Alcohol has been around for centuries and has taken on many different forms and varieties throughout that timeframe. Currently, it is one of the most readily available drugs, and is one of the most commonly abused. Today, the most popular and frequently abused types of alcohol are beer, wine and liquor. Alcohol abuse, or alcoholism, has also been a problem for hundreds of years. Alcoholism is defined by an individual’s increased tolerance of and physical dependence on alcohol. When an individual is suffering from alcoholism, their ability to physically stop drinking as well as their ability to determine a safe consumption level is affected. Alcoholism negatively affects an individual’s physical, mental, and social health. Physically, alcohol abuse is detrimental to liver function and can eventually stop the vital organ from working all together. Alcohol abuse leads to mental health problems such as psychiatric disorders, depression, increased risk of suicide tendencies, and permanent brain damage. Socially, alcoholism significantly impairs social skills because of the neurotoxic effects on the brain, specifically in the prefrontal cortex. In short, the long term use and abuse of alcohol can have devastating and possibly deadly consequences.
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