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Delia Kirk

Christie Bogle

ENG 2010


The Effects of Alcoholism

Alcohol abuse is characterized by excessive or problematic alcohol consumption. It

can progress to alcoholism. Alcoholism is a condition characterized by a physical

dependence on alcohol and an inability to stop or limit drinking. Risk factors and

symptoms; several factors can contribute to alcohol abuse and alcoholism, including

genetics, brain chemistry, social pressure, emotional stress, chronic pain, depression or

other mental health problems, and problem drinking behaviors learned from family or


Other factors that increase the chance of developing alcoholism include a family

history of alcohol abuse (especially for men whose fathers or brothers are alcoholics),

alcohol use at an early age (beginning when younger than fourteen years), illicit drug use,

peer pressure to drink, easy access to alcoholic beverages, the presence of psychiatric

disorders, and cigarette smoking.

“Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways and can affect the way

the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior and make it

harder to think clearly and move with coordination.” Heavy drinking takes a toll on the

liver, and can lead to Steatosis, or fatty liver, Alcoholic hepatitis, Fibrosis, Cirrhosis.

“excessive drinking causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually
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lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the

pancreas that prevents proper digestion. Drinking too much can weaken your immune

system, making your body a much easier target for disease.

‘Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and

tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much. Drinking a lot on a single occasion

slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk’

Drinking also makes it difficult for your brain to create long-term memories.

It also reduces your ability to think clearly and make rational choices. Over time, frontal

lobe damage can occur.

This area of the brain is responsible for emotional control, short-term memory, and

judgement, in addition to other vital roles. Alcoholism is a treatable disease and many

treatment programs and approaches are available to support alcoholics who have decided

to get help, but no medical cure is available.

Almost all alcoholics who have been chronic, heavy drinkers will experience some

level of withdrawal symptoms when they suddenly stop drinking. These symptoms can

range from mild shakes and discomfort to life-threatening delirium tremens -- which can

include confusion, hallucinations, convulsions, autonomic instability, and death.

There are medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration that are used

to help people who have stopped drinking to remain sober. Currently, three

medications are approved in the U.S. for the treatment of alcoholism. Antabuse

(disulfiram) works as a deterrent against drinking by making the person sick if they

consume any alcohol.

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Naltrexone (Revia) blocks the effects of alcohol in the brain and reduces alcohol

craving. Acamprosate (Campral) relieves the distress and discomfort alcoholics experience

when they stop drinking. Pharmaceutical treatments work best when the alcoholic has a

sincere desire to quit. COMMON MENTAL


“23 Effects of Alcohol on Your Body.” Healthline, Healthline Media,