Alcoholism - Description

The effects of alcoholism on the body are quite far-reaching. Alcohol abuse can result in poor nutrition, memory disorders, difficulty with walking and balance, liver disease, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, heart problems, anemia (a blood disorder that causes weakness and fatigue; see anemias entry), problems with blood clotting, low resistance to infections, disorders of the digestive system, problems with the pancreas, low blood sugar, high blood fat content, reduced sexual abilities, reproductive problems, and weak bones.

Alcoholism can also lead to a number of personal problems, including depression, unemployment, family problems, and child abuse. The effects of alcoholism also extend to society at large. For example, alcohol is a contributing factor in about half of all deaths from motor vehicle accidents. The condition also causes or contributes to other social issues, such as homelessness, murder, suicide, injury, and violent crime. According to some estimates, more than $130 billion are spent each year in the United States to deal with alcohol-related problems.

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