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Alcoholism represents several ways in which alcohol has a negative impact on an individual’s life. Normal Development and Epidemiology of Alcohol Abuse III. Excessive drinking is also closely linked to violence, crime, injuries, and a plethora of chronic diseases.Some alcohol problems are severe and involve substantial consumption of alcohol, which results in multiple physical and psychosocial problems. The relationship of alcohol to health can thus be understood as a continuum.
In the extreme, alcohol can produce a withdrawal syndrome stronger and considerably more life-threatening than that associated with heroin addiction.
Other features of alcohol dependence include drinking more or for a longer time than intended, failed attempts to reduce or stop drinking, and foregoing other important activities in favor of drinking.
Heavy drinking is closely linked to a wide range of health problems, at least doubling the risk for heart disease, cancers of many types, and hypertension.
Risks for liver disease and for cancers of the mouth and gastrointestinal system are greatly increased by drinking above moderate levels.
Other alcohol problems are less severe—an individual experiences some negative consequences as a result of his or her drinking, but these difficulties have not impacted the individual’s overall functioning. At one end of the continuum are abstainers, those who do not drink alcohol at all, who constitute more than one-third of adults in the United States.
Alcohol is involved in about half of all traffic fatalities, and a substantial proportion of fatal falls, drownings, deaths by fire, homicides, and suicides.This can and does result in errors of perception regarding one’s ability or (lack of) impairment, and in decisions and judgments that themselves lead to risky consequences.Chronic risk, on the other hand, has to do with the long-term effects of drinking.Acute risk has to do with the immediate effects of intoxication.Even low levels of alcohol in the bloodstream, for example, can significantly impair driving ability.What is the normal course of human development with regard to alcohol?The answer to this question is quite specific to culture.Next are moderate problem-free (“normal”) drinkers. The average consumption for this large group is about three or four drinks per week.They fall largely within the limits for safe drinking recommended by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: not more than two drinks per day for men, and not more than one drink per day for women, with some alcohol- free days each week. Conclusion In order to understand the problematic use of alcohol, it is helpful first to consider what constitutes a state of health with regard to its use.Such people obviously have no negative consequences related to their own drinking.