caused by alcohol, among which alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver and

alcohol dependence syndrome are the most important. These 12 ailments together

accounted for 18 percent of the total alcohol-related deaths in 1992. Mortality

due to the 12 causes rises steeply into late middle age range and then declines

markedly, with those 85 and over being at less than one-sixth the risk of 55 to

64-year olds. The most reliable data are for the 12 conditions wholly

attributable to alcohol. The map shows these data for all people 35 and over.

The geographical distribution for men and women follows much the same pattern,

although men are three times as likely to die of one of the 12 alcohol-induced

ailments. The geographical distribution for whites and blacks follows roughly

the same pattern but the rates for blacks are two and half times higher. In the

late nineteenth century blacks, who were then far more abstemious than whites,

were strong supporters of the temperance movement, but the movement in the South

was taken over by whites bent on disenfranchising black people by any means

possible, such as propagating lurid tales of drink-crazed black men raping white

women. Consequently, blacks became less involved in the temperance movement, a

trend that accelerated early in the twentieth century with the great migration

of blacks to the North, where liquor was freely available even during

Prohibition. The geographical pattern of mortality from the 12 conditions wholly

caused by alcohol is partly explained by the average alcohol consumption among

those who drink, which tends to be higher in the Southeast certain areas of the

West and than elsewhere. In New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and in many counties in

the Plains and Mountain states, the rates are high, in part, because of heavy

drinking among Native Americans. Another possible contributor to high rates in

the West is lower family and community support than elsewhere, as suggested by

high divorce and suicide rates, low church membership, and the large number of

migrants from other regions. In the South Atlantic states, black males

contribute heavily to the high mortality rates, although white rates there are

above average. One unexplained anomaly is the comparatively low rates in the

area stretching from Kentucky through Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, to

Louisiana, all states with high alcohol consumption among those who drink. There

were at least four cycles of high alcohol consumption in the last 150 years with

peaks in the 1840s, in the 1860s, the first decade of the twentieth century, and

again in the 1970-1981 period. Each of these peaks was probably accompanied by

an increase in alcohol-related deaths, as suggested by the course of liver

cirrhosis mortality, which, since the early twentieth century, has followed

more-or-less the same trend as consumption of beverages alcohol. America is now

in a phase of declining alcohol consumption, so one would expect that the rate

of alcohol-related deaths would continue to decline. Among westernized

countries, America in the early 1990s was somewhat below average in both alcohol

consumption and liver cirrhosis mortality. If you have been arrested for DWI,

you may be court ordered to go to counseling for alcohol abuse. Does that mean

that you're an alcoholic? Sometimes people get the idea that alcohol abuse and

alcoholism are the same thing. They are not. The National Council on Alcoholism

says, "Alcohol Abuse : a problem to solve. Alcoholism: a disease to

conquer." In case you have wondered what the difference is, here's some

help: Alcohol Abuse is the misuse of the substance, alcohol. You know you are

abusing a substance when: -You continue to use it, even though you're having

social or interpersonal problems because of your use. -You still use it even

though it's causing you physical problems. -Using it the way you do is causing

you legal problems. -You don't live up to major responsibilities on the job or

in your family. Alcoholism refers to being addicted, or dependent on alcohol.

You may be dependent on a substance if any three of the following are true: -You

must use larger and larger amounts of it to get high. -You have withdrawal when

you try to stop or cut down. -You use it much more and for longer times than you

really want to. -You can't seem to cut back and feel a strong need or craving

for it. -You spend a lot of your time just getting the substance. -You'd rather

use than work or be with friends and family. -You keep using, no matter what.

The National Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates, based on

research, that a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) between .02 and .04 makes

your chances of being in a single-vehicle fatal crash 1.4 times higher than for

someone who has not had a drink. If your BAC is between .05 and .09, you are

11.1 times more likely to be in a fatal single vehicle crash, and 48 times more

likely at a BAC between .10 and .14. If you've got a BAC of .15, your risk of

being in a single-vehicle fatal crash is estimated to be 380 times higher than a

non-drinker's. How much do you have to drink..