Essay - Addicted to death referat

Antonia-Diana Dogaru

Professor Man

English 10A

10 Dec. 2004

Addicted to death

"Drunkenness is temporary suicide: the happiness it brings is merely negative, a momentary cessation of happiness" (Bertrand Russell, "The Conquest of Happiness')

I consider that the abuse in consuming alcohol is one of the biggest problems of the society we live in. Though it is a problem of our every day life and it spreads like a plague, environing us no matter what we do. This black hole in the society is its own product, and with every day that goes by it becomes more and more incontrollable. Living has become a struggle and each one of us find different means to win the contest of life. Not all of us succeed in doing that. The first step is making the difference between the good and the bad choices we have to make in order to thrive. I presume that there are few persons who wonder why some people direct their attention to the bottle. There is more than one answer to this question. The response stands hidden deep within our minds, in the arts of psychology.

We walk pass them each day and we feel either repulsion or pity, but we never think about what exactly makes a drunkard of a sane person. It never occurs to us that one out of ten persons sitting next to us may die because of this very reason. Whether it is an inherited bad habit or simply a means of sedation, drinking is the worst dependency there is. Beggars lying on the cold pavements of the street, asking for money just to get a little more alcohol revolt us, and make us angry, but we don't usually see this situation from the right point of view. People selling everything they have, betraying every little crumb of the humanity they're left with are left lying in misery, having nothing else to face but the same filthy bottle of gin. How can they get out from this horrible situation if they get no help from us, the reasonable people? But only leaves me to wonder: are we not the ones who can distinguish what is right and what is wrong? Yes, we are. That means we are the ones in power to understand what a drunkard has to go trough each day, having the bottle of vodka as his only friend, his only confident. We get scared that we will "catch" some illness of some kind from them, but we should know better. A little research in this domain would automatically make us realize what those poor people are going through.

Since the beginning of all times, man used different substances with the purpose of mutating his own of consciousness, of stimulating or relaxing himself, of inducing sleep or preventing it, of intensifying usual perceptions even of producing hallucinations. The taught of facing the drastic reality each day scares people, and that's what they feel the urge to cut themselves off from all their every-day problems. Some substances have the property of "tricking" people's minds, separating it from reality, taking it away from the real time and space. The substances that affect the behavior and the psychical disposition are called psychoactive. These include not only drugs like "crack", "speed", "marijuana" or "angel dust", but also alcohol. These sedatives, as they are called, sometimes produce a state of tranquility to the user, setting his mind away from concern, making his body float into a dreaming state. It may be pretty hard for the nowadays students to understand the major changes, concerning the behavior models involving the use of drugs, that intervened in the past 40 years. Although in 1950 few people used any form of drugs, we changed into a relatively drug-free society. Many parts contributed to this metamorphose.

Alcohol is some kind sedative, and the most frequently used of them. Sedatives reduce the activity of the central neuronal system. The consuming of alcohol is considered by most of the students to be a part of the social life. That's where they go wrong. Though they are convinced that alcohol does no harm, they are terribly wide of the mark. Sedatives favor sociability, calm tensions, free us from inhibitions, and in all, they generally add to what we tend to call "fun". Even so, the use of alcohol in the social life caused problems. A lot of time is being lost in the disfavor of learning, not to talk of the low performances at exams. The worst of all is that accidents may occur while being under the influence of alcohol, sometimes even fatal. A survey shows that most of the car accidents occurred because of alcohol, involving people between 15 and 24 years. Another survey shows that approximately 2/3 American adults consumed alcohol. At least 10% from them have social, psychological or medical problems as a result from using sedatives. Probably 10% from them are physically addicted to it.

The use of alcohol is widely spread between the youths under 21. Starting at a party, "just for fun", lasting until the victim realizes the strong implications of the use of sedatives, alcohol kills you slowly, but for sure. Drastic measures were taken, concerning this problem. In New Jersey, The Rutgers University made up a rehabilitation program for the youths. The efforts of the universities and colleges were intensified in 1989 beginning with "The Drug Free School and Campuses Act", a law that forbids the use of alcohol and obliges the institutions to have a reconciliation program for the addicted students. But students are not the only ones affected from this sickness of the society. The use of alcohol is forbidden to pregnant women. The mothers who drink much are vulnerable to the alcoholic syndrome of the fetus. The child could be born with a mental retardation and multiple malformations of his face.

The addiction to alcohol is called alcoholism. Alcoholism is one's incapacity of retaining himself from alcohol. Usually, alcoholics "cry for help" before reaching 40. If the problems caused by it persist, it is possible that the life of the person is shortened with 15 years. They think that their last alternative is alcohol, and whenever they are confronted with some problems, they treat them in the most inefficient way. In the attempt to elevate their self esteem they consume more and more alcohol. The intense use of alcohol on a long term leads to physical addiction (one's tolerance of alcohol rises and the consumer has to use more alcohol to get the same pleasure) and the individual suffers great pain while trying to put a stop to the consuming of the substance. The restraining symptoms vary from irritability to intense anxiety and shaking. In some cases, these symptoms include hallucination, confusions and convulsions. This syndrome called delirium tremens(DTs) usually takes place in the case of chronic alcoholics who stopped the use of alcohol after a long period of practiced this unusual "sport".

After all, why do people start drinking? There are many theories supporting the fact that alcoholism occurs in 70% of the cases in families with a low social support, in the lower classes of society. Probably one of the basic factors that influence alcoholism is the low level of education that some of the children of our society get. Even though we are equal in rights and obligations, we do not have the same background and we are not always able to distinguish the good from the bad. That is actually the reason why most of the alcohol consumers are under the legal age of 18. Teenagers tend to be rebels. They don't always listen to adults, trying too many times to go up against the adults. That may be one of the reasons. Another theory sustains that people find a refugee in drinking when they have problems. This situation also occurs in families with problems. As much as people think alcohol is going to solve their problems, the reality is the contrary. Another hypothesis is that alcoholism is a genetically inherited habit. This is terribly wrong, because it is a proven fact that habits are not normally inherited this way.

In all, I guess we finally reached the conclusion that alcohol has no use and no benefits other than in medicine. As Thoreau said in "Walden": "Water is the only drink for a wise man.".

Millions of people died until now because of it, and millions are still going to die. We are the only ones that can make a difference: "All excess is ill, but drunkenness is the worst sort. It spoils health, dismounts the mind, and unmans men. It reveals secrets, is quarrelsome, lascivious, impudent, dangerous and bad." (William Penn).


Rita L.Atkinson, Richard C.Atkinson, Edward E.Smith, "Introduction into psychology", Tehnica, Bucharest, 2002

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