The Effects Of Long-Term Alcohol Consumption

One of the most common addictions people suffer from is alcoholism. Being dependent on alcohol can make someone lose their job, destroy their family, cause health problems, and more. It can be so extreme that a person needs to wake up in the morning and start drinking right away. Drinking to certain lengths can lead to negative health effects that are dangerous and can result in death, especially if someone has been in the same drinking routine for several years. If not done safely, only one night of drinking can lead to a loss of consciousness, vomiting, clumsiness, slurred speech, forgetfulness, and even alcohol poisoning. Long-term alcoholics most likely go through these consequences almost every day. This could possibly lead to stomach ulcers, liver disease, osteoporosis, and more. The scariest thought is that many alcoholics don’t seem to care about the long-term consequences. Researchers have investigated the long-term effects of alcoholism on the body and brain. Overall, it will be revealed whether or not abusing alcohol for long periods of time has determinantal effects on an individual and possibly even the people that are around them.

Ojesjo (1981) conducted a study to examine the long-term effects of alcoholism across a 15-year time period. This study differed from previous studies because it utilized a non-clinical sample over a prolonged time period. Participants included 96 men who at the beginning of the study were classified as alcoholics with a mean age of 47 years old. Participants were separated into groups in which they were either abusers, addicts, or chronics based on their level of severity with alcoholism. Participants completed a Likert scale that measured health problems, job problems, family problems, and isolation. The results showed that over half of the abusers, less than an eighth of addicts, and none of the chronics were in recovery. In addition, the recovering alcoholics had less health problems, less family problems, and less isolation compared to the non-recovering alcoholics. Ojesjo (1981) stated that severity of alcohol involvement, age, employment, and personal relationships play a role in determining if an individual will recover from alcoholism. In addition, refraining from drinking alcohol, positive work environments, emotional support, and social support are all predictors of a successful recovery. However, the majority of the interviews with the participants had family members, neighbors, and friends who were present. Therefore, it is possible that the participants were not being fully honest because they may not have wanted these individuals who were around to know the truth about their recovery process.

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Although the recent study conducted by Ojesjo (1981) was done over a 15-year time period, another study was conducted over an even longer amount of time. Topiwala et al. (2017) conducted a study to examine the effects of long-term alcohol consumption on brain function and cognitive performance over a 30-year time period. This study differed from previous studies because it not only looked at heavy alcohol consumption, but also moderate and light alcohol consumption. Participants included 527 adults (no gender information was provided) with a mean age of 43 years old. Participants went through a magnetic resonance imaging scan and completed lexical and semantic fluency tests during the scanning process. Participants then completed a questionnaire that measured the number of alcoholic drinks consumed each week and the number of times they were drunk each week. The results showed that the greater number of alcoholic drinks consumed was correlated with reduced grey matter, reduced white matter, and hippocampal atrophy. In addition, the greater number of alcoholic drinks consumed was correlated with greater decline in lexical fluency but not semantic fluency. Topiwala et al. (2017) stated that hippocampal atrophy is not only brought upon by Alzheimer’s disease, but also long-term heavy alcohol consumption. In addition, participants are able to improve their practice on semantic fluency tests more than they are able to on the lexical fluency tests possibly resulting in improved performance on those specific tests. However, participants had to write down the number of alcoholic drinks they consumed on average per week and if they drank too much, it was classified as unsafe drinking. Furthermore, it is possible that participants lied about the amount of alcohol they consumed because they did not want to appear to be heavily addicted to alcohol.

The past two studies done by Ojesjo (1981) and Topiwala et al. (2017) examined alcohol abuse among a vast amount of people over many years, but they did not investigate the effects of abstinence from alcohol. Brandt, Butters, Ryan, and Bayog (1983) conducted a study to examine the effects of long-term alcoholism and prolonged abstinence from alcohol on cognitive processes. This study differed from previous studies because it utilized a larger sample size and contained participants who were abstinent from alcohol for five years or more. Participants included 210 males ranging in age from 30 to 69 years old, all of who were either alcoholics or non-alcoholics. Participants completed five different tests that included verbal and nonverbal tasks to measure short-term memory. The results showed that alcoholics performed worse on all of the tasks. However, alcoholics who had been abstinent from alcohol for more than five years performed the same as non-alcoholics on all of the tasks except for one. Brandt et al. (1983) stated that when alcoholics begin the process of getting clean, there is an immediate level of improvement in mental status and this recovery in brain processes may continue for several years after. However, some of the participants included in the study were taking medications such as tranquilizers that could possibly cause drowsiness. Therefore, it is possible that these medications alone or even consumed with alcohol could have caused participants to perform worse.

