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MICDS

SPECIAL POINTS OF INTEREST: Alcohol is an addictive substance. Most Alcohol-

Alcoholism V O L U M E

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N E W S L E T T E R

D A T E

What is Alcoholism?

ics cannot admit their addiction. Anyone can fall victim to alcoholism. Alcohol not only damages your body physically, it also causes damage to your mental state.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Alcohol’s Effects

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Alcohol’s Allure

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Teens and Alcohol

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Symptoms of 3 Alcoholism Ramifications 4 of Alcohol Alcohol’s Image

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Inside Story

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Dictionary.com defines Alcoholism as “a chronic disorder characterized by dependence on alcohol”. A great deal of people, both adults and teenagers, fall victim to alcoholism every year. Alcoholism is a disease that not only affects the drinker but also the people close to them. 1 out of every 3 Americans say that alcohol abuse has damaged their family in some way (7). Of all the inmates convicted of violent crimes, an estimated 54 percent of them had consumed alcohol before committing the offense (7). 80% of college presidents agree that alcohol is the cause of the majority of problems on campus (7). Alcohol is in itself a dangerous thing to consume. However, when it is consistently consumed in large amounts the

An image of Bud Light Beer. The most popular alcoholic beverage in America (6) negative consequences grow exponentially. In 2007, there were 15,387 alcohol related fatalities on the road in the U.S. According to the U.S. National

Library of Medicine almost 17.6 million adults in the United States suffer from some form of alcohol induced problems. This statistic does not even apply to the many teenagers who suffer from this affliction. Many modern day teenagers have easy access to alcohol and often turn to it as a way to relieve stress. The danger this poses is the more someone drinks alcohol the more resistance a person’s body would have to the effects. Thus, over time, an alcoholic would need to drink more and more alcohol to get the effect they are looking for. All these different statistics come together to give one clear message, that alcoholism that affects everyone around the drinker and that can prey on anyone regardless of gender or ethnicity.

Treatment Options There are only a select few medical treatments of alcoholism, thus the primary treatment is therapy. Although there is no “cure” for alcoholism, there are a few medical drugs which can help cope with the effects. The drugs that have been approved to deal with alcoholism are Naltrexone, acamprosate, and Antabuse.(4)

Though, these drugs do not eradicate alcoholism from one’s system, they do help manage some of the primary symptoms. There are many other drugs out there that claim to have the same effect but, these three drugs are the primary drugs that have been FDA approved.(4) The main treatment for alcoholism is ther-

apy.(2) Though, this may sound like a relatively simple option, the majority of alcoholics turn to alcohol due to some unrelated problem. Therapy has been known to deal with this problem thus, destroying the psychological need for alcohol, making it easier to get rid of the affliction. (2)


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An image depicting a Cirrhosis inflicted liver.

“Many people drink when they are in a depressed state as a way to temporarily escape their problems.”

Effects of Alcohol Alcohol causes a great deal of damage, both to one’s body and one’s mind. The consumption of alcohol over time, has been known, to cause severe damage to the liver and also cause cirrhosis , a disease which can lead to liver cancer and liver failure. The damage of alcohol abuse does not stop there. (5) The overconsumption of alcohol can, over time, damage one’s heart and create a slew of cardiovascular problems which can, in turn, damage the body’s other

system. Alcohol abuse can also lead to gastritis, a disease which assaults the digestive system. Alcoholism also increases one’s vulnerability to malnutrition, which can open the doors to a plethora of other problems within one’s body. One of the more primary and severe negative effects of alcohol abuse is that alcoholism literally attacks your brain.(3) Alcohol overconsumption can disrupt the nerve signals in your brain. It attacks the nerve impulses

within your brain to other parts of the brain, as well as, to the rest of your body. (4) This can cause numerous severe complications both physically and psychologically. This damage manifests itself through loss of balance, numbness, impaired ability to learn, and even loss of certain intellectual abilities. Alcoholism is a disease that attacks nearly every aspect of your bodies function, from your cardiovascular system, to your digestive system, and even to your mind.

Allure of Alcohol There are many things about alcohol that encourage people to drink it. A reason why people choose to turn to alcohol is how present it is in everyday media. Ads for alcoholic beverages are in every major magazine and ads can be seen during practically every commercial break. is this constant barrage of advertising that can draw people in to turning to

alcohol. The primary reason why people turn to alcohol is due to the fact that alcohol is a mind numbing substance. Many people drink when they are in a depressed state as a way to temporarily escape their problems. However, these people do not see that alcohol does not solve their problems it simply shuts their eyes to finding solutions. It is this escape

that generally introduces alcohol to the system, and due to it’s addicting nature, the practice of drinking is hard to stop. Alcohol is a substance that many people are drawn to due to it’s presence in media as well as it’s ability to give someone the illusion that they are solving their problems, when in reality they are only being numbed to caring.

Alcoholism and Teens A common advertisement used to promote Bud Light Beer.

