Alcoholism - Pros And Cons Term Paper

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The following essay will introduce you to pros and cons of

drinking. It will also give you a clear understanding in why you

shouldn't drink alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant; it impairs your

ability to drive, slows down your reaction time and causes you to

make some risky decisions that you wouldn't normally take. This

essay will also help you comprehend how and why things

happen, because of alcohol.

Alcoholism can kill in many different ways, and in general, people

who drink regularly have a higher rate of deaths from injury,

violence, and some cancers. The earlier a person begins drinking

heavily, the greater their chance of developing serious illnesses

later on. Any protection that occurs with moderate alcohol intake

appears to be confined to adults over 60 who have risks for heart

disease. Adults who drink moderately (about one drink a day)

have a lower mortality rate than their non-drinking peers, their

risk for untimely death increases with heavier drinking.

Alcohol may not cause cancer, but it probably does increase the

carcinogenic effects of other substances, such as cigarette smoke.

Daily drinking increases the risk for lung, gastric, pancreatic,

colorectal, urinary tract, liver, brain cancers, and leukemia. About

75% of cancers of the esophagus and 50% of cancers of the

mouth, and throat are attributed to alcoholism. (Wine appears to

pose less danger for these cancers than beer or hard liquor.)

Smoking combined with drinking enhances risks for most of these

cancers dramatically. When women consume as little as one

drink a day, they may increase their chances of breast cancer by

as much as 30%.

In the liver, alcohol converts to an even more toxic substance,

which can cause substantial damage. Not eating when drinking

and consuming a variety of alcoholic beverages are also factors

that increase the risk for liver damage. People with alcoholism are

also at higher risk for hepatitis B and C, potentially chronic liver

diseases than can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. People with

alcoholism should be immunized against hepatitis B; they may

need a higher-than-normal dose of the vaccine for it to be


Alcohol has widespread effects on the brain. The use of alcohol,

however, eventually produces depression and confusion. In

chronic cases, alcoholism can lead to mental disturbances.

Alcohol can also cause milder problems, including headaches

(especially after drinking red wine). Except in severe cases, the

damage is not permanent and abstinence nearly always leads to

recovery of normal mental function. Alcohol may increase the risk

for hemorrhage stroke (caused by bleeding in the brain), although

it may protect against stroke caused by narrowed arteries.

Alcohol plays a major role in more than half of all automobile

accidents. Alcohol also increases the risk of accidental injuries

from many other causes. Drinking and driving is dangerous to

yourself and others around you. The penalty for drinking and

driving is Driving Under the Influence (DUI). If your Blood

Alcohol Content (BAC) registers over .08, you are Driving

Under the Influence. After having one drink it takes

approximately one hour for your body to burn off the alcohol.

You can't depend on yourself to be able to drive after an hour,

because everyone processes alcohol differently and you might

even feel the effects long after you've been drinking. Your BAC

is based on your body weight, how much you have had to drink,

the amount of food you may have eaten before drinking, the

length of time over which you have had alcohol, and the speed at

which your own body processes alcohol (once again, everyone is

different). There is no way to make your body burn alcohol

faster; eating, drinking coffee, exercising, or taking a cold shower

may make you feel better, but they have no effect on your rate

that alcohol is processed.

Alcohol can also create hormonal effects. Alcoholism increases

the levels of the female hormone estrogen and reduces the levels

of the male hormone testosterone, factors that contribute to

impotence in men. I placed this statement here, because I

personally believe that men, such as myself, should be aware on

how alcohol effects a "male's ability to perform".

Domestic violence is a common consequence of alcohol abuse.

For women, the most serious risk factor for injury from domestic

violence may be a history of alcohol abuse in her male partner.

Alcoholism in parents also increases the risk for violent behavior

and abuse toward their children. Children of alcoholics tend to do

worse academically than others, have a higher incidence of

depression, anxiety, and stress and lower self-esteem than their

peers. Children who were diagnosed with major depression

between the ages of six and 12 were more likely to have

alcoholic parents or relatives, than those children who do not

have parents who are alcoholics. Alcoholic households are less

cohesive, have more conflicts, and their members are less

independent and expressive than households with non-alcoholics

or recovering alcoholic parents. In addition to their own inherited

risk for later alcoholism, children of alcoholics have serious

coping problems that may be life long. Alcoholic parents are at

higher risk for divorced and for psychiatric symptoms. The only

events with greater psychological impact on children are sexual

and physical abuse.

During pregnancy and infant development, one must take extreme


Even moderate amounts of alcohol may have damaging effects on

the developing fetus, including low birth weight and an increased

risk for miscarriage. High amounts can cause fetal alcohol

syndrome, which can result in mental and growth retardation.

There is also a higher risk for leukemia in infants of women who

drink any type of alcoholic beverages during pregnancy.

From what you have read, you can see that alcohol has a great

influence on the body. Many people drink alcoholic beverages

and believe that it will not have an affect, but they are wrong!

Alcohol plays a very disturbing role and affects you physically,

mentally and spiritually. Personally, drinking alcoholic beverages

is something that doesn't have to be part of your life. Alcohol is a

want, not a need, and if you live a life without alcohol you will

definitely live a life of happiness. Don't take my word for it… try


Word count: 1,030

Word Count: 1034

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