Essay on Alcohol Addiction in the United States


Addiction in the U.S is a lot more widespread than you may know. About 12.8% of the adult population or 1 in 8 people in the U.S suffers from alcoholism. So, what are the short and long-term effects of addiction?What are the symptoms?Is there a cure for this common problem among men, women, and  sometimes even teenagers? And if someone is addicted what will happen to them. The effects and symptoms of alcoholism are harmful, but there are ways to treat this addiction.

The first effect of alcoholism is the addiction cycle. Introduced by Kieth Jones,the first stage of addiction is “binge Intoxication” (Jones), which is when someone consumes an intoxicating substance  which would be alcohol for alcoholism that would be alcohol, they feel the pleasurable effects of the substance to which they eventually become addicted. The second stage of the addiction cycle is “withdrawal/negative affect”(Jones). This is when “a person is in abstinence from their desired addiction,” which would be alcohol for victims of alcoholism. During that stage, the person will have negative emotional and physical effects from not having the substance. The third and final stage of the addiction cycle is “Precipitation/Anticipation” (Jones). “This stage is when “the person has been in abstinence of the substance for a period of time but then seeks the substance again”(Jones). Then this leads some people to become addicted again and this is why it is called the addiction cycle. The short-term effects of alcoholism are normally caused by a period of heavy drinking which can lead to motor vehicle accidents, falls, drownings and burns. Excessive drinking “ is any drinking under the age of 21 or by anyone who is pregnant or when someone has more than 5 drinks for women, and 6 for men in a short period of time”(Jones). This is normally what causes these events to happen due to the “inability to think clearly due to the alcohol's effect on the brain”(Jones). Which in the long term alcohol can lead to damage of the cerebral cortex which as stated by Kieth Jones “Changes and damage to this area of our brain can impair the person’s abilities to solve problems, remember and learn”(Jones). Those are the leading symptoms of alcoholism.

The symptoms that can occur to people that suffer from alcoholism. Stated by Kieth Jones“a craving is when alcoholics have an extreme urge to drink''(Jones). If they let their urge follow through they may lose control of how much they are drinking. If they keep doing that they will eventually build up a physical dependence towards it. And if they do not get their desired substance they will go into withdrawal “which is when they do not get their substance they are dependent on they will experience symptoms such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety after a period of heavy drinking”(Jones). And they will also eventually build up a tolerance in which they will need more alcohol to get “high where they experience the pleasurable effects”(Jones). Which can lead to more serious health conditions such as a “20% higher chance to develop colon or rectal cancer later on in their life”(Jones). Alcohol can also decrease immune system effectiveness by “reducing the cyotike proteins which will reduce your immune system’s response”(Jones). Which can lead to people with alcoholism to get sick more often.

Alcoholism is caused by a few different things. Some of the visible signs you have to be aware of are “underage drinking or binge drinking”(Jones). That is one of the main signs you need to be aware of because it makes the person more easily become addicted. One of the biggest signs of alcoholism is when someone “is acting as if only drinking matters and only keeps thinking about their next drink”(Jones). That is showing that someone is only wanting to drink and does not care for anything else. One of the last main signs of alcoholism is “when someone keeps drinking regardless of the physical or physiological condition”(Jones). But there are ways to treat alcoholism. One of the main treatments for alcoholism is called “Cognitive Behavioral treatment which is normally with a therapist or in small groups where they discuss the feelings that lead to binge drinking”(Jones). Which may be very beneficial to some people.There are several FDA approved medications to help treat addiction such as “ Naltrexone which helps reduce heavy drinking, and also Acamprosate which helps people keep abstinence from alcohol”(Jones). Both of them are proven methods of treatment.

The effects and symptoms of alcoholism are harmful, but there are ways to treat this addiction. The addiction cycle as stated by Kieth Jones “is the path of untreated alcoholism”(Jones). The effects of addiction may be bad and so may be the symptoms of it. But there is a way out of it. Through treatments, behavioral or medications. There is a way out of alcoholism.

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