The Effects of AlcoholismAlcoholism touches all who come into contact with the alcohol dependent
Too often when discussing alcohol dependence, we focus only on the physical effects of alcoholism and the impact these have on health.
Alcoholism has wide ranging effects that touch not only the alcoholic but all those around him or her.
Alcoholism and its Effects on Children
Alcoholism and its effects damage not only the drinker, but also family members and in particular, children.
Family members are usually the first to detect the drinking problem and try to find ways to solve it, but sadly, help for them is less forthcoming. Yet, there is help in the shape of Al-anon.
Alcoholism is responsible for more family problems than any other single cause. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse, one in four children is exposed to family alcohol abuse or alcoholism.
Bridget F. Grant, Ph.D. claims:
"Children of alcoholics may be neglected or abused and frequently face economic hardship and social isolation. They also are vulnerable to psychopathology and medical problems, including an increased risk for themselves developing alcohol abuse or alcohol alcoholism."
The effects of alcoholism on children may lead them to suffer from low self-esteem, loneliness, guilt, feelings of helplessness, fears of abandonment, and chronic depression (Berger, 1993).
In some cases the children feel responsible for the alcohol problems of their parents and may think they created the problem. A United States government survey shows that 30 percent of young women who didn’t complete high school had grown up in families with alcoholic parents (Berger, 1993, p.75).
Social Effects of Alcoholism On Marriage
Being married to an alcoholic can feel like a never-ending struggle.
The spouse may have feelings of hatred, self-pity, avoidance of social contacts, suffer exhaustion and become physically or mentally ill.
Very often the spouse has to perform the roles of both parents. As a result, the non-alcoholic parent may be inconsistent, demanding, and often neglect the children.
Having financial difficulties is another issue that families of alcoholics have to deal with.
Today, experts who study alcoholic families know that marital problems often start because of alcoholism, but they also learned that spouses may contribute to the drinker’s habit and make it worse.
Some alcoholic's spouses allow the heavy drinking to continue rather than deal with alcoholism. Letting the alcoholic drink is easier than confronting the reality of the situation. Alcoholism denial is commonly used by the drinker's spouse to rationalize the drinker’s alcohol dependency.
Alcohol abuse has probably ended more marriages and broken up more families than we will ever know.
On the other hand, there are thousands of stories about how people who thought there was no hope for their marriage, have found a way out to a successful and happy life.
The Physical Effects of Alcoholism Short-term
The short-term effects of alcoholism on the human body can take many forms and are largely governed by the amount and circumstances of consumption.
However, tolerance varies considerably between individuals, as does individual response to the amount drunk, thus the effects of alcohol are very different between people.
The First Effects to Appear (usually after 1-2 drinks) Are:
Feelings of relaxation and cheerfulness.
Increased self-confidence and courage.
Shortened attention span.
Impaired fine muscle coordination.
As The Alcoholic Continues to Drink More (reaching BAC level of 0.25 to 0.4 percent) He May Suffer From:
Impaired memory and comprehension.
In Cases of Heavy Drinking (more than 4 drinks, BAC level over 0.3 percent):
Dizziness often associated with nausea.
Lapses in and out of consciousness.
Decreased heart rate.
Physical Effects Of Alcoholism Long Term
The long term effects of alcoholism range from possible health benefits for low levels of alcohol consumption to severe detrimental effects in cases of chronic alcohol abuse.
Russia Excessive alcohol consumption in Russia, particularly by men, has in recent years caused more than half of all deaths in the 15-54 age group.
There were 8,724 alcohol-related deaths in 2007, lower than 2006, but more than double the 4,144 recorded in 1991. The alcohol-related death rate was 13.3 per 100,000 population in 2007, compared with 6.9 per 100,000 population in 1991.
From 2001–2005, there were approximately 79,000 deaths annually attributable to excessive alcohol use. In fact, excessive alcohol use is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the United States each year.
Other Known Long-Term Effects of Heavy Drinking Are:
Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)