Alcoholism. Causes, Effects and Treatments

Seminar Paper, 2012

22 Pages, Grade: B


Table of Contents









Historically the name dipsomania was coined by German physician C. W. Hufeland in 1819 before it was superseded by alcoholism. (1) The term "alcoholism" was first used in 1849 by the Swedish physician Magnus Huss to describe the systematic adverse effects of alcohol. (2)

Alcohol has a long history of use and misuse throughout recorded history. Biblical, Egyptian and Babylonian sources record the history of abuse and dependence on alcohol. In some ancient cultures alcohol was worshiped and in others its abuse was condemned. Excessive alcohol misuse and drunkenness were recognised as causing social problems.

The various health problems associated with long-term alcohol consumption are generally perceived as detrimental to society, for example, money due to lost labor-hours, medical costs, and secondary treatment costs. Alcohol use is a major contributing factor for head injuries, motor vehicle accidents, violence, and assaults. Beyond money, there are also significant social costs to both the alcoholic and their family and friends. (3) For instance, alcohol consumption by a pregnant woman can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome. Alcoholism is a primary chronic disease characterized by addiction to alcohol.


Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing. It is medically considered a disease, specifically a neurological disorder, and in medicine several other terms are used, specifically "alcohol abuse" and "alcohol dependence," which have more specific definitions. Peoples suffering from alcoholism are often called “alcoholic”. The World Health Organization estimates that there are 140 million people with alcoholism worldwide. (4)

Alcoholism is called a "dual disease" since it includes both mental and physical components. The biological mechanisms that cause alcoholism are not well understood. Social environment, stress, mental health, family history, age, ethnic group, and gender all influence the risk for the condition. Alcohol damages almost every organ in the body, including the brain. The cumulative toxic effects of chronic alcohol abuse can cause both medical and psychiatric problems. (5) Identifying alcoholism is difficult for the individual afflicted because of the social stigma associated with the disease that causes people with alcoholism to avoid diagnosis and treatment for fear of shame or social consequences.


What is alcohol? Alcohol is a general term for any organic compound in which a hydroxyl group (-O H) is bound to a carbon atom, which in turn may be bound to other carbon atoms and further hydrogens. Alcohols other than ethanol (such as propylene glycol and the sugar alcohols) appear in food and beverages.

The concept of this seminar is based on alcohol beverage. Alcohol (also known as ethyl alcohol or ethanol) is the principal product of fermentation. In this process, yeast cells act on the sugar content of fruits and grains to produce alcohol and carbondioxide.

An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits. They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption. In particular, such laws specify the minimum age at which a person may legally buy or drink them. This minimum age varies between 16 and 25 years, depending upon the country and the type of drink. Most nations set it at 18 years of age.

The production and consumption of alcohol occurs in most cultures of the world, from hunter-gatherer peoples to nation-states. Alcoholic beverages are often an important part of social events in these cultures.

Alcohol is a psychoactive drug that has a depressant effect. A high blood alcohol content is usually considered to be legal drunkenness because it reduces attention and slows reaction speed. In some countries such as Sweden public drinking of alcohol are banned and while some Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia , Kuwait, Sudan , Pakistan, Iran, and Libya prohibit production, sale and consumption of alcohol beverages because they are forbidden by Islam. In Denmark, Netherlands, it is generally legal to drink alcoholic beverages in the street.

Types of alcohol beverage

1. Wine
2. Beer
3. Distillation/ spirit

WINE: - Wine is made from the fermented juice of grapes or other fruits, it has a typical alcohol content of 10% to 14% by volume. There are five basic types of wine, which are Red, White, Rose and sparkling or champ ague, containing carbondioxide (all referred to as table wine )and dessert for cocktail (with an alcohol content ranging from 15% to 24%).


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Alcoholism. Causes, Effects and Treatments
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alcoholism, causes, effects, treatments
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Ojo Rotimi (Author), 2012, Alcoholism. Causes, Effects and Treatments, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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