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A Speech.

898 words - 4 pages

SpeechCan anyone tell me what an alcoholic is? When does a person become an alcoholic? I'm sure you are all aware of the damaging effects smoking. Why do you think you are aware of these risks? Does any of us really understand the full effects of long-term excessive alcohol consumption?A recent study on the difference between heavy drinking and alcoholism has suggested that alcoholics are more common than we currently believe. The stereotypical image of what an alcoholic looks like, as reflected by common media suggestions could be misleading. Here's a test for you. Pick the alcoholic, you have 15 seconds. (test)Believe it or not, any one of these people could be an alcoholic. Alcoholism is a chronic progressive disease, which causes a person to lose control over his/her drinking. An alcoholic is commonly believed to be a person who has lost control over their drinking and who is now in personal and social trouble as a result of this. However, it is now thought to be probable that a person who drinks heavily but who isn't in trouble yet, will ultimately have a drinking problem. How long it takes for it to catch up with them depends upon who they are and what their personal tolerance levels are.CauseNo one really knows what causes alcoholism. But experts do agree that the disease's development is influenced by many aspects such as: hereditary; and social, psychological and environmental factors. Today many believe that the most harmful effects of alcohol abuse seen in alcoholics are caused by a build up of a toxic metabolic by-product of alcohol called acetaldehyde. It is thought that this substance may interact with the brain chemicals to create a physiological need for an alcoholic to continue drinking. It may also cause cell damage to other vital organs which is common in alcoholics. Most Australians are ill-informed about the long-term damaging effects that excess alcohol consumption has on the body.Alcoholics can suffer form sugar diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, blockage of major arteries, short term memory loss and other types of brain damage. But in the end it effects the whole body and it is believed that it can shorten life by up to 15 years.Curiously, a strong tolerance for alcohol may predict the development of alcoholism later in life. Young people who are encouraged to "drink their mates under the table" may have a higher risk of becoming alcoholic than would their peers who cannot and or choose not to drink to excess. One theory is that young people with a high, early tolerance to alcohol have a neurochemical deficiency, that allows them to drink more alcohol before they begin to feel its intoxicating effects. This...

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