The use of wine and beer dates back to at least 3000 BC. However, it was not until the distillation process was applied to fermented beverages that highly potent liquors become available.

Society has a definite attitude towards alcoholism. Most people believe that an alcoholic is a person who drinks excessively and shows a steady personal, economic, social, and cultural decline.

The common signs of alcoholism include:

  1. Excessive use of alcohol.
  2. Psychological or behavioral disturbances due to alcohol use.
  3. Disorders of social and economic functioning.
  4. Loss of control by the individual over ones’ drinking behavior.
  5. Reports of alcohol withdrawal symptoms if drinking is stopped.
  6. Medical problems associated with long-term alcohol use.

Early signs of alcoholism on the job include absence from work, poor quality of work, mood changes early in the morning or after lunchtime, loud talking, long lunch period, hand tremors, and increase in minor illnesses.

Treatment for drug abuse and addiction has centered on medical management of withdrawal effects and on methadone maintenance programs for heroine addicts. The concept of therapeutic communities has been popular, although there is little research demonstrating their effectiveness. Social learning treatment programs have been somewhat limited in the area of the drug addiction One main challenge of the future is to be able to identify those who are likely to turn to drugs and develop techniques to help them prior to their heavy involvement. In addition to this emphasis on prevention, there is also a challenge to develop methods to help those who develop drug abuse or dependence and want to eliminate the problem. Unfortunately, it appears that those who are just getting into drugs or alcohol are the least likely to want to do anything about their problems.

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