Essay by qwertykm123 March 2009

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During college it is very common, if not habitual for students to consume alcohol on the weekends and sometimes during the week. Because alcohol is so readily available and usually present at every college party, drinking becomes the thing to do. Social drinking on the weekends is one thing, but many take it much rather far than that. Some students look to get wasted or belligerently intoxicated. When students get into the habit of abusing alcohol to get drunk on a consistent basis this becomes a problem, and the disease known as alcoholism can develop.

Alcoholism can defined as an addiction to the consumption of alcoholic liquor or the mental illness and compulsive behavior resulting from the physical dependence of alcohol. Because it is a physical dependence, and affects the brain, alcoholism is a very difficult illness to be cured of. What ultimately triggers the onset of alcoholism in the brain is debated; the fact of the matter is it onset in terms of the drinkers relationship with alcohol.

The use, misuse, heavy use, abuse, addiction and dependence of alcohol are common labels used to describe drinking habits.

Because the signs and symptoms are mainly overt, they are easily recognized. But what is more difficult to diagnose and understand is the cause of alcoholism. According to the Mayo Health Clinic, drinking alcohol alters the balance of chemicals in the brain, such as gamma-amino butyric acid, which inhibits impulsiveness, and glutamate, which excites the nervous systems. Alcohol also raises dopamine levels in the brain, which is responsible for the good feeling one gets from consuming alcohol. Because excessive drinking over a long period of time can deplete or increase the levels of dopamine, the body begins to crave alcohol to restore the brain to equilibrium. This is similar to other forms...