When people hear the word "drug", they usually think of an illegal substance such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or any other drug that can be found on the street. Most people never consider the fact that consuming alcohol can be just as harmful as illegal drugs, not only on the body, but on the mind and spirit as well. If constantly abused, alcohol can be even worse for one than taking illegal drugs Irresponsible drinking can destroy a person's life as well as the lives of those around them. When people become both physically and psychologically addicted to alcohol, they become an alcoholic and suffer from a disease called alcoholism. Alcoholism affects the individual, the family and even the society.

Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial. Alcoholism is a disease that persists over time and that physical, emotional, and social changes are often cumulative and may progress as drinking continues.

Alcoholism causes premature death through overdose, organic complications involving the brain, liver, heart and many other organs, and by contributing to suicide, homicide, motor vehicle crashes, and other traumatic events (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. ). Alcoholism is craving, a strong need, or urge to drink, loss of control, as if one can not seem to stop drinking, it is also a physical independence. Alcoholism is a serious subject It affects millions of Americans each year.

Not only does alcoholism affect the individual but also the family and even the society. There are studies and research done on alcoholism. Studies show that nearly all alcoholics who try to cur don't on there drinking habit can not do it. ("Alcoholism"). There are 500, 00 students between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol. ("National Institute of Health") There are as many as three million Americans over the age of sixty that have serious drinking problems.

It is estimates that out of two thousand and sixty million Americans, more than twenty eight million are children of alcoholics. Most Alcoholics drink moderate amounts of alcohol (up to two drinks per day for men and for women and older people on drink per day) and avoid alcohol-related problems. Their are many effects of alcoholism weather they be physical or mentally, the both are dangerous. A large part of the physical effects of alcoholism is directly due to the loss of the body's ability to process certain vitamins and minerals. The nutrients most effected are thiamine, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. The symptoms of these deficiencies include numbness in the extremities and buttocks, loss of short-term memory.

Diseases such as Wericke's Encephalopathy and Karsakoff's Syndrome effect brain function, and are a result of the bodies loss of ability to process these vitamins. Abstinence and vitamin therapy may reverse some of these diseases ("Wellness Today"). The physical effects of alcoholism are somewhat gruesome. Excessive in take and prolonged use of alcohol can cause serious disturbances in body chemistry. "Many alcoholics exhibit swollen and tender livers.

The prolonged use of large amounts of alcoholism without adequate diet may cause serious liver damage, such as cirrhosis of the liver" (McCarthy 505). Alcoholism also causes loss of muscular control. The condition, delirium tremens, known primarily to heavy drinkers, causes hallucinations along with loss of control of muscular functioning. When this condition develops and the alcoholic slows their drinking, withdrawal syndrome can and often does occur. This may include agitation, tremors, seizures, and hallucinations. Alcoholism also cases damage to the brain.

Alcoholics may suffer from lack of concentration. The alcoholic may also experience "blackouts", occasional onsets of memory lapses, and possibly complete memory loss. They may also suffer from more serious forms of brain damage. Not only does alcoholism make the outside ugly, but also the inside, just in a different way. Alcoholism is very hard on the body.

There are a lot of scary diseases a person may get from excessive drinking mutual There are eight main disorders alcoholism can lead up to. They are: neurological, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, hematological / immunological, dermatological, nutritional and cancer (Thomas H. Milhorn, 374). Neurological has many types of diseases that may occur (Thomas H. Milhorn, 374). They are: Wernicke's Syndrome consist of nystagmus, which is a rapid uncontrollable movement of the eyeballs; paralysis of the gaze and ataxia, which is a staggering gait. Korakoff's syndrome consist of memory loss and lying to cover it up. Alcohol Dementia and that is a decline intellectual functioning (Thomas H. Milhorn, 374).

Hepatic Encephalopathy, this occurs with sever liver disease. Early signs consists of inappropriate behavior, change in sleep habits and mood swings. It progresses to confusion disorientation, stupor and coma. Peripheral Neuropathy is a burning pain in the feet and legs due to nerve damage (Thomas H. Milhorn, 374). Gastrointestinal is another disability (Thomas H. Milhorn, 374). Its diseases consist of Fatty Liver, Fat deposits in the liver, Alcoholic hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver tissue.

This eventually leads to enlarged veins in the esophagus (called varices) that sometimes bleed profusely, as well as an abdomen full of fluid known as ascites. Esophagitis, inflammation of the esophagus (Thomas H. Milhorn, 374). This can progress to stricture. Gastritis, superficial, widespread inflammation of the stomach as well. Small Intestine, effects such as diarrhea, vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition. Pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas (Thomas H. Milhorn, 374).

