Psychological Effects of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a world known term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the impairment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing. It is medically considered a disease, specifically an addictive illness, and in psychology several other terms are used, specifically "alcohol abuse" and "alcohol dependence," which have slightly different definitions. People suffering from alcoholism are often called "alcoholics". Many other terms, some of them insulting or informal, have been used throughout history. It is estimated that there are 140 ...view middle of the document...
Teenagers are particularly at risk.
Alcoholism is characterized by an increased tolerance of and physical dependence on alcohol, affecting an individual's ability to control alcohol consumption safely. These characteristics are believed to play a role in obstructing an alcoholic's ability to stop drinking. Alcoholism can have adverse effects on mental health, causing psychological disorders and increasing the risk of suicide. The beginning of depression is a common symptom.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as the amount of alcohol leading to a blood alcohol content of 0.08, which, for most adults, would be reached by consuming five drinks for men or four for women over a 2-hour period. According to many Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism institutes, men may be at risk for alcohol-related problems if their alcohol consumption exceeds 14 standard drinks per week or 4 drinks per day, and women may be at risk if they have more than 7 standard drinks per week or 3 drinks per day. A standard drink is defined as one 12-ounce bottle of beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.
Long-term alcohol abuse can cause a number of physical symptoms, including damages of the liver, pancreatitis, epilepsy, alcoholic dementia, heart disease, nutritional deficiencies, and sexual dysfunction, and can eventually be fatal. Other physical effects include an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, malabsorption, alcoholic liver disease, and cancer. Damage to the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system can occur from ongoing alcohol consumption. A wide range of immunologic defects can result and there may be a generalized skeletal fragility, in addition to a recognized tendency to accidental injury, resulting a tendency to bone fractures. Women develop long-term complications of alcohol dependence more quickly than do men. Additionally, women have a higher mortality rate from alcoholism than men.
Long-term misuse of alcohol can cause a wide range of mental health problems. Severe cognitive problems are common; approximately 10 percent of all mental illness cases are related to alcohol consumption, making it the second leading cause of mental illnesses. Excessive alcohol use causes damage to brain function, and psychological health can be increasingly affected over time. Social skills are significantly impaired in...