The Social Effects of Alcoholism

Posted on March 28th, 2012

Alcohol is the term we use for ethanol, the substance suitable for humans to drink. Another form of alcohol is methanol and it is toxic to humans. Alcohol is the result of combining food substances like grapes or barley with sugar and yeast and allowing them to ferment. People around the globe consume alcohol in various forms and within various cultural settings. But although alcohol is used the world over, it is also commonly misused or abused. Whenever and wherever it occurs, the abuse of alcohol has deleterious effects on the abuser, those close to him/her and to the wider society.

Alcohol Abuse Hurts the Family

Although most people abuse alcohol because it makes them feel better about themselves, the truth is that over-use of alcohol tends to negatively impact the abuser’s personality. Increased irritability, poor judgment and reasoning are just a couple of ways that alcohol damages the human personality and relationships by extension. One study suggested that abuse of alcohol is behind as much as 40 percent of instances of serious domestic violence. Alcoholism is attributable to verbal and physical abuse of the spouse and the children and carries a great responsibility for the break up of marriages. Children living in the home with an alcoholic have lower grades, higher rates of depression and frequently feel socially isolated.

The Common Presence of Psychological Harm Which Accompanies Alcoholism

When alcohol is abused over a period of time, the risk of psychological damage to the drinker increases. Study after study points to the link between alcohol abuse and psychological disorders such as anxiety disorder and depression. People may initially over-drink in order to overcome their low feelings of depression, but in fact, the more they drink, the more depressed they become. Alcohol does not counteract depression, instead it exacerbates the problem. This connection probably explains why 15-70 percent of those who misuse alcohol are also sufferers of depression.

Other people use alcohol as a tool to help them relax and deal with stressful social situations. Maybe they use alcohol in order to feel better in tense family settings or to help them overcome social phobias when they need to attend social functions related to work or dating. As with depression, the number of people who are alcoholic and who live with social phobias is remarkably high. Sadly, people who abuse alcohol, often behave in ways that cause others to withdraw from them society. Pretty soon, only others who abuse alcohol are within the social circle.

Alcohol Abuse Hurts Society at Large

The damaging effects of alcohol abuse are not limited to the person and those living closest to them. Alcohol abuse is linked to many social ills which affect people otherwise unconnected to the drinker. There is a clear connection between alcohol abuse and higher rates of workplace absenteeism. Abuse of alcohol is also linked to higher rates of violent crime in neighborhoods. Because alcohol impairs good judgment, it is often connected to risky sexual activity. Finally, alcohol is involved in a majority of automobile accidents.

Alcohol, or ethanol, may not be as toxic as methanol to the human body, but it is still damaging to everyone intimately or remotely connected to the one who abuses it.

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