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The Social and Personal Effects of Alcohol Addiction
Ethanol, more popularly known as alcohol is a liquid for human consumption and it is consumed the world over. Moderate alcohol consumption is acceptable in many societies and it is usually conceived as a drink for entertainment and refreshment. Although infrequent and medically-permitted alcohol consumption is not devastating, drinkers often gradually get addicted and start consuming alcohol in amounts that is scientifically proved to be harmful.
Alcohol abuse and addiction often leads to alcoholism, a serious medical disease with varying signs and symptoms depending on the usage pattern and amounts. The fact is the alcohol drinkers find it quite amusing when they start drinking and don’t consider that habitual usage may lead to serious consequences. It is often seen that the frequency and amounts consumed by alcohol drinkers both go on increasing with passing time. The sweet start often ends up in devastation.
Alcohol addiction has social, personal and economic consequences that are dire enough to fathom. Although rehab centers and treatment is available for lifestyle and health improvement, many alcohol abusers are either unaware about them or are unable to cope with such treatments and rehabilitation programs.
To keep this article concise and focused on most common consequences, only the personal and societal effects have been considered. Economic and other effects are, however, not secluded from the personal and social outcomes and are often found to be connected with them.
Social Effects of Alcohol Addiction
Many social evils erupt due to alcohol abuse. The most notable are the following ones.
Alcohol Abuse and Family
Although alcohol offers temporary good feelings, over-use of alcohol affects the abuser’s personality. Alcohol overuse is often the torch-bearer of excess irritability, poor judgment capability and decreased reasoning which hurts relationships.
According to a study, 40 percent of serious domestic violence occur due to alcohol abuse. Verbal and physical abuse of the offspring and spouse is common for alcohol abusers. It has also been found that children who live with an alcoholic have lower academic performance, increased chances of depression and may be socially isolated.
The Societal harms at Large
Alcohol abuse does not harm only the drinker and their close ones; it is linked to many social ills that encompass lives of people who are otherwise unrelated to the drinker. Alcohol abuse and workplace absenteeism is coexistent. Moreover, violent criminal activities in neighbourhoods and risky sexual activity are also common ill-effects of alcoholism. A majority of automobile accidents that destroy lives of non-drinkers is common too.
Overuse of alcohol may lead to psychological disorders. Anxiety and depression are common among abusers. Although, initially, alcohol relieves the feelings, alcohol does not counteract anxiety; it only aggravates the issues. That is why 15-70 % of alcohol abusers also suffer from depression.
Alcohol may be used to feel better in strenuous situations or to overcome social phobias but the results are exceedingly negative. Non-drinkers often desert alcohol addicts and only other abusers remain within the social circle.
Personal Effects of Alcoholism
There are many personal angles associated with alcoholism and most of them are negative and harmful. The major ones are the following.
Heavy drinkers face serious health consequences. Cancer of the throat, oesophagus, liver or larynx and breast cancer in women can be very common outcomes of alcohol abusers. Moreover, a stroke and other heart disease or an irregular heartbeat may result from alcohol overuse. Alcohol is often related to high blood pressure as well. Liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis and reduced fertility are also common among alcohol abusers too.
And, without any need of a mention, nervous system disorders are very common among alcohol abusers.
The money spent on drinks is often substantial and deplorable for heavy drinkers. Moreover, advanced drinkers may often go through some other economic problems which include but are not limited to lower wages and lost employment opportunities. Moreover, abusers also have to bear increased medical and legal expenses due to negative health effects of alcohol consumption. In many nations, alcoholics are not offered the eligibility for obtaining loans. A Sri Lankan study has found that 7% of men spend more amounts on alcohol than their income. Poverty is a natural outcome.
Loss of Productivity
Heavy drinking reduces the productivity of drinkers. It has been found in Latvia that about 10% of productivity losses are due to alcohol. Performance at work may also be affected due to drinking. A study has found that co-workers perceive heavy drinkers to be low-performers. Moreover, lack of self-direction, which drinkers do not perceive easily, affects the work-performance of the drinker.
Drinkers often go through strenuous relationship statuses. Due to time spent drinking, they spend less time with the family which decreases their role and affection in the family. Moreover, due to domestic violence due to alcohol break-ups and fights with other family members and co-workers can take place. The ultimate result is an unhealthy overall relationship and therefore misery.
Someone in the United States dies in every 22 minutes due to alcohol-related accidents. According to the Center for Disease Control, 105,000 people die due to drunken drivers and alcohol related injuries and diseases every year. Out of an estimated 23,200 murdered in U.S. last year, alcohol was the reason in at least 34% of cases. More than half of rapists are found drunk. Moreover, up to 36% of suicide victims drink just before the step.
These data show the immense problem we have with alcohol and it is time to wake up to rescue these misfortunate. However, saving alcoholic would require effort, perseverance and determination.
It is tough to save the alcoholics from all ill effects, but a concerted effort can do miracles. We must take a serious step, considering the mind-shattering effects of alcohol consumption.
It is not impossible to save people and give them a right path.