Consumption of alcohol is entrenched within the customs of the modern day societies. Its origin dates back thousands of years ago. It has through the times been seen as a good way of enhancing relaxation and having fun. In fact physiologists argue that a little alcohol is healthy. As drinking increasingly becomes more popular, more people are getting addicted. The implications of alcohol addiction are very serious to both the victim and the family of the addicted.
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Alcoholism is known to have numerous adverse effects. Alcoholics have wives, husbands, children and other close relatives who are mindful of their welfare. They can disturb family members to an extent of causing detrimental effects that often take long to overcome. According to United States Department of Health and Human Services, approximately seventy six million American grownup family members have been addicted to alcoholism. Each family member is differently affected by this menace. For pregnant mothers, effects are felt even by the unborn child. Alcohol diffuses in all body parts and tissues of an expectant mother including the vascular structure that provides oxygen to the fetus making it easy to permeate through the film that disunites the mother and fetal blood systems. When expectant women take alcohol, the alcohol concentration in the fetus’ bloodstream equates their own. This leads to a condition Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) on the fetus. The syndrome may cause birth defects among children. Globally, approximately 5000 babies are born with these defects every year. The higher the intake of alcohol by expectant women, the more serious the FAS symptoms become. Such babies are shorter and emaciated compared to ordinary kids (Parsons Par. 2-5).
Alcoholism does not only have adverse effects on the unborn children but also to the normal babies. Most of these children develop signs such as solitude, low sense of worth and persistent depression. Some times the children feel as though they contributed to their parents’ alcoholism and hence suffer from elevated levels of anxiety and trauma. Such children experience recurrent nightmares, sobbing and bed wetting. They also lack companies and are afraid of going to school. Older children exhibit depressive signs such as staying by themselves, compulsive thoroughness, hoarding and or being extremely skeptical. As these children feel different from others, they build up a weak self-image where they almost resemble their addicted parents. The nerve-racking environment at home denies them concentration at schools leading to poor performance. They are incapable of establishing a rapport with their teachers and fellow students (Berger 154).
Alcoholism is attributed to many forms of crimes and cruelty, incest and rough treatment are the most common. Over 30% of incest cases and 75% of household fighting comes from alcoholics. Victims of such crimes blame themselves for what transpires and feel guilty. They feel powerless and embarrassed resulting to even more drinking in an attempt to overcome the pain. Most of the children, who go through this ordeal, have problems with intimacy in future. Out of frustration from their parents, they fear that they might also be frustrated by their lovers if they engage in relationships. Unfortunately, most of them end up engaging with drunkard partners. They are thus more likely to indulge in alcoholism than those from non-alcoholic families. This is because they are incapable of dealing with stress appropriately (Silverstein 144).
Some of the physical adverse effects of alcoholism include damaging of the nervous system and destruction of brain cells. Some parts of the brain are very sensitive to alcohol. Alcohol destroys the conduction of nerve impulses in brain and the nervous system. Prolonged alcohol consumption leads to organic damage that attests itself physically and psychologically. Physically, it is portrayed through persons lacking balance, being impotent as well as developing lack of feeling in their feet and hands. On psychological and behavioral aspect, alcoholics loose rational abilities, vitiated ability to learning and a higher tendency of mental confusion. The victims develop a condition called delirium tremens where they suffer from excessive exhilaration, anxiety, trembling, hasty pulse and delusions. They also suffer from liver damage complications known as cirrhosis. This may lead to problems of liver failure, liver cancer and subsequent death. Excessive alcohol consumption might also lead to infection and prolonged stomach inflammation. This inflammation results from improper food digestion as well as absorption. This might subsequently lead to malnutrition among the alcoholics. Most of the alcohol victims suffer also from erectile dysfunction and throat cancer (Kennard Par. 1-8).
People who are addicted to alcohol experience withdrawal problems when they attempt to quit drinking or cut on the level of alcohol intake. The problem begins after 6 to 24 hours from their last drink and persists for a span of about five days. During this period, they suffer from severe headache, profuse sweating as well as lack of good sleep. The withdrawal might be very dangerous and thus requires advice from doctors to avoid extreme complications which may worsen the situation (Wekesser 345).
Berger, G. Alcoholism and the family. New York: Franklin Watts, 1993.
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Kennard, Jerry. “The Physical Effects of Alcoholism.” About.com.2006. Web.
Parsons, Tetyana. “Alcoholism and Its Effect on the Family.” AllPsych Online. 2003. Web.
Silverstein, H. Alcoholism. New York: Franklin Watts, 1990.
Wekesser, C. Alcoholism. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1994.