Nowadays, it is very amusing that not only the adults are into drinking but surprisingly, teenagers or youngsters are already exposed to it and unfortunately become alcoholic in a very young age.
There are about 74% of youngsters who try alcohol drinking more often (see Facts about underage drinking and statistics on teen drinking). Drinking alcohol beverages with moderation is advisable but excessive drinking is not. When you say alcoholism, it is a compulsive habitual excessive use of alcohol drinks.
It is not the same as drunkenness, which may be habitual but is not compulsive (Leigh 2002). Alcoholism becomes a chronic condition; it should not be confused with acute alcoholic poisoning, which is the sudden poisoning of the body by alcohol.
Underage drinking is one of the major dilemmas which our society is presently facing. Drinking in an early age can possibly make the youngsters become alcoholic in the future and become addicted to drinking.
On the other hand, many crimes and accidents happen because of excessive alcohol drinking. However, not all crimes are the result of alcohol intake but most likely, crimes happened because of excessive drinking of alcohol. True or false? In large amounts, alcohol is a depressant; in small amounts, it is a stimulant.
False. Small doses of “spirits” may indeed, enliven a drinker, but they do so by slowing activity in brain centers that control judgment and inhibitions. Alcohol facilitates urges that the individual might otherwise resist by focusing attention on the immediate situation and away from future consequences (Steele & Josephs 2000).
If provoked, people under alcohol’s influence respond more aggressively than usual. If asked to help, people under alcohol’s influence respond more helpfully than usual. In everyday life, alcohol disinhibits both harmful tendencies, as when sexually coercive college men try to disinhibit their dates by getting them to drink (Mosher & Anderson 1999), and helpful tendencies, as when restaurant patrons tip more when tipsy (Lynn1999).
Thus, alcohol makes us more aggressive or helpful—or self-disclosing or sexually daring—when such tendencies are present. Whatever urges you feel when sober, you are more likely to act upon if intoxicated.
Low doses of alcohol relax the drinker by slowing sympathetic nervous system activity. With larger doses, alcohol can become a staggering problem: Reactions slow, speech slurs, and skilled performance deteriorates. These physical effects, combined with the lowering of inhibitions, contribute to alcohol’s worst consequences—in America, the more than 100, 000 lives claimed annually in alcohol-related car accidents and violent crime (Lord 2001).
Thesis Statement: This paper scrutinizes about alcohol drinking and who are involved to it; thus, be aware of the effects of alcohol to our health and into our society.
Drinking alcoholic beverages moderately can stimulate our system however too much and excessive intake might incur deterioration of our memory. Alcohol has an intriguing effect on memory. It impairs neither short-term recall for what just happened nor existing long-term memories. Rather, it disrupts the processing of recent experiences into long-term memories.
Thus, the day after being intoxicated, heavy drinkers may not recall whom they met or what they said or did the night before. This memory blackout stems partly from an inability to transfer memories from the intoxicated to the sober state (Eich, 2000). Blackouts after drinking may also result from alcohol’s suppression of REM sleep.
Alcohol has another intriguing effect on consciousness: It reduces self-awareness. Compared with people who feel good about themselves, those who want to suppress their awareness of failures or shortcomings are more likely to drink. The Nazi doctors who selected “unfit” inmates for the gas chambers often did so while drunk, or got drunk afterwards (Lifton 1999).
As with other psychoactive drugs, alcohol’s behavioral effects stem not only from its alteration of brain chemistry but also from the user’s expectations. Many studies have found than when people believe that alcohol affects social behavior in certain ways, and believe, rightly or wrongly, that they have been drinking alcohol; they will behave accordingly (Leigh 2002).
For example, alcohol per se has some effect on sexual arousal, by decreasing cognitive inhibitions (Crow & George 1999). But people become even more responsive to sexual stimuli if they believe alcohol promotes arousal and believe they have been drinking. From their view of research, Jay Hull and Charles Bond concluded (2001) that for some people alcohol serves “as an excuse to become sexually aroused.”
Consider one such experiment by David Abrams and Terence Wilson. They gave Rutgers University men who volunteered for a study on “alcohol and sexual stimuli” either an alcoholic or a nonalcoholic drink. (Both drinks had a strong taste that masked any alcohol.) In each group, half the subjects thought they were drinking alcohol and half thought they were not.
Regardless of what they drank, after being shown an erotic movie clip, the men who thought they had consumed alcohol were morel likely to report having strong sexual fantasies and feeling guilt-free. Thus, being able to attribute their sexual responses to alcohol released their inhibitions—whether they actually had drunk alcohol or not. This illustrates an important principle: A drug’s psychological effects are powerfully influenced by the user’s psychological state.
