Alcoholism Research Paper

Alcohol is a huge problem in the world today. It was mans first drug (Monroe, 1994, p.5). So now “alcoholism is the number one drug problem in the United States” (Monroe, 1994, p.17). So in my research paper I will tell you the problems, solutions, and the basics of alcohol. Researchers believe that alcohol related problems have gone far enough.

You might want to know how alcohol is made and some basic facts and statistics about it. “All alcohol is made the same way- from fermentation or the process of yeasts changing sugars into ethyl alcohol” (Monroe, 1994, p.21). Since there are many different kinds of alcohol there is different kinds of yeasts used to make them (Monroe, 1994, p.21). The yeasts that are used to make alcohol are called sugar fungi (Monroe, 1994, p.21). The making of alcohol is such a big business that in 1990 the United States produced over eight billion gallons of it (Monroe, 1994, p.21). There is so much alcohol made that it produces some big numbers in statistics. Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States with one hundred thousand deaths a year(http://www.alcoholism.com). There are over thirteen million eight hundred thousand people with drinking problems in the United States (http://www.alcoholism.com). Plus the studies show that twenty percent of suicide victims are alcoholics (http://www.alcoholism.com).

Also these are some facts that some do not know about alcohol. Some people do not realize alcohol is a drug. When people get drunk they often have trouble doing simple tasks such as walking. It is a fact that two out of every five people will be in an alcohol related accident sometime in their lives. The number one killer of teens and young adults is drunk driving. It is true that over forty percent of drowning accidents are alcohol related. Those are just a few things people do not know about alcohol.

Alcohol has a very long history. Alcohol has been around ever since bacteria have consumed plant cells around one and a half billion years ago. But since the earliest people didn’t keep written records no one knows exactly when alcoholic beverages where first discovered (Monroe, 1994, p.5). Ancient civilizations thought beer was better than food, with the vitamins they added to make it (Monroe, 1994, p.6). Man discovered how to distill alcohol in 800 A. D. (Grosshandler, 1990, p.10). By learning to distill alcohol they created whiskey, gin, rum, and others (Grosshandler, 1990, p.10). Many religions have been affected by alcohol. It is said in the bible Noah planted a vineyard after the flood, the Greeks believed the god Dionysus brought them wine, and alcohol was used in many of the Mexican Indians ceremonies. Then in the 1800’s Europeans started to make alcohol commercially. Alcohol grew into a big problem in the United States and the rest of the world. So in 1919 the United States added the eighteenth amendment of prohibition. It worked great for a couple years with very little amounts of illegal drinking (Monroe, 1994, p.13). Then came the moon shiners making distilled liquor and bootleggers smuggling it into the country. It also hurt the United States Government because they lost a lot of tax money. In the 1920’s Al Capone ruled the Chicago crime world and was the king of bootleg liquor (Monroe, 1994, p.15). There was also a rise in blindness and death due to bathtub gin having poisons in it (Monroe, 1994, p.15). So after fourteen years in 1933 prohibition was appealed.

“The body metabolizes, or breaks down, alcohol differently from the way it breaks down solid food. Typical alcohol metabolism occurs like this: With the first sip alcohol briefly irritates the mouth and esophagus linings. It then flows into the stomach. The stomach, although irritated by the alcohol, absorbs about twenty percent of it. Food in the stomach slows the absorption somewhat (Monroe,1994, p.21). “The remaining alcohol quickly moves into the small intestine, bloodstream, and heart. The heart pumps the alcohol through the blood vessels to the rest of the body, including the brain. Once alcohol reaches the brain, drinkers start to feel the effects”(Monroe, 1994, p.22) “It takes only a few minutes from the first sip to the moment the alcohol moves into the brain. Alcohol slows down brain cells but increases the heartbeat. Alcohol is a toxin, or poison, to the body. The body tries to remove it quickly by increasing blood flow and blood pressure” (Monroe, 1994, p.22). “The body removes alcohol in to ways; excretion and metabolism. Only ten percent of alcohol is excreted through urine, breath, saliva, or sweat. The other ninety percent remains in body till enzymes, or complex proteins, in liver breakdown the alcohol into water and carbon dioxide. The liver is the only organ to break down alcohol”(Monroe, 1994, p.22).

There are many different types of drinkers. There are comfortable abstainers or non-drinkers that would not have alcohol no matter what the occasion. Also there is a usual abstainer, which may drink when they fell uncomfortable not drinking. The light drinker drinks occasionally but in small amounts. There is also an occasional abuser that drinks with a full purpose of getting drunk (Grosshandler, 1990, p.33-35).

The main question people have is why drink. There are many reasons why people drink. Here are a few of them to feel good, fear, relieve anxiety, tradition, hurt, peer pressure, relax, feel mature and angry (Grosshandler, 1990, p.41). Those are just a few of the basic reasons people drink.