The group that perhaps is most susceptible to alcoholism is teens. Approximately 50% of American junior high/high school students drink on a monthly basis. Teenagers are most susceptible to alcoholism for a variety of reasons. One of these reasons is the media. There are ad campaigns for alcoholic beverages in many venues that names teenagers

ALCOHOLISM

as their main demographic. There have been ad campaigns for various vodkas, beers, and liquors in magazines whose primary readers are between the ages of 12 and 20.(8) Many teens also turn to alcohol as a way of social expression. When teenagers go to parties and they see their friends drinking, they themselves feel

inclined to drink, not so much for drinking itself, but for the social experience. Many other teenagers turn to alcohol for exactly the opposite reason. Many teenagers use alcohol as a way to shut out the outside world and all the stress it brings.(3) Teenagers are a group that is especially vulnerable to becoming addicted to abusing alcohol.


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Major Symptoms of Alcoholism after their drinking has had recurring negative effects. picting a Many people cannot man turn- understand how to ing to alco- differentiate behol. tween common social drinking and alcoholism. Helpguide.org states that a defining symptom of alcoholism is when alcohol is the purpose of social gatherings rather than just a social practice. The average person might go to a social gathering and happen to drink. Alcoholics have been known to go to social

A cartoon image de-

There are many symptoms demonstrated by alcoholics or by people who are on the way to becoming alcoholics. According to “alcoholism.about.com”, the primary symptom demonstrated by an alcoholic is continuing to drink even

gatherings for no other purpose but to drink. The most crucial symptom of alcoholism is the one that causes perhaps the most amount of damage, denial. The vast majority of those suffering from alcoholism can’t admit that they have a problem and thus do not seek help. This is considerably dangerous as it allows the other symptoms to continue to spiral out of control. There are a great deal of symptoms associated with alcoholism. The key to helping an alcoholic is to recognize these symptoms and get them to seek help.

“60% of all homicides can

Alcohol’s Ramifications Alcoholism is a disease that not only affects the alcoholic, but also has a profound effect on the world surrounding the alcoholic. The bad choices brought on by alcoholism take casualties from the people near the one who is afflicted. Each year, nearly 2,000 people under the age of 21 die in car crashes which resulted from underage drinking.(1) According to medicinenet.com,

approximately half of all violent crimes involving teenagers involved alcohol consumption before or doing the crime was committed. It is clear that when someone abuses alcohol they have an extremely heightened chance of not only hurting themselves but hurting anyone who may be in their general vicinity. When an alcoholic begins to drink they put the people around

be linked to alcohol consumption.” them in danger of being hurt. Whenever alcohol is involved it immediately increases one’s chances to be involved in some kind of violent accident and/or crime. A total of 60% of all homicides can be linked to alcohol consumption. Alcoholism is a disease that puts not only the safety of the alcoholic at risk, but also all the people around them.(1)

Alcohol’s Image Distributors of alcoholic beverages put in a lot of time and money in order to create the illusion that alcohol consumption is cool and fun. They do this using a variety of methods, from commercials in hit shows to ad campaigns featuring celebrities. An example of this would be the super bowl commercial for Bud Light in which they tried to sell alcohol with comedy.

Another example of this type of advertising occurred when George Clooney appeared in a commercial for Martinis, which only aired in Europe, in which alcohol consumption was sold as sophisticated. In many motion pictures the hero can be seen drinking a glass of whiskey before going into battle, thus promoting alcohol as noble and strong. Companies that profit off of the

consumption of alcohol struggle hard to give alcohol an image of anything that it is not, from nobility to sophistication. Especielly recently, since people have been more educated on the negative aspects of alcohol, these companies try to get people to overlook the negative effects that alcohol has on your body, on your mind, and on the people around you.

A snapshot of the commercial for martinis done by George


Bibliography 1. Alcoholalert.com. KeRo, LLC World Headquarters, 2009. Web. 15 Nov. 2009. <http:// www.alcoholalert.com/drunk-driving-statistics.html>. 2. Alcohol: Use and Abuse in America. Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1985. Print.

3. Alcoholism.about.com. About.com, 2009. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <http://alcoholism.about.com/od/ meds/Medical_Treatments.htm>. 4. Medicinenet.com. MedicineNet, 2009. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. <ttp://www.medicinenet.com/ alcohol_and_teens/article.htm>. 5. Menshealth.about.com. About.com, 2009. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. <http://menshealth.about.com/od/ diseases/a/alcohol.htm>. 6. Most-popular.net. Unknown, 20 Dec. 2006. Web. 19 Nov. 2009. <http://most-popular.net/beeramerica>. 7. Nebraskaprevlink.gov. Information Clearinghouse Get the Facts! Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment Referrals Prevention Calendar and Planners Nebraska Information The Right Stuff Home The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Addiction Services, 2004. Web. 15 Nov. 2009. <http:// www.nebraskaprevlink.ne.gov/getthefacts/facts/alcohol.html>.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) 5635 Fishers Lane, MSC 9304 Bethesda, MD 20892-9304 Communications/Public Info: 301-443-3860 Alcoholics Anonymous: St. Louis Central Service Office 2683 S Big Bend, Maplewood, MO 63143 Call: (314) 647-3677 Niaaa.nih.gov. NIAA, 2009. Web. 10 Nov. 2009. <http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/>. Located in McCullogh Library: Alcohol: Use and Abuse in America. Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1985. Print.

Alcoholism Health Project  

This is my, Robert Schultz's, health project on alcoholism.

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