Many of studies conducted to investigate alcohol abuse are often done on humans and not animals. Paula-Barbosa, Brandao, Madeira, and Cadete-Leite (1993) conducted a study to examine the effects of long-term alcohol consumption and withdrawal on the hippocampal formation in rats. This study differed from previous studies because it looked at withdrawal in rats who consumed heavy amounts of alcohol for a 6-month period. Subjects included 18 male Sprague-Dawley rats, all of who were 2 months old. Subjects were either fed sugar water, 20% ethanol solution for 18 months, or 20% ethanol solution for 12 months with the remaining 6 months being fed water. Subjects were then examined in the hippocampal region using a dissector method. The results showed that the ethanol fed subjects had a loss of granule, pyramidal, and hilar neurons compared to the subjects who were fed sugar water. In addition, subjects who were fed ethanol solution for only 12 months had thinner granule cell layers in the dentate gyrus compared to the subjects who were fed ethanol for 18 months. Paula-Barbosa et al. (1993) stated that withdrawal from alcohol does not stop the ongoing cell death and neuronal changes that results from long-term alcohol consumption. However, the subjects used in this study were only 2 months old and still at a young age. Furthermore, it is possible that these subjects had more changes in the brain due to the possibility that their brain may not be as fully developed as it would be if they were older.

Until this point, the studies reviewed examined the effects of alcohol on the abuser and not on the effects it can have on youth who are being raised by alcohol abusers. Christoffersen (2003) conducted a study to examine parental alcohol abuse and the long-term effects it has on children. This study differs from previous studies because it utilized a large national database of two different cohorts of children over a 15-year time period. Participants included 154,388 children (no gender or age information was provided) who were either born in 1966 or 1973. Participants information was collected from a population-based register system. Participants who were the parents of the children examined were associated with long-term alcohol abuse if they were hospitalized for a medical condition that resulted from alcohol. The results showed that parental alcohol abuse led to the children being more likely to become alcoholics or drug addicts, attempt suicide or commit suicide, develop mental illnesses, and be convicted of violent crimes. In addition, these issues were more severe for children if their mother was abusing alcohol compared to the father abusing alcohol. Christoffersen (2003) stated that children are dependent on the emotional state of their parents and learn to form their identity based off of how their parents behave. However, the data from this study was gathered from a register system and did not include any interviews or questionnaires from the participants. Furthermore, it is possible that the information obtained from the register system was inaccurate due to over reporting or under reporting of certain information.

Any kind of addiction is emotionally and physically painful for an individual. It is evident that alcohol can have an extreme amount of negative side effects whether it is targeting the brain or the body. As it has been revealed, alcoholism not only has a negative effect on the abuser, but also on the people around them. Drinking alcohol is very common and an acceptable activity in society. However, it is important to raise awareness about this issue that many people might overlook. Alcohol abuse may start at a young age and continue through adulthood resulting in many health issues. Creating classes to bring this issue to light might make an individual think twice about drinking more than what is considered healthy. Even creating a social media page to target younger people who have better access to the information can help make them more aware. Overall, if people are not being informed about the negative things that could possibly result from alcohol abuse, the number of health problems and deaths from overuse will continue to increase.