This condition contributes to malnutrition, diarrhea and diabetes. It is characterized by nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. Cardiovascular Hypertension, high blood pressure, Cardiomyopathy, damaged heart muscle. This is characterized by congestive heart failure.

Cardiac Arrhythmias: An irregular heart beat (Thomas H. Milhorn, 374). Musculoskeletal myopathy: Damaged skeletal muscles (Thomas H. Milhorn, 374). This is characterized acutely by weak, swollen, and painful muscles. It is characterized chronically by wasted and weak muscles, particularly in the legs (Thomas H. Milhorn, 374). Septic Necrosis of the hip: death of the proximal end of leg bone in the hip joint. This occurs due to loss of local blood supply to the bone.

Gout, a form of arthritic due to perception of uric acid crystals in joints. (Thomas H. Milhorn, 374). Hematological / Immunological Anemia is low on red count (Thomas H. Milhorn, 375). This is due to blood loss from gastritis or ulcers, poor absorption of vitamins needed to make red blood cells, and the direct depressant effect of alcohol on red blood cell production.

Leucopenia: a depressed white blood cell count (Thomas H. Milhorn, 375). This is due to direct suppression of white blood cell production by alcohol. It may lead to various infections. Coagulation disorders: poor blood clotting.

This is due to direct suppression of alcohol. It can sometimes lead to massive bleeding. Infection: due to suppressed immune system (Thomas H. Milhorn, 375). Dermatological Reddened face and nose is another. (Thomas H. Milhorn, 375).

Edematous eyelids and red eyes, Rosacea, rose-red bumps on the face and nose, Scaly skin and Seborrhea, this is similar to dandruff but occurs on the face. Bruises and ecchymosed: purple areas of skin due to bleeding into the skin. Nutritional Nerve and heart problems (beriberi) caused by thiamine deficiency. Anemia and inflammation of nerves caused by pyridoxine deficiency (Thomas H. Milhorn, 376). Diarrhea, dementia and dermatitis (pellagra) caused by niacin deficiency. Bleeding into the skin and gum disease (scurvy) caused by vitamin C deficiency (Thomas H. Milhorn, 376)...

Cancer Mouth and esophageal, Pancreas, colon and rectum (possibly), Stomach, prostate and thyroid gland, possibly (Thomas H. Milhorn, 376). As one may see there are many side affects to alcoholism. A lot of disorders and high risks of getting diseases. Makes one wonder why one would start drinking excessively in the first place. People who had have family members in the past who were alcoholics can affect their future for them and their children. There are so many parents that are children of alcoholics who are unable to talk about drinking with their own children.

The topic is too loaded with memories and painful feelings. They handle their concern by ignoring, denying, or accepting drunkenness as "normal" even when it becomes a repeatedly pattern. Neither is the child nor the parent is to blame in a situation like this. Each persons represents a personal style or way of coping with the problem.

Both, parent and child will not, In turn, grow up with warped views about drinking (Judith S. Seixas and Gerald in You cha, 96). ~B. COSTS OF REHABILITATION - Alcoholism is an outrageous public health problem. "The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that alcoholism and alcohol abuse in the United States cost society from $40 to $60 billion annually, due to the lost production, health and medical care, motor vehicle accidents, violent crime, and social programs that respond to alcohol problems. One half of all traffic fatalities and one-third of all traffic injuries are related to to the abuse of alcohol" (Caplan 266). The challenges to treatment have always been denial and the avoidance of intervention. Alcoholism and drug dependency are illnesses that constantly convince the victim no problem exists. Consequently, treatment is often avoided until severe damage has impacted on nearly every major aspect of living: family, employment, health, and spiritual values.

It is critically important that persons suspecting alcoholism or drug dependency, act immediately with direct inquiries concerning care for themselves or a family member. Alcoholism is a serious problem in today's society. It is extremely important that the public, including the large groups of users and abusers of alcohol, gain as much knowledge as possible about the symptoms and effects of alcoholism if we ever want to see the reduction of statics involving fatalities, injuries, diseases caused from the use and abuse of alcohol. Education and realization of the effects alcoholism can have on the different aspects of a person's life are the best ways that we can help control the number of alcoholics in the United States. Treatment for alcoholism has been shown to reduce criminal activity up to 80% among chronic offenders, has increased their rate of employment, decreases homelessness and reduces all health care costs. The cost of untreated drug and alcohol abuse in the U.S. in a year is estimated at $276 Billion in lost productivity, law enforcement costs, health care and welfare programs.

Savings from treatment programs is incalculable!