Alcohol addiction has widespread effects

In the United States there are over 14 million people who drink alcohol. There are many consequences when drinking alcohol; alcohol addiction, physical health issues as well as mental health issues, domestic violence, and financial problems.

Alcohol addiction is said to be the worst kind of addiction because it may cause physical dependence, it is legal, affordable and readily available. According to Webster, the definition of addiction is a “compulsive need for use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal.”

Weekly Health Matters graphic: Diagram of a human showing how alcohol consumption can adversely affect the body's major organs.
Photo by Tribune News Service
Weekly Health Matters graphic: Diagram of a human showing how alcohol consumption can adversely affect the body’s major organs.

According to MATC counselors Christine Litwin and Robert Kurth, alcohol abuse affects students and employers at MATC. Kurth said, “Alcohol plays a role in the classrooms sometimes because students or employers can come to school with a hangover, they can still be intoxicated from the night before or they may be drinking during the day and they come to school.” Even though alcohol is only legally purchased by those over the age of 21, according to the National Center on Addiction, almost 80 percent of high school students have tried alcohol. Kurth brought up some additional information relating to alcohol abuse. He said, “Ages 18 through 30 drink more than a typical person. Teens drink to try to fit in with everyone else that drinks.”

Litwin pointed out that there are many health issues associated with alcohol abuse. “Many of the health issues related to alcohol problems are liver problems,” she said. “Alcohol can bring the immune system down like getting a cold or flu, there is a relationship between alcohol and your risk of getting cancer.” It can cause or worsen many medical problems and destroy families.

“Partners that drink together can

be drunk and they can start fighting

and arguing with each other.”

-Robert Kurth

Alcohol can play a big part in domestic abuse cases. “Partners that drink together can be drunk and they can start fighting and arguing with each other,” said Kurth. Alcohol impairs people’s judgment and lowers inhibitions, Litwin added, “If you are drunk you can take your anger out on anyone that is around.”

Alcohol abuse also takes a financial toll on families. Litwin stated, “Money can play a big role because an abuser won’t have money for rent, paying bills, supplying for their children. When they run out of money because they use it on alcohol they have to rely on food pantries to feed their families.”

If you are an alcoholic or know someone that is and are seeking help, go to a professional. You can contact MATC counselors Kurth and Litwin by stopping in room S-203 at the Downtown Milwaukee campus, through email or phone: Kurth at 414-297-6239, [email protected] or Litwin at 414-297-7376, [email protected]

You can also try these options: AA meetings, rehab facilities, Al-Anon family groups or private counseling. If you need help with the first step, you can call IMPACT at 414-256-4808.