Alcohol: Most Used and Abused Drug

Alcohol is the most used and abused drug in the world, for this reason
there is no wonder why we have alcohol problems. The most common problem is
alcoholism. Alcoholism is a chronic usually progressive disease that includes
both a psychological and a physical addiction to alcohol. Alcoholics know what
will happen to them when they drink but they are so addicted they can\'t stop
drinking. Alcohol becomes the most important part of the person\'s life. It
totally consumes them, all their thoughts and actions have to do are somehow
associated with alcohol. Alcoholism like other illnesses will become worse
without treatment and remain life-threatening as long as it is left untreated.
The psychological dependence an alcoholic has is when they think alcohol is
necessary and life will not be good without it. The physical dependence an
alcoholic has is when their body becomes so used to the drug that it now needs
alcohol to function without pain. Alcoholism is not a disease experienced only
by adults. Alcoholism, like any illness, can strike at any age. Ten percent of
the adult drinkers in the U.S are considered alcoholics or at least experience
drinking problems to some degree. Surveys have shown that more than one out of
three Americans have a personal friend or relative who has had a drinking
problem for ten years or longer. Almost two out of three Americans report that
they know someone who drinks too much. It is estimated that there are 18
million alcoholic or problem drinkers in the U.S. For every alcoholic there are
at least four other people who are affected by the alcoholic. This means that
in the U.S. there are at least seventy-two million other people dealing with the
disease somehow. Many people believe that alcoholics are people that are the
skid row winos and bums. This is a common misconception, actually ninety-four
percent of alcoholics live at home, while only six percent are the skid row type.

Ninety percent of all alcoholics are employed, and many work for years before
their alcoholism becomes so bad that they cannot perform their job. Federal
officials estimate that the abuse of alcohol costs the economy well over one-
hundred billion dollars every year. Alcohol does this by making people be less
productive at work, taking more sick days, sustaining on the job injuries,
collecting more workmen\'s compensation, and increasing health insurance premiums.


Physical Effects

Prolonged alcohol use like that of an alcoholic can lead to permanent damage of
your body. The liver is the organ of the body most vulnerable to damage by
alcohol because the liver is where the alcohol is broken down. The liver may
become worn out from the daily task of removing alcohol from the blood, this
may cause the liver to be unable to perform as well in removing other harmful
substances. One of the most dangerous diseases of the liver caused by long-term
alcohol use is cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis causes the liver to become
inflamed and scarred, which eventually kills the liver and the person. Over
fourteen thousand deaths a year from cirrhosis are directly related to alcohol.
Alcohol causes an increase in blood pressure, this makes the heart pump harder
to move blood around the body. Alcohol can cause an increase in heart rate
while at the same time reducing the ability of the heart muscle to pump, it can
also cause abnormal heart rhythms. Long-term and heavy use of alcohol can cause
a condition of the heart called alcoholic cardiomyopathy, this impairs the heart
muscles ability to contract and eventually fail. Alcohol\'s action on the brain
is what causes people to feel intoxicated. A sudden intake of large amounts of
alcohol may result in death, this is because nerve impulses to the brain are
dangerously blocked. There are over two hundred deaths a year from this kind of
accidental alcohol poisoning. Alcohol also has an increasing effect on our
brain chemistry this is what causes are change behavior. This can make people
do things that they would not do when they are sober, this a is common sign of
an alcoholic. Test have shown that long-term drinking like that of an alcoholic
can lead to a measurable loss of thinking ability. Over time heavy drinking can
also cause permanent damage to the central nervous system. Research has shown
that there seems to be an association between alcohol and cancer, with heavy
drinkers having the highest risk. Drinkers seem to get cancer more frequently
than non-drinkers. Scientists believe that alcohol weakens body tissue and
makes them more susceptible to cancer causing