A. Serves as depressant
The most widely used drug in the depressant class is alcohol. You may be surprised to see alcohol listed as a depressant because you probably have heard someone say that “a few beers loosen me up and make me have a good time.”
Depressants are drugs that have a general sedative effect on the central nervous system, and alcohol clearly has the effect. Initially, alcohol reduces a person’s inhibitions through action on the brain stem. Continued drinking, however, affects higher brain centers in the cortex and leads to reduced alertness. Impaired motor functioning, and slowed reaction times. Higher doses can produce unconsciousness and even death.
Alcohol abuse is a major problem for society, costing billions of dollars annually in medical care, insurance costs, job loss, tax loss, and welfare costs, as well as the loss of priceless human life and other human miseries it produces. For example, one half of fatal automobile accidents involve a driver who is intoxicated (World Health Organization 2001).
People drink alcohol for a variety of reasons, but principal goals are to achieve another state of consciousness, to relax, to forget one’s worries, to enjoy the high that alcohol initially provides. As tolerance develops, the individual must drink more to achieve the same effect. Thus, it is easy to progress from use to abuse. Dependency on the drug is known as alcoholism, a condition that affects an estimated 12 to 15 million Americans.
For many years, alcoholism has been viewed in the context of a disease model, emphasizing the effects of the drug on physiological processes. Recently, the pendulum has swung toward psychological theories that emphasize processes such as learning, motivation, and self-awareness to explain how drinking problems are initiated and how they are maintained.
Current research also recognizes that there is more than one kind of alcoholic, and studies are under way to differentiate these groups by cause (Conrad 2001). Obviously, such a differentiation would have an important impact on the development of more effective treatment.
B. My Analysis
Based on my understanding, experienced, and my personal research, alcoholism is a serious public health problem. It afflicts millions of people, including adults and teenagers from all types of social groups. Why people become alcoholics is not clearly understood; alcoholism can stem from emotional immaturity, insecurity, nervous tension, loneliness, or depression. Physiological causes of alcoholism, if any, have not been determined. Physicians generally consider alcoholism an addiction.
Personally, I occasionally take alcoholic beverages and it usually happens when I attend to parties or any special occasions but I drink moderately because I don’t want alcohol rule my life but I want to be the ruler of myself. The way I see it, too much drinking can affect many organs and systems of the body.
It irritates the lining of the stomach and pancreas, causing inflammation, tenderness, and ulcerlike lesions. I have read to some articles too that heavy consumption of alcohol inhibits the absorption of proteins, nutrients, and vitamins from the small intestine and this can cause chronic malnutrition. I do not want these things happen to me.
In conclusion, our government should pay attention to this increasing and alarming dilemma which the teenagers are facing. One result of continued, excessive drinking is the development of tolerance. The cells of the nervous system become more tolerant of alcohol, and larger quantities must be consumed to produce intoxication.
When consumption is discontinued, a severe physical reaction, called alcohol withdrawal syndrome, may occur. Twelve to 48 hours after the last drink, the person may experience nausea, vomiting, profuse sweating, tremors, insomnia, and hallucinations. Forty-eight to 96 hours later, the person may experience delirium tremens, a disorder of the nervous system.
Conrad, Barnaby. Time is All We have: Four Weeks at the Betty Ford Center (Arbos House, 2001).
Eich, J.E. (The cue-dependent nature of state-dependent retrieval. Memory and Cognition, 8, 157-173, 2000
Leigh, B.C. In search of the seven dwarves: Issues of measurement and meaning of alcohol expectancy research. Psychological Bulletin, 105, 361-373, 2002.
Lifton, R.J. The Nazi doctors. New York: Basic Books. (p.168), 1999
Lord, L.J. Coming to grips with alcoholism. U.S. News and World report, pp. 56-63, 2001
Lynn, M. The effects of alcohol consumption on restaurant tipping. Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 404-408, 1999
Mosher, D.L., & Anderson, R.D. Macho personality, sexual aggression, and reactions to guided imagery of realistic rape. Journal of research in Personality, 20, 77-94, 1999
Steele, C.M., & Josephs, R.A. Alcohol myopia: Its prized and dangerous effects. American Psychologist, 45, 921-933, 2000
World Health Organization. The influence of alcohol and drugs on driving. Albany, NY: WHO Publication Centre, 2001