Alcohol History

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is the preoccupation with and physical dependence on alcohol stemming from prolonged abuse. Alcohol abuse has been one of the nation's leading substance abuse problems for years, as its inherently legal nature and status as a social norm make it hard to properly regulate. Unfortunately, the history of alcoholism dates back as far as alcohol itself - in other words, as long as man has been drinking, he's been drinking too much. As time went on, institutional awareness and education provided increasing insight as to the dangers of improper alcohol consumption, but this has done little to really solve the problem. In the present day, alcoholism is commonly responsible for automotive fatalities, the destruction of personal relationships, physical and mental illness, legal problems and incarceration, public health risks and so on. Even as recently as three decades ago, researchers had little idea how alcohol affected the central nervous system (CNS), and it was believed that alcoholism only affected the middle-aged. Only one drug - Disulifram - was approved for the treatment of alcoholism; behavioral therapy and group counseling were the prevailing methods of treatment.

Determining Vulnerability

Throughout the study of the chemical makeup of alcoholism, there have been numerous clinical and institutional theories regarding what individuals are more at risk. Determining and identifying risk factors such as family history, genetic predisposition and social life are important early on. Awareness and education regarding alcoholism history in one's family can mitigate their vulnerability. Individuals process alcohol in different ways. Some exhibit symptoms of addiction after just a few months, whereas others can take years. Both scenarios are incredibly dangerous in their own ways.

Long and Short-Term Effects

In addition to significant liver, brain, and heart damage, alcoholism also impairs judgment and severely diminishes the ability to make sound decisions. The level of one’s alcoholism is best indicated by their withdrawal period, the severity of which escalates the longer their abuse goes untreated. The history of alcoholism has had many casualties from a number of direct and peripheral causes stemming from problem drinking. Long-term psychological effects of alcoholism include paranoia, hallucinations, impaired judgment, depression, anxiety and much more. In the past few years, alcohol has resulted in around 2.5 million deaths per year - almost 4% of the annual total of deaths worldwide!

Public Ramifications

Alcohol can harm anyone even tangentially involved with its abuse, resulting in car crashes, fires, fistfights, robberies and miscellaneous other crimes – in some cases, even manslaughter or murder. University culture is a major incubator for alcoholism, as drinking alcohol has become a centerpiece of most forms of college socialization, especially among sororities and fraternities. Other crimes as a result of alcoholism include assaults, rape, theft and domestic violence. Almost 40 percent of patients at hospitals in urban areas are admitted due to conditions caused or aggravated by alcohol abuse.

Progress and Results of Research

Thanks to the past few decades’ worth of research into alcohol’s effects on the mind and body, there are now a multitude of effective clinical and alternative therapies for alcoholism. Researchers have developed a better understanding of how alcohol affects the brain, and have used that information to develop more effective treatment methodologies. Treatment for alcoholism can now be tailored to each individual patient's needs.

Contact the National Alcoholism Center anytime toll-free at (888) 515-7704 or through our online form for our recommendations of the best alcohol treatment centers for you or your loved one!

Alcoholism treatment should never be attempted in your home or without medical supervision at a professional licensed treatment facility.