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History of Alcohol

Alcohol traces back to 7000 to 6600 B.C in Northern China. Traces of brewing were found in pottery. The Sumerians, around 2000BC and 3000 BC, made beer. Beer was also a staple of the Egyptian diet. Ancient Greece was also one of the earliest places to begin to make wine. In conclusion, alcohol has been around for ages. In the United States, the colonists started making their own beer around 1630. During the civil war, alcohol was first used medically as a numbing agent. From 1920–33, the Volstead Act was initiated to ban the purchase of alcohol during the prohibition era. People turned to drinking in secret. In 1933, the prohibition was ended [1] and alcohol was back to being sold regularly.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is when a person's body has adjusted to an increased intake of alcohol. In return, the body becomes dependent on alcohol. This may make it harder to do things, including small and easy tasks [2]. Alcohol has quite a few nicknames such as hooch, firewater, spirit, moonshine, and bubbly. Although, there are numerous more nicknames for alcohol [3].

Signs of Alcohol Addiction

There may be physical signs involved with alcohol addiction such as heart disease, liver disease, intestinal issues, or being excessively tired. Other signs include being unwilling to stop drinking, using alcohol as an aid to get through hard times or relieve stress, and changes in mood or behavior [4].

Signs of Developing Alcoholism

As the body adjusts to the alcohol intake, it increases your tolerance and you must drink more in order to experience the effects. The second sign is when it is hard to go without drinking for even short periods of time, as your body will go into withdrawal [4].

Alcohol's long-term side effects

Long-term effects include liver disease, cirrhosis, and increased risk of multiple cancers. Including, but not limited to, cancer of the mouth, breast, liver, esophagus, pharynx, and larynx. Liver disease due to alcohol was also the cause of 1/3rd of liver transplants in 2009 [4]. You can also develop heart problems, alcoholic hepatitis, liver fibrosis, pancreatitis, and increased chances of tuberculosis or pneumonia [4].

Driving while under the Influence

Alcohol is the cause of many driving-related deaths. In 2004 alone, alcohol accounted for 31% of fatalities from accidents caused by people driving under the influence. There was a total of 9,967 deaths [4].

Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal can cause hallucinations, heart palpitations, tremors, flu symptoms, migraines, and the inability to sleep [4].

Disease and Death due to alcohol consumption

In 2009, liver disease due to alcohol was the cause of one-third of liver transplants [4]. In 2012, alcohol consumption was linked to 3.3 million deaths. That was 5.9% of the total deaths worldwide [4]. In 2013, 47.9% of cirrhosis-related deaths were linked to alcohol [4]. In 2018 there were 83,517 deaths from liver disease among people 12 or older. Out of those 83,517 deaths, 47.8 percent of deaths involved alcohol usage [4]. Alcohol-related deaths are considered preventable deaths and it is the 3rd leading cause of preventable deaths. About 88,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths each year [4].

Driving while under the Influence

Alcohol is the cause of many driving-related deaths. in 2004 alone, alcohol accounted for 31% of fatalities from accidents caused by people driving under the influence. There was a total of 9,967 deaths [4].

How Alcohol Affects Growth and Adolescents

A study showed that there was a higher level of enzymes that usually indicate liver disorders, in teens with an alcohol history There were also higher levels shown in obese teenagers who only drank moderately [5].

Alcohol can cause decreased estrogen levels in adolescent girls. It can also lower luteinizing hormones and testosterone hormones in adolescent males. In adolescent males only, bone density can also be affected. Young men who drink often can experience lower bone density compared to other male adolescents. Drinking can also affect the brain. Alcoholism was associated with decreased hippocampal volumes in adolescents who abused alcohol. Abnormalities in the grey matter in the brain can also be found in adolescents who have a history of drinking [5].

Causes of Addiction

Genetics is a leading factor in whether you will get addicted to alcohol. Genetics account for 40% to 60% of a person's risk of getting addicted to alcohol [6].

Environmental factors may also affect a person's chances of becoming addicted to alcohol. Peer pressure to drink from peers may make a person turn towards alcoholism. A chaotic home may also turn people towards drinking. Watching parents excessively drink may also lead people to become alcoholics as well, as it changes their views on alcoholism. In the US, over 10% of children live in a home with an alcohol-addicted parent [6].

Alcoholism Treatments

Intervention meetings are a way to provide support to people with alcoholism. Usually, these meetings happen as the problem is beginning, not when the alcoholism has already taken root. The meetings motivate in order to continue on a treatment path. The best meetings involve family members, who get to explain how excessive alcohol drinking is affecting them. This also allows the family members to express their concerns to a medical professional, who can also help convince the individual to seek help [7].

The way that alcoholism is treated depends on the person. In the past, alcoholics would have to stay in the hospital for a designated amount of time. Now it depends on how ‘at risk’ a person is. A person with a higher risk may have to undergo an inpatient program. These are usually held at psychiatric hospitals but may also be held at regular hospitals. High-risk individuals include individuals who have a harder time handling withdrawal or have failed at rehab in the past and may need additional help [7]. If a person comes from a family with a history of alcoholism, inpatient may be the best option.

Low-risk patients may only have to go to an outpatient program, which is usually a couple of hours on certain days. They may live at home normally. Detoxification and medication are essential parts of getting better, along with group support programs [7]. Some states even provide housing to people with alcohol addiction where they will be away from alcohol and staff can remind them of upcoming rehabilitation appointments [7].

Spirituality for Recovery

A majority of substance recovery programs, 73%, provide a faith-based aspect. For people who do believe in religion, faith-based programs can provide extra support, encouragement, and a feeling of belonging while in recovery [8].


1. The History of Alcohol Throughout The World [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2020Feb25]. Available from:

2. Alcohol Facts and Statistics [Internet]. National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; Feb, 2020. Available from:

3. Thomas S, Lautieri A. Slang Terms for Alcohol & Getting or Being Drunk [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2020Feb24]. Available from:

4. Stevens A. UNDERSTANDING ADDICTION TO ALCOHOL. [cited 2020Feb24]; Available from:

5. The Effects of Alcohol on Physiological Processes and Biological Development [Internet]. The Effects of Alcohol on Physiological Processes and Biological Development National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; Available from:

6.Thomas S. alcohol and drug abuse. [cited 2020Feb24]; Available from:

7. of Alcoholism Treatment Programs. [cited 2020Feb24]; Available from:

8. Grim BJ, Grim ME. Belief, Behavior, and Belonging: How Faith is Indispensable in Preventing and Recovering from Substance Abuse. Journal of Religion and Health. 2019Jul29;58(5):1713–50.

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