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What is Alcoholism?
The definition of alcoholism can be described as a chronic illness, which is marked by uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages that interferes with physical or mental health, and social, family or occupational responsibilities. This dependence on alcohol has only been diagnosed as a medical disorder recently in the medical field. Like many other diseases, it has a predictable course and is influenced environmentally and sometimes genetically. The disease can also be called progressive and fatal which means that the disease can persist over a long period of time, bodily changes progress as the drinking continues and can cause premature death through overdose, suicide, motor vehicle crashes and complications of the brain, liver, heart, and other organs. Alcoholism can be detected by four basic symptoms, they are tolerance which is the increasing need to drink excessive amounts to feel its affects, also impaired control which is the problem of not being able to stop oneself from drinking at any given time. Craving is another symptom characterized by a strong compulsion to drink, and the last one is physical dependence which shows withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, sweating, nausea or shakiness. Some other common minor symptoms would be solitary drinking, making excuses to drink, episodes of violence while under the influence, unexplained mood swings, neglect of physical appearance, and hostility when confronted about drinking. Also, one can have what is called preoccupation of alcohol which means excessive focused attention given to the drug, its effects and its use.
Causes of Alcoholism
There is no definite cause of alcoholism, however, many factors can play a role in the development of the disorder. In a family with an alcoholic parent, a child is more likely to become an alcoholic than a child without an alcoholic parent. Alcoholism can be inherited genetically from parent to child. An alcoholic disorder can occur if one or both parents drank alcohol at the time of conception or the mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. A women drinking during pregnancy can also cause several other complications besides a drinking disorder. In a study done it concluded that if one person in a family was an alcoholic that nine out of ten times alcoholism will be reported in two or more family members. Environmental causes can occur such as the influence of friends, the easy availability of alcohol, the social acceptance of alcohol and a life containing high stress levels. Also alcoholism can occur when his or her parents did not teach or treat their child right causing frustration and anxiety to the child later in life. Or the family teaches the child to drink such as if the father drinks then the child follows the example set by his father. That child can learn from observation that alcohol may be used to cope with problems such as fatigue, stress and depression. Also the values of a family can include the encouragement or acceptance of alcohol which both promote drinking. Psychological factors also include in this such as a need to be relieved of anxiety, conflicts within a relationship which are unsolved, or a low self-esteem.
Phases of Alcoholism
There are four phases of alcoholism which take a period of five to seven years to develop. Some of these stages can be skipped or not gone in the same order depending on the person. The first stage is called the warning stage. It happens when the user consumes alcohol as a form of relief for tension to make them feel better. The person's drinking habits can increase from often to daily or regularly in which he or she will seek more reasons and occasions to drink. Lastly during this stage a tolerance is built from the larger consumption of alcohol. The second stage is dangerous to the person. The drinker has larger quantities of alcohol to obtain relief. More frequent and deeper intoxication are part of this phase. Drinking alone, blackouts and gulping alcohol are symptoms to stage two. The third stage of alcoholism is the most crucial phase of all. The drinker loses all control of the amount of alcohol that was intended to be consumed. Withdrawal from social environment, neglect of responsibility, and the hiding of alcohol occur during phase three. ... more
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alcohol vs. marijuana
Alcohol Vs. Marijuana
Alcohol and marijuana are two drugs commonly used and abused in the United States. Alcohol is the number one abused drug, while marijuana is number one among illegal drugs. While alcohol remains legal, and marijuana illegal, this does not necessarily mean that the alcohol is better for you. There have been many arguments where people suggest that marijuana should be legal because alcohol is more deadly. On the other hand, there are alcoholics who would tell a pothead that smoking weed is bad for you. Both substances are very bad for your health and should not be heavily used by anyone.
Marijuana has an immediate effect during and for about 2 hours after smoking. With alcohol, users feel slight effects after just one drink, and recover depending on the amount the person drank, how much they weigh, and how much they had to eat before ingesting the alcohol. Immediate effects of use are slurred speech, decreased inhibitions, poor judgment, and lack of motor coordination. Marijuana causes red eyes, dry mouth, increased appetite, slowed reaction, paranoia, hallucinations, decreased social inhibitions, and memory loss. Drinking heavy amounts of alcohol can lead to a coma or even death. A person would have to smoke 40,000 times the amount to get high to overdose, so it is practically impossible. Alcohol is responsible for over 100,000 deaths per year. Marijuana kills less than 10,000 per year.
Among the deaths caused by alcohol, drinking and driving is number one. Not only is it number one among alcohol related deaths, it is also one of the main causes of death and injury in the United States. Alcohol impairs judgment and vision, and causes speeding and reckless driving. On the other hand, there has been debate over the effect of marijuana on driving. One study by a computer software company reported that people who smoked a small amount of marijuana drove faster and with fewer collisions in a driving computer game. Another study said that marijuana causes abnormally slow driving, proneness to distraction, and increases the time it takes to react, therefore greatly impairs your ability to drive.
Long-term effects of alcohol are liver cirrhosis, stomach ailments, impotence, vitamin deficiency, increased stroke risk, decreased mental performance, heart disease, peptic ulcers, hepatitis, and various forms of cancer. Alcohols effects on the brain are loss of coordination, poor judgment, slowed reflexes, distorted vision, memory lapses, and even blackouts. Long-term effects of marijuana are mouth, throat, and lung cancer, increased heart rate, decrease in testosterone levels for men, increased testosterone levels for women, diminished sexual pleasure, increased blood pressure, increased stress, decreased motivation, and respiratory problems. The THC in marijuana damages the nerve cells in the part of the brain where memories are formed, making it hard to remember things.
Both substances can lead to dependence, especially alcohol. If one abuses alcohol for to long and becomes dependent, they are considered to be an alcoholic. There has been debate on whether marijuana is addictive. Some experts believe that since there are no obvious withdrawal symptoms, it is not considered to be an addictive drug. Others claim that it is addictive because it takes the place of natural "feel good" chemicals in the brain, so people become physically addicted. Alcoholism on the other hand, is considered a disease. Ten percent of people who drink will become alcoholics. There seems to be a genetic factor associated with alcoholism. Biological children of alcoholics have a greater chance of becoming alcoholics themselves than a child who is adopted into a family with a history of alcoholism. If an alcoholic abruptly stops drinking, he will go through withdrawal symptoms known as alcohol withdrawal syndrome. The symptoms are nausea, tremors, sweating, anxiety, depression, weakness, hallucinations, and even death.
Despite the talk about alcohol abuse and alcoholism, alcohol can actually be good for you. If one drinks in moderation (2-6 drinks per week in two or more sittings) it can lessen the chance of heart disease by thinning your blood. There are no known health benefits associated with moderate marijuana use. Both drugs have serious health effects when used heavily, but it seems that alcohol more detrimental to your health.
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