Alcoholism is perhaps the most common form of drug abuse in America today. In 1995, in the United States 67% of all the population over the age of 12 reported drinking alcohol with in the previous year. Even more astounding, is the fact that nearly 50% reported drinking some type of alcoholic beverage with in the past month. Scientist report that the reason alcohol is so popular to drinkers is because it is pleasant, relaxing, and is considered a social beverage. But what the drinkers often do not take in to consideration are the facts that alcohol dulls the brain and confuses physical reactions. Which leads to numerous injuries, accidents, and death.

Roughly 1.3 million people are arrested for driving drunk each year. As a result of the drunk drivers, 25,000 deaths occur each year. More 16 to 24 year olds are killed as a result of drunk driving or are involved in accidents where someone is driving drunk than any other age group in the nation. Alcohol affects every part of an alcoholic's life: their body, their mind and their family life. The body has a natural chemical that gives a feeling of a natural high. It happens in the presence of a life-endangering situation. This chemical is adrenaline, which is meant to prepare the body for defense in the case of an emergency. Alcohol tricks the body into giving off the chemical and in turn, get the natural high feeling. The problem alcohol has though is that when it goes to the brain, it blocks the synapses in the brain, that portion of the brain cannot perform its usual tasks; such as speaking, walking, seeing, etc.

After the body has consumed a certain amount of alcohol, it can't rely on the logical (upper brain) to operate itself. Instead it depends on the lower brain, due to this the person will not know what they are doing or saying. Since the body is in the high state for so long, instead of just for a few minutes, it becomes addicted and depends on the alcohol for normal function. Alcohol has a tremendous affect on the body. In small doses, alcohol has a tendency to provide warmth, confront and relaxation. But when the drinker is unable to control the amount he or she has, they become more outgoing, self confident, and uninhibited. Alcohol mostly affects the liver. Normally, the liver processes fat and converts them into calories, but it also can process alcohol. Upon exiting the liver, the alcohol is distributed through out other organs including the lungs, brain and kidneys. After alcohol reaches the brain, it numbs the frontal lobe which has direct control over judgement, visual perception and decision making skills. Scientist believe this is what makes alcoholics believe they can conquer anything task put before them. After drinking a good number of drinks everyday over a long period of time, many things can happen. Cirrhosis of the liver can occur, which means the liver tissues become hardened. Scientist also report that irreversible brain damage can before cirrhosis of the liver is even detected.

Also, cancer of the liver, mouth, esophagus, and lungs as well as intestinal and pancreatic cancer often occur as a result of alcoholism. Alcohol also has an affect on the mind as well as the body. Alcoholics often report that they feel inferior to people and believe they can do anything. One study done reports than when people drink by themselves, they reported changes in their physical as well as mental state such as dizziness and unclear thinking. But when they are put in a group or social situation and encouraged to drink, the participants reported changes in mood and interpersonal behavior, like less unhappy and more friendly. All of the participants achieved the same BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) and were relatively the same size in build and structure. Many people believe that alcohol acts as a social lubricant. Increased social pleasures, assertiveness talkativeness and even happiness are all expected by many when they drink in these situations.

Alcohol is said to reduce tension and anxiety. This in turn allows drinkers to feel more relaxed and comfortable in social situations. However, this also encourages the drinker to drink more when under more stress. Alcohol also affects the mind in other ways too, not just socially. Alcohol also makes people more aggressive. Studies show that in all the assaults, rapes, and murders 30 to 60% of these cases involved alcohol. Many scientists believe that alcohol triggers violence. Others have argued that human beings have a natural aggressive drives or impulses that are usually restrained by guilt, fear, or social behaviors and laws. Alcohol is believed to directly stimulate feelings of power and the need to dominate. Alcohol also has a direct affect on sexual relations. William Shakespeare wrote that when sex is concerned drinking provokes the desire, but takes away from the performance. Poet Ogden Nash also was quoted as saying Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker. Most people think that consumption of alcohol will increase their sexual performance when in all actuality it increases the desire, but takes away from the performance.

In many studies performed, they affect alcohol has on women and men are often different. It is often found that women can control the sexual feelings more adequately than men can, which gives reasons to why more women are raped and sexually assaulted than men. Alcohol has the most affect on the family. Many alcoholics do not believe this because they think what they do has no affect on their family and friends. But often times the amount of stress put on the spouse, children, parents, and friends of an alcohol can be worse than what the alcoholic thinks. New research has begun to show, that if someone parent or grandparent is an alcoholic they have a greater chance of becoming one also. Children who have had alcoholic parents often act impulsively, lie, and seek approval and attention from others. The children often have a hard time finding what is normal and what is not because of the unpredictable environment they were raised in.

Often times alcoholic have a tendency to abuse their children and their spouse. Many times, alcoholics come from an abusive home and they have a history of alcoholism in the family already. In conclusion, alcohol affects every part of your life. It has irreversible affects on the body, including the liver and the brain. Alcohol also has detrimental affects on the mind, which leads to feeling inferior and unstoppable. Alcohol and alcoholism also affects family as well. There are many treatment programs and support groups that can help. However, most of the time the alcoholics refuse to admit they have a problem with their drinking, so it goes untreated.


1. Golden, Sandy. Driving the Drunk Off the Road. Washington, D.C.: Acropolis Books, LTD, 1984.

2. Halgin, Richard P., and Susan Krauss Whitbourne. Abnormal Psychology. Madison, WI: Brown & Benchmark, 1997.

3. Lang, Alan R. Alcohol, Teenage Drinking. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1985.