When people hear the word "drug," they usually think of an illegal substance such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or any other drug that can be found on the street. Most people never consider the fact that consuming alcohol can be just as harmful as illegal drugs, not only on the body, but on the mind and spirit as well (#1). If constantly abused, alcohol can be even worse for one than taking illegal drugs (#5) Irresponsible drinking can destroy a person's life as well as the lives of those around them. When people become both physically and psychologically addicted to alcohol, they become an alcoholic and suffer from a disease called alcoholism. One denotation of this term is "a diseased condition of the system, brought about by the continued use of alcoholic liquors" (Webster's Dictionary, 37). Another definition of this term, given to me by my English professor, Janet Gould who is in fact, a recovering alcoholic, is that alcoholism is a mental dependence and a physical allergy (#3). Alcoholism somehow affects us all through a parent, sibling, friend, or even personal encounters with a stranger. In fact "alcoholics may become angry and argumentative, quiet and withdrawn, or depressed. They may also feel more anxious, sad, tense, and confused. They then seek relief by drinking more" (Gitlow 175). Alcohol and Alcoholism is a big part in our society, which should be recognized and dealt with. .
In addition "about 7%" of all adults who consume alcohol in the United States today are considered alcoholics, or have suffered from some sort of drinking problem in their lives (Secretary of health viii). "Although there is no indication of how the alcoholism of families members is linked . [through genetics], studies show that about 50 to 80 percent of all alcoholics have had a close relative that was an alcoholic" (Caplan 266). Many times alcoholism starts during a person's high school and college years; however some teenagers and young adults frequently abuse alcohol and never think about the physical, mental, and emotional toll that alcohol can have on a person's life (#3).