The production of alcohol for ingestion is a timeless custom which has occurred since biblical times. Whether it be social drinking or for religious purposes various cultures throughout the world have utilized different types of the mild sedative. Alcoholism is a disease which has significant effects on the mind and body. Although a great number of Americans dont even believe that alcoholism is a disease, this disorder has grown from a minute population into epidemic proportions. Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol is the oldest known psychoactive drug. It can cause feelings of well-being, induce sedation, intoxication and unconsciousness. (Foster, Foster 10). At one point in Americas history Ethyl Alcohol was illegal. U.S. government officials saw Ethyl Alcohol as a direct threat to the well being and health of its users. Furthermore, in 1915 historian William Walker estimated there were 200,000 to 275,000 alcoholics in the United States alone. Legislatures saw alcohol abusers increasing in population. In addition the Roaring Twenties reflected a social rebellion against the conservative tradition…. ( Fitzgerald) In light of this rebellion, congress in 1920 ratified the eighteenth amendment and prohibited the production and retailing of Ethanol. In spite of the legalities of producing alcohol, a number of people still contrived it in underground safehouses. The good intentioned ideals of he Prohibition Era led to several ill effects including unbearable hypocrisy within the American society, corruption on all levels of government, and an astounding death toll, which was a result of the alarming crime rate. ( Louis 15) All of these things led to the ratification of the twenty – first amendment.
It was once again legal to drink alcohol. It did not take long for the alcohol industry to rebound and become bountiful. In fifty – six short years alcohol sales were the highest in the world, within the United States. ( Foster, Foster 81) Men are now twice as likely to be alcoholics in comparison to females.
Ethanol greatly effects the minds of its abusers. Senses greatly relied on are seriously effected such as vision and touch. The typical alcoholic ranges from typical person who guzzles cheap liquor whenever available(Joseph Fabal)to a prominent businessman with a traditional family. There are steps that all alcoholics progress through. The first stage is uncontrollable drinking. No longer does the alcoholic drink socially, but now he/she drink excessively and is unable to manage their consumption. In the second stage the alcoholic drinks at irregular hours of the day. He/She tries to unsuccessfully cut back ingestion. At this level the attention of family and friends is gained. The second stage is most highlighted by irregular drinking times. Alcoholics at this level now require ethanol to function, and are parsimonious when there is a lack of it. In the third frame of alcoholism Ethyl Alcohol is prioritized in ones life. The abuser spends all of their money on the purchase of Alcohol. He/ She risks their mortgage, family, car payments, and other major responsibilities. The fourth and most chimmerian stage of alcoholism is characterized by a horrific future. Alcohol is no longer enough to sate its user. Now the abuser uses other psychoactive drugs, which are often illegal, such as heroin and cocaine. In a short time our prominent businessman with the Brady Bunch family is now a junky living on the street. He/She is extremely depressed and because of the obsessive drug use they could have and H.I.V.
The mental effects of alcohol abuse are devastating, but even more harmful are the hidden physical effects. Alcohol consumption no matter how minute quantity will have some effect on the human body. However, some people have greater tolerance. This could be due to a number of circumstances. A persons weight is the greatest factor on how alcohol will effect ones body. Someone with who is heavy will be less effected by alcohol than someone who is light, because the heavier person has more blood to dilute substances. A person who drinks on a regular basis is less effected by alcohol, because they have built a tolerance for it. The brain is effected by Ethyl Alcohol no matter what size someone is. One or two drinks affect the outer layer of the brain.(Mathews 4) When a person consumes three or four drinks it effects the layer of the brain by the name of the cerebrum. The cerebrum controls consciousness and reasoning. After the consumption five to seven drinks the medula section of the brain is effected which controls involuntary responses.
For a man who weighs one hundred-sixty pound man it takes two hours to burn off one drink. Another variable which can effect alcohol absorption is food consumption before drinking. When someone drinks a glass of milk, calcium lines the stomach and protects against an upset stomach. Intoxication is the most chief sign of overconsumption of Ethanol. During intoxication people lose some control vision and touch. Even though alcoholism is largely more of a psychological disease there are numerous treatments. Many types of treatments are available, including individual or group psycho-therapy, family therapy and counseling. (Fabal 5) Counseling helps alcoholism, by making the alcoholic realize how drinking had taken control of their life. If the progression of alcoholism is extreme, the alcoholic could be institutionalized. In some cases Institutionalization could be necessary alcohol is a drug dependency is similar to that of illegal drugs.(Fabal) Many cases of alcohol go untreated, because most cases arent even diagnosed. Alcoholism is a disease of many characteristics. It can make its user have feelings of well-being.(Doe) It can destroy many lives. It can effect a person of any age. The truth is we are all vulnerable to the grips of alcohol. We as citizens of the world should take all steps necessary to prevent an epidemic.