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Harmful Effects of Alcoholism, Cause & Effect

Updated on September 9, 2012

Harmful Effects of Alcoholism, Cause & Effects

You are not alone. Alcoholism is a debilitating disease that has a dramatic negative effect on many American Families. It has been a cause of family destruction, psychological and physical damage to the health of the afflicted and family members, and it is responsible for causing deaths.

Home should be a place offering a feeling of safety, relaxation, and security but instead it becomes a toxic and stressful environment. Drama, instability, fears, and the feeling of uncertainty in day-to-day life replace normal healthy living when alcohol abuse is present. Many of the afflicted individuals are unable to hold down a job; they also tend to make poor financial decisions, leaving the family to struggle financially. In addition, many families of alcoholics also become the victim of verbal, emotional and physical abuse caused by alcohol abuse. Sadly, many family members spend their lives “enabling” the alcoholic by covering for them to hide the shame they feel of having such a dysfunctional family. Maintaining a healthy living environment is impossible under those conditions; many marriages inflicted with the disease of alcoholism fail and end up in divorce.

Excessive long-term abuse of alcohol can have detrimental effects on the afflicted mentally and physically. Some experience blackouts (long-term memory loss), hand tremors, liver disease, heart disease, and behavior problems, to mention a few. However, the spouse and children living in the home with the alcoholic can also suffer with mental and physical ailments. The non-drinking spouse usually has to take on the role as the head of the household, peacemaker, and caregiver to the alcoholic. This role, together will all the other problems caused by the afflicted, can lead to severe stress, unhappiness, loss of self worth, and exhaustion, leaving the spouse vulnerable to depression and all kinds of potential mental and physical health problems.

Research has shown that many children of alcoholics suffer from low self-esteem and depression. It can inhibit their social development, especially when it comes to interacting with their peers. Many fall below standard academic performance due to the problems in the home caused by alcohol abuse. Children who have had long-term exposure to the affects of alcoholism in the home can grow up and have problems with substance abuse themselves.

Finally, yet importantly, alcoholism greatly impairs ones judgment and the ability to make proper choices. Some acts of impaired judgment may have deadly consequences. One such example is the impaired decision to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Last year, in the United States alone, over 10,000 innocent lives were lost due to alcohol-impaired drivers. Alcoholics not only pose a danger to themselves and their families, but they are a hazard to innocent bystanders.

When people choose to drink irresponsibly, harming themselves mentally and physically, it can have a detrimental effect on the lives around them. It takes a lot of work and courage to seek help with this hideous disease. With proper support and counseling, such as family intervention, Alcoholics’ Anonymous and Al-Anon, the individual afflicted with alcoholism and their families can have a chance of survival. Living with the disease and choosing not to do anything at all, will only prolong its destructive nature and destroy the family and anything in its path.

Please, if you choose to not drive.

Dedicated to my Mother, Bea, who lost her life to an impaired driver under the influence of alcohol on 6/23/1980. RIP
Dedicated to my Mother, Bea, who lost her life to an impaired driver under the influence of alcohol on 6/23/1980. RIP

Take life one day at a time...


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    • profile image

      Crizzy 4 years ago

      Nice article. Some more infos here

    • enlight your soul profile image

      enlight your soul 6 years ago from Bangladesh

      very useful hub. We need to aware the people if we want a safe earth.

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      You have posted a great hub. The information you have listed is important for those dealing with can tear up a family and have effects that last years....thanks for posting

    • clydelady2 profile image

      Nancy Ann 6 years ago from Long Island, New York

      I am so glad to hear you are a survivor! Thank you for your comment.

    • HattieMattieMae profile image

      HattieMattieMae 6 years ago from Limburg, Netherlands

      Yeap, lived that and survived it within my family! Good hub! :)