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Teenage Alcoholism

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This research paper is on alcoholism and its affect on teenagers and adults. This piece will fully outline alcohol from its origin, and different types of alcohol, all the way to the treatment of alcohol addiction. Reading this paper will hopefully shed some light on the fact that people with an alcohol addiction do not only hurt and affect themselves, but also make the people around them susceptible to the same fate.

I. Ethyl alcohol (also known as drinking alcohol), is one of the oldest drugs in the world. Five thousand years ago, the people of Mesopotamia drank beer and recorded it on clay tablets. The ancient Egyptians brewed and drank beer also.1 And today, alcohol is probably used in every country in the world.

There are several types of alcohol, but ethyl is the most common and is the only one that can be consumed. Other alcohols include: Methyl, used in antifreeze and

cleaning solutions; Isopropyl, which is used in rubbing alcohol; Ethylene, also used in

antifreeze; and Glycerol, which is used in hand lotions and plastic explosives.2

Alcohol is made through a process called fermentation. Fermentation turns fruit juice into wine and grain mixed with liquid into beer.3 This process is completed by a group of microscopic organisms, mostly made up of yeasts. When the yeast bacteria act on the sugar (glucose) in the fruit juice, they produce alcohol and carbon dioxide.4

Alcohol addiction or alcoholism is a diseased condition resulting from the excessive or persistent use of alcoholic beverages.5 These beverages include: whiskey, wine, wine coolers, beer, liquor, hard cider and many others.

Alcoholism is thought to arise from a combination of a wide range of physiological, psychological, social and genetic factors.6 Consumption of alcohol has greatly increased in the United States, many European countries and countries that were in the former Soviet Union. This is paralleled by growing evidence of increasing numbers of alcohol-related problems in other nations.7

Alcohol has direct toxic as well as sedative affects on the body. Excessive drinking may further complicate theses matters, and often advanced cases require hospitilization.8 Alcohol has a wide effect on the organ system. These include ulcers, inflammation of the pancreas, and cirrhosis of the liver.9 The brain and nervous system

also can be severely damaged, causing blackouts, hallucinations or tremors to occur.10

Studies have also shown that drinking during pregnancy can cause serious damage to the unborn child.

II. Teenage alcoholism is on the rise in the world today, for many different reasons. Some of these main reasons are stress, peer pressure from their friends to drink, belief that drinking will relieve problems that they have in their life, or pressure from alcohol advertisements on television, radio, and in newspapers and magazines.

Sadly, alcohol-related accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers and young adults. Deaths among persons ages 15-24 resulted from automobile accidents involving alcohol use or abuse.11 In 1994, more than half of adolescents involved in alcohol-related accidents were intoxicated.12

Here are some key facts from research on teenagers and alcoholism:

- Teens are more likely to use alcohol or other drugs if their parents or the community they live in tolerate underage drinking or other drug use.

- Teens who do poorly and dislike school are more likely to use alcohol and other drugs.

- Teens are more likely to drink alcohol or use other drugs if they believe their peers are doing so.13

Now, here are some things that parents can do to prevent their teen from drinking or abusing drugs:

- Talk with your teen about the risks involved in using alcohol and other drugs.

- Set a good example. Show your teen that it is possible to have a good time, or relax, without using alcohol or other drugs.

- Stay informed. Find out what you need to know about alcohol and other drugs use and talk about it with your teen.

-Involve your teen in decisions about the rules they are expected to follow and the consequences for violating those rules. Teens are more likely to obey rules if they have a say in them and in the consequences.13

One more thing that is on the rise in the world, is the illegal sale of alcohol to minors. A minor is considered to be anyone under the legal drinking age of 21. The consequences for breaking this law are as follows:

1. the punishment for making alcoholic beverages available to a minor has been increased from a class ''C'' misdemeanor (a fine of $0 to $500) to a class ''B'' misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $2,000, confinement in jail for up to 180 days, or both.


2. the direct sale of alcohol to a minor is a class ''A'' misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $4,000, confinement in jail for one year, or both.14

III. Alcohol does not affect teenagers alone, it also affects adults. Many adults drink for the same reasons as teens. Stress, is among the highest. Other adults are called social drinkers. These types of people use alcohol moderately as a regular part of their social lives. Unfortunately, there are still people among this group of social drinkers, who drink just to get drunk, often to escape painful feelings about themselves and their lives.15

When a person is dependent on alcohol like this, he/she is called an alcoholic. Meaning that he/she needs, or is addicted to alcohol. A person who is becoming alcoholic usually gets drunk more and more often, frequently lapsing into drunken unconsciousness.

The amazing, yet sad thing about most alcoholics is that they continue with home life and work, even though they usually have problems with both. Did you know that an alcoholic's marriage is seven times more likely to end in divorce or separation than those of any other people?17 Alcoholics also succeed in hiding their problem from other, but they often fail to realize that they are alcoholics themselves.

Some experts classify alcoholics into three types: Type I, Type II, and Type III



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