Dangers of Alcoholism
People consume alcohol for different reasons. For most people, alcohol is an essential part of their social life. Whenever they spend time with their friends and family, they have to take alcohol because it is part of their social norms. Another example of this is workmates and friends catching up after a hard day’s work to unwind over a bottle of beer, or a glass of scotch. Other common reasons for taking alcohol include to numb negative emotions and moods such as stress and anxiety. A person with these types of emotions takes alcohol to forget their problems temporarily. People also consume alcohol to boost their confidence, for example, when they want to do something but they don’t feel confident enough. Despite all these reasons, the consumption of alcohol comes with adverse long-term consequences such as diseases, mental health problems, and addiction, as well as short term consequences like impaired judgment.
Alcohol consumption, especially excessive consumption, is a serious issue in society. An important step in addressing the challenges of excessive drinking is finding out some of the factors that push people to drink. An article on Psychology Today titled ‘Why Do People Drink?” gives some of these motivating factors. Before a person takes any action, they have to determine the value and benefit that comes from it, and alcohol consumption is no different. Past experience with alcohol is the first determining factor if the person had a positive interaction and reaction to alcohol before; they are more likely to do it again (Heshmat). The second factor is personality type; impulsive people are more likely to consume alcohol excessively without caring about the consequences. Another factor is social norms; some people consider alcohol an essential part of social interactions like parties, weddings, and spending time with peers.
When a person consumes a few drinks, several things happen to them in the short term. The first thing is that it lowers their inhibition, and they can do things that they wouldn’t do ordinarily. For example, a person can gamble away a lot of their savings and risk their financial security under the influence of alcohol. The second temporary effect of alcohol consumption is impaired judgment and a low level of concentration. Drunk driving is one of the consequences of impaired judgment. Drunk drivers cause hundreds of thousands of deaths each year across the world. Apart from posing a danger to their own lives when driving under the influence, drunk drivers also threaten the lives of motorists and pedestrians on the road (Hingson & Zha 1479). Automobile accidents can also result in serious injuries that cost a lot of money to be treated.
When a person consumes significant amounts of alcohol over a long time, they get addicted. Alcohol addiction is a serious issue. A survey carried out by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2017 showed that about 14.4 million Americans over the age of 12 experienced an occurrence related to alcohol use disorder. An alcohol addict faces many problems in life related to their addiction. One of these is that their education, family, and work are affected. At work, an addict will fail to show up on time and do shoddy work on the jobs assigned to them. Eventually, they will lose their job if they do not get the help that they need on time (Roman & O’Brien 162). An alcoholic also neglects their family responsibilities, such as financial and emotional wellbeing of family members. An alcohol addict needs to go to rehabilitation centers to get treatment that will help them manage their alcoholism. However, the process of recovery takes a lifetime of work and commitment.
The long-term consequences of excessive alcohol consumption are quite severe. The most well-known disease caused by alcoholism is liver cirrhosis that kills tens of thousands of people each year (Scaglione et al. 695). Alcoholism has also been found to increase a person’s risk of developing cancers such as mouth, esophageal, and breast cancer. Alcoholism also affects a person’s brain by reducing the gray matter in the brain. Excessive consumption of alcohol affects other areas of the body such as the cardiovascular, reproductive, and nervous and digestive system. Women who consume alcohol while pregnant risk giving birth to babies with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome that leads to developmental issues as the child grows up. From this discussion, it is clear that excessive consumption of alcohol is harmful for many reasons. People should avoid excessive consumption of alcohol to safeguard their mental and physical wellbeing, as well as that of others around them.
Heshmat, Shahram. “Why Do People Drink?” Psychology Today. 3 March 2017. Retrieved from www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/science-choice/201703/why-do-people-drinkHingson, Ralph W., and Wenxing Zha. “Age of drinking onset, alcohol use disorders, frequent heavy drinking, and unintentionally injuring oneself and others after drinking.” Pediatrics 123.6 (2009): 1477-1484.
Roman, Paul M., and Lauren A. O’Brien. “Dangerous concoctions: alcohol, employment and the family.” Risky Business. Routledge, 2016. 157-176.
Scaglione, Steven, et al. “The epidemiology of cirrhosis in the United States.” Journal of clinical gastroenterology 49.8 (2015): 690-696.