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Alcoholism is a disease that affects many people. It not only affects the alcoholic, but also their family, friends, co-workers, and strangers. The symptoms are many, as are the causes and the effects.
Alcoholism is defined as an addiction to alcohol. Harmful consequences may result for the alcoholic, yet he continues to drink. The symptoms of alcoholism vary from person to person. The most common symptoms are changes in emotional state or stability, behavior, and personality. “Alcoholics may become angry and argumentative, or quiet and withdrawn or depressed. They may also feel more anxious, sad, tense, and confused. They then seek relief by drinking more” (Gitlow 175).
“Because time and amount of drinking are uncontrollable, the alcoholic is likely to engage in such behaviors as breaking family commitments; spending more money then planned; drinking while intoxicated and getting arrested; making inappropriate remarks to friends, family, and co-workers; and arguing, fighting, and other anti-social actions. The alcoholic would probably neither do such things, nor approve of them in others unless he was drinking” (Johnson 203).
The cause of alcoholism is a combination of biological, psychological, and cultural factors. These factors contribute to the development of alcoholism in an individual. Alcoholism seems to run in families. “Although there is no conclusive indication of how the alcoholism of family members is associated, studies show that 50 to 80 percent of all alcoholics have had a close alcoholic relative” (Caplan 266). Researches have suggested that in several cases alcoholics have an inherited presdiposition to alcohol addiction. Studies of animals and human twins have lent support to this theory.
Alcoholism can also be related to emotional instabilities. For example, alcoholism is often associated with a family history of manic-depressive illness. Additionally, like many other drug abusers, alcoholics often drink hoping to ‘drown’ anxious or depressed feelings. Some alcoholics drink to reduce strong inhibitions or guilt.
Social and cultural factors play roles in establishing drinking patterns and the development of alcoholism. In some cultures a conflict can arise between abstaining and accepting the use of alcohol. A difference in opinion may arise concerning alcohol consumption in a social environment. This can make it more difficult for some people to develop stable attitudes and moderate patterns of drinking. Some people think that drinking can help them become more popular, more glamorous, and worthy of respect from others. Alcoholism is a serious problem in today’s society. It is extremely important that the public gain as much knowledge as possible about the causes of alcoholism. It is the only way to reduce static’s involving fatalities, injuries, and diseases caused from the abuse of alcohol. Rehabilitation and support are two ways that the public can tend to the needs of current alcoholics. A bold stand against alcoholism is the only way to establish a society that is free from such a devastating addiction.
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