Alcoholism is a disease that affects millions (Wekesser, 1994, p.17). “No other drug is used more widely or is more frequently fatal than alcohol” (Welin, 1987, p.C-1). Yet all the efforts to stop alcohol abuse are unsuccessful. “Studies show that one out of every three people has alcoholism in their family” (Welin, 1987, p.C-1). Many people associate alcohol with a good time. Raising of the glasses is mankinds oldest ritual (Gibbons, 1992, p.none). Even though alcohol costs are measured up in deaths, dollars, and crime (Welin, 1987, p.C-1). The disease is defined as a serious use of alcohol that impairs someone’s social or occupational functioning (http://www.alcoholism.com). It is where the body’s organs are disrupted from performing vital functions causing pain and weakness to the person (http://www.alcoholism.com). It is a chronic disease with an unknown biological or genetic cause (Wekesser, 1994, p.17). Alcoholics Anonymous was established in the United States in 1935. Alcoholics Anonymous is the number one treatment of alcoholism (Wekesser, 1994, p.54). Alcoholics Anonymous has a very affective twelve-step program (Wekesser, 1994, p.54).

Chronic Alcohol Abuse damages almost every part of the body (Monroe, 1994, p.29). Chronic Alcohol Abuse can cause severe and permanent damage to the brain (Monroe, 1994, p.29). It also degenerates, scars and can set the heart off beat (Monroe, 1994, p.29). Chronic Alcohol Abuse may also cause Fatty liver, Hepatitis, and cirrhosis liver diseases. Fatty Liver Disease builds up fat in liver so it cannot process food but will heal over time. Hepatitis Liver Disease is a painful inflammation of the liver that can heal if drinking stops. Cirrhosis liver disease is fatal and permanently kills liver cells (Monroe, 1994, p.30). It can cause inflammation the pancreatitis (Monroe, 1994,p.30). It decreases the activity of the immune system increasing the risk of cancer in the throat, mouth, liver, and bladder (Monroe, 1994, p.30).

There are many methods of treating alcoholism or Chronic Alcohol Abuse. There are a vast variety of inpatient and outpatient programs today but abstinence from alcohol is required in all of them (http://www.alcoholism.com). The main factors in success are maintaining a healthy diet, exercise and positive work patterns (http://www.alcoholism.com). Crisis intervention services take place in hospitals. This is treatment for overdoses on drugs and alcohol where people stay for a few days then move to counseling (Monroe, 1994, p.81). “Impatient hospital programs provide both psychological and medical services” (Monroe, 1994, p.81). Residential treatment programs will remove the person from their home and move them to a new location. Here the people learn about the consequences of their drunken actions. These treatments take from two to twelve months. Many programs help build self-esteem and trust in others (Monroe, 1994, p.83). Day treatment programs are so you can work counseling into schedule. It lasts for two to twenty four months (Monroe, 1994, p.83). There are also clinic programs happening in community health centers, and YMCA’s. They provide a wide range of services (Monroe, 1994, p.83). In the United States they offer treatment in three phases. The phases are Detoxing, Recovery, and Prevention. “A detoxification center provides a safe place to withdraw from alcohol. All alcoholics go through withdrawals. However, most do not go to a detoxification center. Alcohol withdrawal differs for each person. People may become restless, sweat, shake, or hallucinate. A craving for alcohol is common. Some people become delirious or cannot sleep. Alcohol withdrawal, ridding the body of alcohol, usually takes five days but can last several weeks. Trained personnel help alcoholics through withdrawal. They evaluate alcoholics for medical and physical problems. Sometimes doctors give alcoholics medicine to help them through withdrawal. Because the craving for alcohol is strong during withdrawal, some people take a drug called antabuse. Antabuse discourages alcoholics from returning to alcohol. By itself, antabuse produces no reactions. Once alcoholic’s drink, though, even in small amount of alcohol can trigger cramps, nausea, headaches, and dizziness. The reactions are swift and severe. Not all people want to take antabuse, and doctors do not prescribe it often. Sometimes alcoholics who withdrawal from alcohol take tranquilizers.

Tranquilizers are drugs that doctor’s use to calm people and releave stress. However, they do not help alcoholic’s withdrawaling from alcohol. Sometimes alcoholics become addicted to tranquilizers instead of alcohol. Also tranquilizers and alcohol are depressants, by mixing the two alcoholics become very ill. After withdrawal, alcoholics often go to a recovery program, such as an in-hospital treatment program, outpatient hospital program, residential, or day treatment programs. These programs are important, because if teens or others go right home after detoxification, they usually start to drink again. That is because they have not learned other ways to deal with their lives, other than by drinking. Detoxification can occur at any recovery program” (Monroe, 1994, p.84-86).

In this research paper I explained the basics of alcohol. I also talked about the problems with alcohol and some of the solutions. I believe that the making, selling and buying of alcohol should be drastically slowed. I know it should be stopped completely for the best but that will never happen. I think it should only be used once in a while for celebratory purposes.
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