Alcohol abuse is one of the most common forms of addiction. It is prolific not only in the United States, but across the world. Nearly everyone either knows someone that has problems with drinking or knows someone that knows someone. It has existed for nearly as long as wine and other spirits have, and continues across generations, as a genetic component has been discovered in recent years. As such, it will continue to be a prevalent force in the lives of many people and the need for proper treatment will be needed for years to come.
Alcohol abuse for the individual can reach beyond the addict to affect entire families. The story of the abusive family member, the one that remains mild and calm until they have that first drink, is all too familiar. Once drunk, they become surly and strike out verbally and physically. In this manner, many emotional scars can be left on other members of the family long after the person may have given up drinking. Physical damage may remain in the body as well among alcoholics, particularly in the liver, which can lead to problems later on in life, such as jaundice and liver cancer. A liver transplant may even be needed should the damage be severe enough.
Although prohibition was attempted once before with little success, the answer to beating alcohol abuse is not in banning the substance but rather in educating people about the damage that they are doing when they begin to drink heavily and how that can lead to the formation of a drinking problem. The occasional drink is not the indication of a problem, but rather the continued drinking of several beverages in a short time that is the indication of a problem. If people are aware of the harm they are causing when they drink so heavily, then they may be able to either seek help when a problem is there or help others to do the same. It is only in this way that we can make a stand together and see that the cycle is not repeated again in the next generation and others to come.