This essay has a total of 1097 words and 4 pages.


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 (#1). If constantly abused,
alcohol can be even worse for one than taking illegal drugs (#5) 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. One denotation of this term is "a diseased
condition of the system, brought about by the continued use of alcoholic liquors"
(Webster's Dictionary, 37). Another definition of this term, given to me by my English
professor, Janet Gould who is in fact, a recovering alcoholic, is that alcoholism is a
mental dependence and a physical allergy (#3). Alcoholism somehow affects us all through a
parent, sibling, friend, or even personal encounters with a stranger. In fact "alcoholics
may become angry and argumentative, quiet and withdrawn, or depressed. They may also feel
more anxious, sad, tense, and confused. They then seek relief by drinking more" (Gitlow
175). Alcohol and Alcoholism is a big part in our society, which should be recognized and
dealt with.

In addition "about 7%" of all adults who consume alcohol in the United States today are
considered alcoholics, or have suffered from some sort of drinking problem in their lives
(Secretary of health viii). "Although there is no indication of how the alcoholism of
families members is linked ... [through genetics], studies show that about 50 to 80
percent of all alcoholics have had a close relative that was an alcoholic" (Caplan 266).
Many times alcoholism starts during a person's high school and college years; however some
teenagers and young adults frequently abuse alcohol and never think about the physical,
mental, and emotional toll that alcohol can have on a person's life (#3). Alcoholism
usually begins with social drinking then a person will find excuses to drink more often
(Burgess 13). When alcohol is made more readily available to an individual, such as in a
college environment, it increases the risk that person will drink excessively (Ewing 173)
(#5). The chances of a person becoming an alcoholic are much higher for a person who
drinks excessively and lower for a person who drinks moderately. Most alcoholics start out
by building up a tolerance, causing them to drink higher amounts of alcohol to get the
same effect; this tolerance is the starting point of an alcoholic's dependence and causes
many problems in an alcoholic's life (#2). Alcohol begins to control the individual's life
and causes their drinking habits to conflict with their best interests (Burgess 16).
Personal relationships can be torn apart, jobs are frequently lost, and the health of a
person deteriorates when an individual begins to rely on a drink to get by (Burgess 16).
Sometimes a person may start to drink at every waking moment of the day because they
cannot deal with the withdrawals of being sober (Burgess 16).

Furthermore, alcohol can have many physical effects on a person's body; internal organs
and systems can be severely damaged and even shut down when too much alcohol is consumed
(#2). The prolonged use of large amounts of alcohol without an adequate diet may cause
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