  1. Brandt, J., Butters, N., Ryan, C., & Bayog, R. (1983). Cognitive loss and recovery in long-term alcohol abusers. Archives of General Psychiatry, 40(4), 435-442. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.1983.01790040089012
  2. Christoffersen, M. N. (2003). The long-term consequences of parental alcohol abuse: A cohort study of children in denmark. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 25(2), 107-116.
  3. Ojesjo, L. (1981). Long-term outcome in alcohol abuse and alcoholism among males in the lundby general population. British Journal of Addiction, 76(4), 391-400. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.1981.tb03237.x
  4. Paula-Barbosa, M. M., Brandao, F., Madeira, M. D., & Cadete-Leite, A. (1993). Structural changes in the hippocampal formation after long-term alcohol consumption and withdrawal in the rat. Addiction, 88(2), 237-247.
  5. Topiwala, A., Allan, C. L., Valkanova, V., Zsoldos, E., Filippini, N., Sexton, C., . . . Ebmeier, K. P. (2017). Moderate alcohol consumption as risk factor for adverse brain outcomes and cognitive decline: Longitudinal cohort study. British Medical Journal, 357, doi: 10.1136/bmj.j2353

LGBTQ Relationships And Domestic Violence

Interaction Location

The interaction took place at a Krispy Kreme Doughnut Shop on April 12th, 2019 at 10:00am. This location was decided because this individual works as assistant manager there. She was given the option to meet elsewhere for more privacy if needed but was comfortable with doing it at the end of her shift. When asking her if she was willing to sit down with me, she was informed that her identity would be kept anonymous and that it was for a class assignment. She is in her late 20s and is African American. Our interaction was friendly since we had previously worked together, but never got into detail about personal lives. This was the first time she mentioned being in an abusive relationship that was emotional, verbal and physically. She finally realized she needed to get out of that bad relationship.

Individual’s Backstory

Before getting into the abusive and stressful relationship she was in, the individual explained when she realized she liked girls. She said she was in the third grade when she wondered why she had a crush on her teacher. She didn’t know she would label herself as a lesbian until later. She had a younger sister and an older brother, they all lived with their single mother. It wasn’t until the eighth grade when her sister told her mom. She said her mother thought it was a joke, but was glad that she was okay with it, as well as her sister, brother and other relatives.

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Throughout middle and high school, in order to “fit in’, she would date boys in her class but just never got physically intimate with them. She was in high school when she dated her first real girlfriend. She mentioned that she never got teased and if she did it was never to her face. The one question she constantly received from both men and women was “How do you know?” When she graduated college, she started being more masculine outside of her home, meaning dressing manly and acting tough, but when at home she’s feminine and sensitive.

At the age of eighteen, she met an older woman who was thirty years old. They met online, the first two years were great, until she caught her girlfriend texting her ex-girlfriend. When the individual confronted her the girlfriend would yell at her. They would argue, then go back to normal, later again they were arguing and back on the same topic from the previous argument. It was just a never ending pattern, because these arguments constantly were building up. This individual would call out of work whenever the girlfriend told her to so “they” could go out but instead the individual would be forced to stay home until the girlfriend got back from spending time with her friends. When the individual would say she wanted to break up, the girlfriend would get a knife and say she would kill herself.

After so many arguments it had now escalated because now the girlfriend was making the individual hurt emotionally. It started getting physical as well, the girlfriend would choke, slap and try to slam her to the ground. She would prevent the individual from leaving by taking her keys, phone and wallet. One night outside their apartment police got called for too much yelling. Before the arguments and fights, the individual did not finish college, she left so she could spend time with her girlfriend. The girlfriend really just wanted her close, so she could keep an eye on her. The girlfriend had brought up the idea of both enrolling to the same nearby college, but they never got to applying for admission. The individual finally left after almost 4 years of being together, she moved in with her godmother. The only people she reached out for help was her best friend.

Can’t Just Leave

Reading this we are all probably thinking ‘why don’t you just leave?” this individual deep down knew she should not have been treated like this. She believed she was giving her girlfriend all the love and respect she deserved, but she wasn’t receiving it back. The constant arguments became a routine with this couple that it made it hard to identify this relationship as abusive and therefore there was no reason for the individual to seek help (Ricks & Vaughan, 2002). The emotional abuse often destroys one’s self-esteem, she believed that if she waited, things would change but it never did. Every now and then the girlfriend would do something nice or state she would never do it again but again it became a routine.

