Alcohol is a liquid distilled product of fermented fruits, grains and vegetables used as a solvent, antiseptic and sedative for potential abuse (Webster's New Word Dictionary). Many people drink for the effects of sensory alteration and anxiety reduction. Drinking too much of this substance can cause staggering, loss of coordination, slurred speech, nerve damage, liver damage, and dilated pupils. An alcoholic has problems admitting that alcoholism is a disease, and that they are addicted to this substance.
Alcoholism has been called the most serious drug problem in terms of the number of victims and costs to society. Alcohol is a depressant that will release feelings of guilt, anxiety and remorse if taken in heavy quantities. It will impair your motor skills by slowing your alertness and awareness, which leads to many accidents. Recent studies have shown that 50 to 80% of all alcoholics have close relatives that are alcoholics as well. In 1990 scientists found what they believe to be responsible for the inheritance of alcoholism in family lines. The defective gene is located on chromosome 11 and is called Dopamine. Dopamine is a receptor located in the brain. People with fewer Dopamine receptors are very likely to develop alcoholism. This helps to develop the theory that alcoholism is not a disease of choice, as believed by many. An estimated ten million Americans suffer from this horrible disease. There are many signs that may lead to the development of an alcoholic. Most alcoholics feel the need to take a drink just as a smoker has a craving for cigarettes. In the later stages, people have been known to suffer from frequent blackouts, which have led to many accidents. It is estimated that there are three million alcoholics between the ages of fourteen and seventeen today. Drinking does not only affect the alcoholic, it affects the family and society as well. An estimated forty billion dollars is spent annually due to medical care, car accidents, and alcohol related crimes.