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Alcoholism Research Paper

Alcoholism Research Paper

One out of thirteen adults are considered to be an alcoholic or suffer from a drinking problem. Today, fourteen million Americans suffer from a disease that is caused by a combination of physiological, psychological, social, and genetic factors. Alcoholism is a developmental disease that progresses slowly over a number of years and is based on both the physical and emotional dependency on alcohol. In many cases it leads to brain damage and/or early death.

Early symptoms include putting excessive importance on the availability of alcohol, which influences a person's choice pastimes and friends. Alcoholics use alcohol more as a personality changing drug rather than a beverage served with food or as a social custom. An alcoholic usually has a high tolerance to alcohol, which means being able to drink more and show fewer side effects than others. The person begins to drink even though it may not be in her/his best interest. Alcohol comes to be more important than personal relationships, family, work, or even health. People are unable to predict how much an alcoholic will drink at a certain occasion or if the alcoholic is practicing abstaining from alcohol, when the drinking will resume again. Physical addiction will lead to drinking around the clock to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Ethyl alcohol, the alcohol used in alcoholic beverages, consists of C2H5OH. It is a clear liquid with a burning taste and a pleasant smell. It has toxic and sedative effects on the body. Alcohol can have major effects on major organ systems. For example, it can cause ulcers, inflammation or the pancreas, and cirrohosis of the liver. It can permanently damage the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. Withdrawal from alcohol, in severe cases, can cause shaking limbs, hallucinations, and blackouts: which can be fatal if not properly treated. Even withdrawal from hard drugs such as heroin rarely results in death.

The liver is the largest internal organ in the body. In a healthy adult, it weighs about 3 pounds and holds about thirteen percent of the body's blood supply. Blood flowing from the stomach and intestines goes into the liver where it extracts nutrients and toxins. The blood is then pumped back to the heart. The liver performs over 500 vital functions. It processes all of...

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Category:   Social Issues

Length:   6 pages (1,370 words)

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