Essay on Alcoholism: Symptoms, Causes, and Effects

968 Words Sep 24th, 1999 4 Pages
Alcoholism: Symptoms, Causes, and Effects

Composition I April 1, 1997

Alcoholism is a disease that affects many people in the United States today. It not only affects the alcoholic, but also their family, friends, co- workers, and eventually total strangers. The symptoms are many, as are the causes and the effects. Alcoholism is defined as a pattern of drinking in which harmful consequences result for the drinker, yet, they continue to drink. There are two types of drinkers. The first type, the casual or social drinker, drinks because they want to. They drink with a friend or with a group for pleasure and only on occasion. The other type, the compulsive drinker, drinks because they have to, despite the adverse effects that
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When this condition develops and the alcoholic slows their drinking, withdrawal syndrome can and often does occur. This may include agitation, tremors, seizures, and hallucinations. Alcoholism also casues damage to the brain. Alcoholics may suffer from lack of concentration. The alcoholic may also experience "blackouts," occasional onsets of memory lapses, and possibly complete memory loss. They may also suffer from more serious forms of brain damage. The social effects of alcoholism can be as devastating as the physical effects. Children of alcoholics may be affected by the parents alcoholism in several different ways. Having a problem- drinker parent often increases the risk of becoming a problem drinker oneself. This may happen for reasons such as identification with or imitation of the alcoholic parent. It may also happen because of the social and family conditons that are thought to be associated with the development of alcoholism. These include family conflict, job insecurity, divorce, and social stigma. Alcoholism is an outrageous public health problem. "The Institute of
Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that alcoholism and alcohol abuse in the United States cost society from $40 to $60 billion annually, due to the lost production, health and medical care, motor vehicle accidents,violent crime, and social programs that respond to alcohol problems.
One half of all traffic fatalities and one-third of all traffic

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