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Alcoholism is a disease that includes basically four symptoms Craving a strong need to drink loss of control not being able to stop physical dependence withdrawal symptoms and tolerance the need to drink more A person can be considered an alcoholic when these symptoms occur The craving that an alcoholic feels for alcohol can be as strong as the need for food or water Like many other diseases alcoholism is chronic meaning that it lasts a persons lifetime Alcohol is the most commonly used drug among USs young people Nearly 10 million people aged 12 to 20 reported drinking alcohol in the month prior to the 2000 survey Of these people almost 7 million 19 percent were binge drinkers and 2 million were heavy drinkers The risk for developing alcoholism is influenced both by a persons genes and by his or her lifestyle Children in most common lifestyles are beginning to drink at very young ages sometimes before they finish elementary school Many drink specifically to get drunk Although drinking is often considered a normal part of growing up like starting to date and learning to drive it is not Alcohol use in the teen years and not only may also lead to increased sexual activity exposure to sexually transmitted disease unplanned pregnancy suicidal and violent behavior criminal activity injury and death In the early stages of an alcoholic addiction there are usually few signs of a problem The alcoholic may act normally most of the time but a few personality changes may be present a lot of stress and more conflicts with other family members But family members also might protect the victim calling in sick to work to cover for a hangover or refuse to acknowledge destructive behavior An alcoholic in a family influences the whole family and he or she also effects most of the people around him Alcohols effect us in many ways A person under the influence of alcohol is
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