Alcoholism Essay

1594 Words 7 Pages

Alcoholism refers to the drinking of alcoholic beverages to such a degree that major aspects of an individual's life--such as work, school, family relationships, or personal safety and health--are seriously and repeatedly interfered with. Alcoholism is considered a disease, meaning that it follows a characteristic course with known physical, psychological, and social symptoms. The alcoholic continues to consume alcohol despite the destructive consequences. Alcoholism is serious, progressive, and irreversible. If not treated, it can be fatal. It is generally thought that once the disease has developed, the alcoholic will not drink normally again.

An alcoholic who abstains from drinking, however, can regain control over
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In the middle and late phases, dependence on drinking increases and memory blackouts become more frequent.

A physical dependence on alcohol first appears with early morning tremors and agitation that require a drink for relief. In the late stage, drinking bouts are usually very frequent. There is an acute withdrawal syndrome (delirium tremens, or DTs) when drinking ceases. This includes agitation, tremor, hallucination, and possibly seizures. Most likely, a combination of biological, psychological, and cultural factors contribute to the development of alcoholism in any individual. Alcoholism often seems to run in families.

Although there is no conclusive indication of how the alcoholism of family members is associated, studies show that 50 to 80 percent of all alcoholics have had a close alcoholic relative. Some researchers therefore suggest that some alcoholics have an inherited physical predisposition to alcohol addiction. Studies of animals and of human twins lend support to the theory. A 1990 report also indicated that susceptibility to at least one form of alcoholism may be linked in part to the presence of a particular gene on chromosome 11.

The gene is apparently involved with the production of receptor sites, on BRAIN cells, of the NEUROTRANSMITTER dopamine. Alcoholism can also be related to underlying emotional problems. For example, alcoholism is sometimes associated with a family history of manic-depressive

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