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"Alcoholism"
Alcoholism
Author:
Jack Drewes
Alcoholism is a chronic illness characterized by the habitual consumption of alcohol. Some alcoholics drink daily. Others drink less often, but the drinking becomes out of control. Alcohol use is to the degree that it interferes with physical or mental health or with normal social or work behavior. Alcoholics who do not quit drinking decrease life expectancy by 10 to 15 years.

Alcohol produces both physical and psychological addiction. It is a central nervous system depressant that reduces anxiety, inhibition, and feelings of guilt. It lowers alertness and impairs perception, judgment, and motor coordination. In high doses, it can cause loss of consciousness and even death. Chronic alcoholism damages the brain, liver, heart. Alcohol also can impair vision, impair sexual function, slow circulation, cause malnutrition, cause water retention (resulting in weight gain and bloating), lead to pancreatitis and skin disorders (such as middle-age acne), dilate blood vessels near the skin causing "brandy nose," weaken the bones and muscles, and decrease immunity.

Liver disease

The liver is particularly endangered by alcoholism. Alcoholic cirrhosis is the primary cause of cirrhosis in the US. It is estimated to be responsible for 44% of deaths from cirrhosis in North America. Some experts believe this estimate is low; one Canadian study found alcohol to be the major contributor to 80% of all cirrhosis deaths.

Alcoholic cirrhosis usually develops after more than a decade of heavy drinking. The amount of alcohol that can injure the liver varies greatly from person to person. In women, as few as two to three drinks per day have been linked with cirrhosis and in men, as few as three to four drinks per day. Alcohol seems to injure the liver by blocking the normal metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.


The relationship between alcohol and cirrhosis is generally as follows:

• Alcohol is absorbed from the...

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essay on Alcoholism
Pages:
4 (957 words)
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Added:
01/16/2012
Category:
Medicine / Alcoholism
Plagiarism level of this essay is: 83%
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