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Social Problems

Alcoholism carries with it a host of social problems. Both the drinker and the family unit are affected. Alcohol can have devastating effects on the family. Numerous marriages have been destroyed by alcohol, both emotionally and financially. Children of alcoholics are emotionally fractured by alcoholic parents. Approximately 20 percent of adults grew up with a family member with an alcohol problem. These adults themselves are at risk for developing substance abuse problems. Emotional issues such as guilt, depression, and relationship problems are often found in children of alcoholics.

Alcoholics may have additional problems that compound the alcohol issue. Drugs, both prescription and illegal, may cause a synergistic effect in which the overall whole effect of the combined substances is greater than the sum of the parts. This, of course, can have devastating, even fatal, consequences. Psychological problems ranging from depression to schizophrenia are often seen in the alcoholic. These people may attempt to self-medicate with alcohol, not realizing that alcohol may exacerbate the symptoms of their mental illness.

Communities suffer the cost of alcohol abuse. An enormous amount of money is lost each year in the workplace because of alcohol. Insurance costs, decreased productivity, workplace injuries, and work-related grievances are just a few of many problems associated with alcohol. Alcohol is also a leading factor in motor vehicle accidents and injuries. Alcohol-related vehicular accidents are especially prevalent among teenagers and young adults, for whom they are the leading cause of accidental death. Falls, fires, drownings, and suicides are also frequently associated with alcohol.