Alcohol was first brought to America by Christopher Columbus on his voyage to the New
World and it was sherry. Since then, alcohol such as beer, wine, etc. have been one of the most popular drinks in America. There is a fun fact that although there wasn't any cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin pie to eat at the very first Thanksgiving, there was beer, brandy, gin, and wine to drink. And for most of its history America has been one of the world’s drunkest countries. Daniel Okrent, a well-known American editor and writer, says “Figuring per capita, multiply the amount Americans drink today by three and you'll have an idea what much of the nineteenth century was like.” So how does someone become an alcoholic?
This has to do with a combination of genetic, physiological, psychological and social factors. Research have discovered that children of alcoholics are four times more likely to become alcoholics themselves. Children of alcoholic parents are raised in the environment where drinking is okay and they tend to pick up the drinking habit from their parents. According to drinlaware.co.uk, on the physiological side, alcohol alters the balance of chemicals in the brain which brings people the feeling of joy and pleasure and avoid negative feelings. As the result of that, people who are suffering with stress, depression or low self-esteem are more likely to become alcoholics. According to the American Psychological Association (apa.org), most Americans are suffering from moderate to high stress, with forty-four percent reporting that their stress levels have increased over the past five years. Living in such a stressful society as America, where lots of people are struggling to find a decent life, a well-paid job, chance of people being addicted to alcohol is definitely going up.
Alcohol is a substance that is not to be taken lightly. Its effects can be very harmful if you are not careful. It was created to enhance social gatherings. Having just a few drinks each day is not alcoholism. However, when one begins binge drinking or heavy drinking often, this is a good sign that alcohol abuse is affecting the person. Several million people engage in dangerous drinking patterns. According to Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (cdc.gov) fifty three percent of all Americans say that alcoholism has affected one or more of their close relatives.
According to study results released by a British medical journal, alcohol ranks one of the most harmful drugs out twenty type of drugs followed by crack and heroin for its potential harm to the individual consuming and harm to others. Alcohol score seventy-two out of a hundred on the new scale to evaluate harms to individual users and others. Alcohol uses 16 criteria and nine of them related to the detrimental effects the drug has on an individual and seven on its harm against others. Alcohol is as three times harmful as crack cocaine and heroin.
How alcohol affects the brain is like how crack or heroin or any different type of drugs does. The process of being addicted to alcohol happens slowly over time although some people have an abnormal response to alcohol from the time they start drinking. Over time, drinking too much may change the normal balance of chemicals and nerve tracks in your brain associated with the experience of pleasure, judgment and the ability to exercise control over your behavior.
Alcoholism is not only a serious problem to the society, it also has