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Understanding the Relationship between Alcohol Abuse and Violence Alcohol has been known to alter the thinking process of anyone who abuses it for a prolonged period of time. In fact, it affects the executive functioning (EF) of an individual, which implies that consuming an excessive amount of alcohol can have a negative impact on an individual’s attention span, reasoning ability, thought processes, ability to plan strategically and ability to process information, etc. While growing up in a Phoenix suburb, Pamela (name changed), now 24, had a disturbed childhood. Her father’s growing addiction to alcohol had taken a violent form, making life miserable for her family. "I used to hide with my little sister Margie behind the curtains when he used to physically assault my mother," said Pamela recollecting the horrors of her childhood. She would often try to hide the bruises caused by her father’s aggressive behavior. Over a period of time, she began to dread the presence of her father at home and was mostly plagued by loads of negative emotions. Pamela is not alone, there are millions of Americans who are regular victims of alcohol-related violence. According to the 2015 report by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), alcohol and drugs are collectively responsible for nearly 80 percent of crimes such as domestic violence, property offenses, drug offenses, driving while intoxicated, and public-order offenses, leading to frequent incarcerations in the country. Many health care experts attribute drinking-related violence to the impact of alcohol on the brain. Studies have shown that alcohol has a myopic effect as it narrows people’s attention to what is important for the moment. Such an effect may be dangerous to someone who already has the tendency to ignore the future consequences of their actions.

Why does alcohol lead to violent behavior? Alcohol is intrinsically linked to aggression. "Alcohol is involved in half of all murders, rapes, and assaults," says Robert O. Pihl, professor of psychology and psychiatry at McGill University

in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. "But the dynamics of this association are complicated, which is why any research that focuses on explaining this relationship is important for society in general," he added. The human brain relies on a fragile balance of chemicals and processes. Alcohol being a depressant can disrupt this balance, affecting one’s thoughts, feelings and actions, and sometimes, even the long-term mental health of the one who consumes it in excess. The relaxed feeling following the first drink is the outcome of the chemical changes brought about by alcohol in the brain. Such changes tend to suppress the part of the brain linked to inhibition, making people feel more confident and less anxious. But, in due course of time, enormous quantities of alcohol, start affecting the brain in a negative way, triggering a negative emotional response. Precisely, higher levels of alcohol in the body gradually replace the pleasurable effects with negative emotions such as anger, anxiety or depression, culminating into aggression. Unfortunately, alcohol intoxication propagates an individual’s natural tendency to express his or her anger. This is because higher levels of alcohol in the body disrupt the balance of chemicals in the brain creating changes in the mood and behavior.

Way to an alcohol-free life Long-term consumption of alcohol can cause severe damage to the brain which can disrupt the brain’s cognitive functions, resulting in violent behavior. The damage can arise from chronic alcohol dependence and frequent binge drinking. If you or your loved one is addicted to alcohol, seek alcohol addiction treatment in Arizona. The Arizona Alcohol Addiction Helpline can help you take the vital step of leaving behind your addiction and seek recovery from reliable alcohol addiction treatment centers in Arizona. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-671-1510 to speak with a member of our team to tread the path to recovery.

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Understanding the relationship between alcohol abuse and violence  

Alcohol has been known to alter the thinking process of anyone who abuses it for a prolonged period of time. In fact, it affects the executi...

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