Alcoholism and Drinking – Alcohol and Personality
Exploratory Essays Research PapersAlcohol and Personality
Alcoholism is a road often traveled yet there is no light at the end. The road only leads to a life of depression, anxiety, anger, stress, and much more. These are all common unwanted personality traits that we experience at one time or another. However, alcoholics exhibit these traits day in and day our as the likelihood that they act in these types of manners is nearly doubled when alcohol is involved. Alcohol inhibits not only our daily bodily functions but our mind as well. Alcoholism leads to times of withdrawal, low self-esteem, and an overall unwillingness to be part of society. It can turn the gentlest person into a raving psychopath without them even knowing it or if they do know, they refuse to admit it. Alcoholism manipulates the way we think and the way we react in common everyday situations. Minor problems are blown out of proportion while major problems are faced with anger, resentment, and often physical force. Alcoholism does nothing positive for an individual. It has many harmful effects and its effects on one’s personality is one of the most harmful of all.
Our personality is who we are and who we are known as. Alcoholism takes that personality, corrupts it, and turns us into the person we never thought we?d become. As the alcohol becomes more important and necessary in an alcoholic?s life he will find himself unable to any longer answer the question of who he is but will rather find himself asking questions such as who he has become. At first, an individual may enjoy an occasional beer or two to ?take a load off?. This does not have a permanent adverse effect on his personality. However, as time goes on, if this same person finds himself relying on alcohol to make it through the day, the problem has started. Before he knows it he will find himself psychologically dependent on alcohol and stages will develop. First, he may need a drink before he goes to bed to make him sleep better. Next, he may need to have a beer or two during his lunch break at the office because he has a lot on his mind. Finally, he?ll find himself drinking as a means of solving the simplest problem or needing a drink before he can even feel comfortable in public. Once this point in the alcoholic cycle is reached, his personality will begin to change as it takes on a new, distorted shape. He will resemble a time bomb ready to explode at any second.
Where once there was a lively, energetic man there is now a sad, depressed one. As an individual begins drinking alcohol to help lessen depression, it does just the opposite. Alcohol does not cure depression, it merely masks it for a short time. After a man drinks a small dose of alcohol to lessen his state of depression, he will then be more likely to consume a larger dose the next time. These larger doses eventually lead to fits of anger which the drinker feels guilty for once he is sober. This guilt along with the body eventually becoming immune to the alcohol that it is being fed are the beginnings of the alcoholic drinker. In reality, the alcohol causes the very depression that it is supposed to cure.
Anxiety is another characteristic that can be altered by drinking alcohol. While one or two drinks can help calm the nerves, any consumption greater than two drinks actually causes anxiety. The drinker?s nerves become more sporadic and perspiration increases. This personality trait as it is described with alcohol works in a cycle. Originally a person drinks to relieve anxiety but excess drinking leads to even more anxiety. The drinker then must consume more alcohol to cure the anxiety the original alcohol created and so on and so forth. What it boils down to is that the drinker will find himself drinking just to drink.
No matter how the world may actually be falling around them, alcohol to the everyday alcoholic offers a reason to live. They get up in the morning to a drink, go off to work; if they are employed; with a drink, and got to bed at night with a drink. During lows in an alcoholic?s life, he becomes more susceptible to the dangers of alcohol. He will find it almost impossible to go any waking moment without a drink. This is because to an alcoholic, alcohol has become their friend. Someone they can rely on. Someone who is there all the time when they need it. To most alcoholics, alcohol is the only thing that truly has any meaning in life.
This friendship and addiction to alcohol damages the alcoholic?s relationship with many around him. He becomes more volatile, angry, and distant from his loved ones. Small problems within the household are often met with fits of anger. There are many reported instances in which alcoholics have struck out at loved ones not only doing physical damage but psychological as well. These fits of anger can only be traced back to alcohol. The minute alcohol enters the blood it travels to the brain. While in the brain, the alcohol acts as a barrier between what is right and what is wrong. It makes decision making virtually impossible and complicates even the most basic thinking processes. While within the brain and the nervous system, alcohol decreases the level of tolerance that the drinker has. Because of this, these flashes of anger are very common and range from physical abuse to sexual abuse.
Another personality trait that is affected by consumption of alcohol is the learning process. Alcohol interferes with the synthesis of proteins in the neuron of the brain. This protein is needed to encode new information. As the alcohol eats away at these proteins, encoding new information, everyday decisions, and even questions such as one?s home phone number become a chore and very hard to do. The alcoholic becomes easily lost while going out in public and often becomes disoriented by bright lights or loud noises. Another learning disfunction associated with alcoholism is the dependency that comes with the disease. If an individual spends a large amount of time dependent on alcohol and living every day with some type of link to it, it becomes harder and harder to live without it. In order for the disease to be cured, the alcoholic must learn how to do all these activities over again but this time while sober. This makes the learning process that much more difficult and the disease that much more harder to conquer.
Alcohol not only affects the individual during the day but it is also a strong deterrent to sleep during the night. Alcoholics relatively complain about struggles to fall asleep, restless sleep, nightmares, and in some extreme cases alcoholics develop patterns of sleepwalking. Alcohol reduces the amount of REM sleep which is the time that an individual is most prone to awaken. This causes the alcoholic to wake in the middle of the night and does not allow for the individual to fall asleep once awaken.
Overall, there is a wide range of effects alcoholism has on the individual person?s personality. They range from anger and anxiety, to sleep patterns and learning. These changes in one?s personality and the way in which they capable of functioning is not an unimportant matter. Rather it is something that needs to be noticed, admitted, and solved as soon as possible. The longer these patterns go on the harder it will be to cure them. Changes in one?s personality due to alcoholism can result in the loss of someone?s family, loved one, job, or self esteem. Personality defines an individual?s character which is the backbone to who we are. If this personality is taken for granted, misused, or abused in any way because of alcoholism, who someone is will no longer be and the monster they have become will be how they are known.