When you go to a restaurant or attend a significant event or party, it is socially acceptable or even expected that at the event people will be drinking alcoholic beverages. Besides fun gatherings, many people will drink wine or beer after a hard day at work to relieve stress or anger. This overused substance is addictive and dangerous, yet it is considered acceptable to sell and consume daily.
Alcoholism and culture go hand and hand, especially in America, but why is alcohol more socially acceptable than other drugs? Unfortunately, society views alcohol as “fresh” or fashionable. It is not approached as a potential addiction problem that leads to many negative consequences on an individual’s mind and body.
Alcohol’s Impact on the Mind and Body
Alcohol interferes with all the brain's communication pathways, affecting the brain's functioning and development. This alteration to the brain and nervous system affects mood and behavior, making coordination and thinking logically tricky. Long-term drinking may lead to Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, sometimes referred to as wet brain syndrome. This condition can be fatal and causes memory loss, lack of balance, and confusion. In addition, depression and anxiety are increased if alcohol is misused, which manipulates and heightens mental disorders.
Drinking over a long duration can cause damage to the heart, issues causing a stroke, cardiomyopathy, and irregular heartbeat. The liver may become inflamed and cause alcoholic hepatitis or fibrosis. A fatty liver can be life-threatening due to the potential case of liver cancer. With all these negative side effects, you have to wonder why alcohol is more socially acceptable than drugs. Since alcohol is addictive, it can lead to terrible side effects like weakening the immune system, making the body an easy target for disease. Chronic drinkers are well-known to be more liable to contract diseases like tuberculosis.
Societal Standards on Alcohol and Drugs
Expected social norms have made alcohol use socially acceptable. People do not want to see drinking as a health problem because people subconsciously may not be aware of their level of dependency on the drug. Most people do not think of alcohol as a drug since it seems so ordinary in our society. Drugs like painkillers are socially acceptable, yet these medications are usually mixed with alcohol, increasing negative symptoms. Marijuana has also become more accepted in society. Compared to how society views alcohol, it does not seem as favored.
The truth is alcohol is addictive and excessive consumption can increase your risk of:
- Sexual assault
- Motor vehicle crashes and other accidents
- High blood pressure
- Mental health problems
- Diabetes, stroke, and liver disease
- Social problems
How Can You Tell If You Have a Problem?
There are many factors linked to addiction. If you are trying to excuse yourself when drinking or desiring a drink, you may have a problem with alcohol. Drinking alone or hiding alcohol from others also is a warning sign of a severe problem which may mean alcohol treatment is needed. Other ways to tell when social drinking becomes an issue is when a person starts lying about their drinking habits, blacking out after drinking, feeling guilty or shameful after drinking, or finding more reasons to drink often. Yet, the question remains, why is alcohol more socially acceptable than other drugs?
Substance Abuse Rehab in Chicago
Acceptance is the first step to recovery. After realizing you have a problem, receive professional help from doctors, nurses, and licensed therapists who will design a treatment plan that best suits your needs and will help achieve your recovery goals. At our Chicago drug rehab, we understand how difficult recovering from an addiction can be. We are here to safely get you through the withdrawals and support your transition to begin your life again with complete control. Mental health is highly important to us, and that’s why we offer special mental health programs, including PHP care and residential treatment.
If you or a loved one are showing signs of alcohol addiction or other substance abuse addiction, please contact us today for more information on getting started. If you require alcohol treatment, meth or cocaine addiction care, or prescription pill treatment, then our team at Banyan Chicago is happy to help you and provide excellent services and programs to ensure recovery.
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