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Alcohol

Essay by   •  March 7, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  3,157 Words (13 Pages)  •  1,155 Views

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According to Lang nine out of ten high school seniors have used alcohol, one out of twenty use it daily, and one out of three will get drunk during any given weekend (back cover). Teenage drinking is a very serious problem that is growing by the day in our country. I want to know what kids who drink are getting themselves in to when they decide to start in high school or junior high. What types of health and psychological problems will they be facing? What are the chances that they will become addicted to alcohol, or to some other drug, for life? My father is an alcoholic and has been so for most, if not all, of his life. He began drinking at about the age of twelve, while an altar boy for his church/school often drinking the wine and beer remaining from past festivals. My father's drinking has had a major effect on my life, since he spent lots of money drinking and would then come home and fight with my mother. Alcohol has long-term effects on a person and to their family that one should know about before anyone begins drinking. The bulk of my research consisted of the five books and five Internet sites along with personal experiences. My primary resource in my search was the web site run by the Brown University Research Center and The Addiction Research Foundation. After that came the entries in the Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs, titled "Alcohol: Teenage Drinking," by Alan R. Lang. I also gather information from Getting Tough on Gateway Drugs, by Robert L. DuPont, Jr.; Teenagers & Alcohol, by Roger E. Vogler and Wayne R. Bartz; Alcohol: Use and Abuse in America, by Jack H. Mendelson, and Nancy K. Mello; and Alcohol: Uses and Abuses, by Margaret O. Hyde. The best source I found, as far as statistics went, was the web site Alcohol and Addiction Studies. All five books that I read pertaining to this paper consisted of the same information. Some of them had more information that the others did not; for example, Getting tough on Gateway Drugs centers on alcohol as a first step in the addiction process for most children who become alcoholics (Dupont). They all helped me answer my important questions and agreed on the information they gave. I started out my search at the local library, looked through some books about alcohol, and found several ranging from its uses and abuses to teenage drinking. I did not bother looking in the encyclopedia because I figured that the people who wrote these books had already done it for me. The first book I looked through was by Alan R. Lang (February 29, 2000); I skimmed through the table of contents of the book and saw that it had a section devoted to the short term as well as the long-term effects of alcohol. So, in order to get a better understanding of this issue I turned to the specified page and found that the effect of alcohol is directly related to ones BAC, or blood alcohol concentration (Lang 39). This is what makes different kinds of people engage in a wide array of behaviors, such as when two people drink the same amount of alcohol but the person who has more body mass does not feel the effects of the alcohol. The other person, who has less body mass will get Ð''drunk" faster and is said to have less of a "tolerance for alcohol". In Volger's Teenagers and Alcohol, I found an excellent table outlining the effects of alcohol in relation to the BA level of the consumer. At a BA level of 75 the subject is at a stage where he/she begins to have a "buzz." During this time coordination is poor; at 150 the person is drunk and shouldn't be allowed to walk, much less drive (Volger 24). This information is good to know, but it still was not answering my question. What happens to a person that makes them need this drug? Margaret O. Hyde believes that teenagers may become alcoholics in order to "defy their overprotective parents or to prove themselves to their cool friends who are doing it" (42). Many of these alcoholics will become anti-social alcoholics, the ones who like to fight and argue when they are drunk. In a study published by the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, researchers found that this type of alcoholism is on the rise for both men and women alike (Alcoholism). In much of my research, I found that genetics often plays a factor in one's path to becoming an alcoholic-That usually when a persons family background shows a history of alcohol abuse that that person has an increased chance of becoming a user. In my case, with much of my family using it, this was not the case. In fact, having a father and other family members to look at and analyze during their alcoholic escapades, drove me from even trying it until I was about sixteen and luckily I really did not like it so I guess I broke the cycle of abuse. But I hope that my offspring does not begin a new cycle after not having to see the effects of it. Nevertheless, what are the effects of it? The real, long-term effects of drinking. Chronic use of alcohol can cause a person to acquire a sense of immunity to the effects of the drug, requiring the users to consume more of it in order to get the "high" they are looking for when they drink (Lang 57). This increase in tolerance occurs because the body has adapted to the alcohol in it and is able to digest it faster, delaying the effects since it is not in the stomach long enough to run into the blood stream. Adapted drinkers, as a result, drink more. This causes deterioration in the liver, brain, muscle, stomach, nervous system, and other organs due to the "lose of vitamins that the alcohol robs from them" (Lang 60). Constantly having alcohol in it, the body starts to become physically dependent when there no longer is any alcohol in it, the user starts to "shake, sweat, vomit, and/or has an overall irritation about them sometime after ceasing to drink" (Lang 59). In addition, the use of alcohol on a regular basis is also a cause of Coronary Heart Disease, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (Alcohol and Coronary Heart Disease). When looking through the books I chose, I noticed that some of them also included information on how to keep teenagers off alcohol and, if they are already using it, how to help them get off it. In Teenagers & Alcohol, Volger & Bartz instill that teaching children while they are still pre-teens is best because this age is when they begin to develop their morals and ideas about what alcohol is. They stress that the parent must first clarify their stand on alcohol and whether it is a somewhat acceptable pastime for their child to be around. Then they should be prepared to answer common questions and to answer them in an honest and simple manner, since the child often know more or less the reason for others actions and can loose trust in the parent (Volger & Bartz 116). In 1994 a study was performed with adults over the age of eighteen,

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