Carpenter (2017) explained that “ violence between LGBTQ partners is difficult to see for many reasons. They are often distanced from their families and friends due to prejudice, a couple may be more isolated from outside observers who might intervene and help a victim.” Like any person in a relationship they want others to see this ‘perfect” couple. It’s not the same for these individuals when they have the world, their community and sometimes family criticizing, so it just puts more pressure to hide anything else that is negative between them. Due religion families are torn apart because these individuals are not accepted. The individual and her wife today are not able to attend their church because people there do want them to sit beside each other and hold hands. It breaks her heart reading articles online of same sex couples needing funding in order pay hospital bills to help their sick child and people don’t want to help them.


Many people believe that incidents of domestic violence are less severe for anyone who is LGBTQ but that is not true. This can happen to anyone in a relationship and it can be equally or more damaging. Studies show that gay men and bisexual women are more likely to experience more severe physical violence that can involve being beaten, burned or choked (Rothman, Exner & Baughman, 2011). A common belief is that men are abusers and women are not. It could be hard to ask for help because others may think that lesbian relationships are safe and that it would incapable of there being any harm. Another stereotype is that people assume it is easier for LGBTQ individuals to leave from an abusive relationship or that gay families will raise their children to be gay, and that is not the case.

According to Foley (2015) same-sex parents and opposite-sex parents all share the same flaw. There is no correct parenting but there are good and bad parenting and there is no negative impact on the children of same-sex couples. The individual stated that one thing that gets frustrating is having a baby. Her wife and herself have been trying to have a baby for over a year now. Money is tight, but she has found someone willing to be her sperm donor. She is doing this by doing the intracervical insemination method and this involves injecting semen vaginally close to the cervix. Also known as the turkey baster method.

Social Work Assistance

When working with individuals in the LGBTQ community, a social worker must acknowledge the ways in which oppression, social influence and discrimination impact the clients. A social worker has an obligation to be culturally knowledgeable and sensitive to the unique needs of the client. They must understand that the discrimination they may have face or the pressure they feel can put them at greater risk for emotional struggles like depression, anxiety, substance abuse and even lead to suicide. A social worker should want to prevent any more abusive relationships to occur, so they should provide the client with information on local support groups, online blogs, anything that will provide some sort of support and relief. When asked about feelings, the individual responded saying how she often thought about whether she should give up on life. She thought finding love and her dream of having a family would never come true. During the time after officially separating from her abusive and controlling ex-girlfriend she focused on working more. She wishes she would’ve finished college, and as her social worker, she should be encouraged that she can still go back to school and get a degree or certifications that will help in any interest she may want to pursue in. She has a voice now, because one strength she gained is to stand up for herself. Another great help would be finding her some resources and organizations she can look into to help with her stress. She often blames stress from work to cause her to not be able to get pregnant.


After this interaction, there are so many things that were proved wrong. Not all individuals in the LGBTQ community go through the same thing. She went through some hard times but nothing as bad as it could’ve been. She had a great support system and still does. She was lucky to not have been harassed online or publicly, she was never homeless or refused a job position. This interaction made it clear that when it comes to relationships there are always problems. Every relationship is different, it can be easy to judge or compare your relationship to others but in reality, domestic violence can happen to anyone. It is overlooked, excused and sometimes denied. Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it (Yasmin, 2017). It is rarely talked about and it often causes people to not realize that their relationship is an abusive one.


  1. Carpenter, J. (2017, May 9). Violence and abuse in LGBTQ relationships is common, but it’s harder to spot. Washington Post. Retrieved from
  2. Foley, K. E. (2015, June 29). The science is clear: Children raised by same-sex parents are at no disadvantage. Retrieved from
  3. Ricks, J. L., Vaughan, C., & Dziegielewski, S. F. (2002). Domestic Violence Among Lesbian Couples. In A. R. Roberts (Ed.), Handbook of Domestic Violence: Intervention Strategies (451-463), New York, NY: Oxford University Press
  4. Rothman, E., Exner, D., & Baughman, A. (2011). The Prevalence of Sexual Assault against People who Identify as Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual in the United States: A systematic Review. Trauma Violence Abuse, 12(2), 55-66.
  5. Yasmin, Seema. “’Who’s Going to Believe Me?’-Why LGBTQ Domestic Abuse Is Rarely Talked About.” SELF, 22 Dec. 2017,

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