Alcohol is a colorless, volatile flammable liquid that is the intoxicating constituent of wine, beer, spirits, and other drinks and is also used as an industrial solvent and as fuel. Alcohol is a drug and it is classed as a depressant, meaning that it will slow down vital functions. Alcohol is made out of a chemical called ethanol. To make alcohol, they need to have the grains, fruits or vegetables go through a process called fermentation.
Fermentation is when yeast or bacteria react with the sugars in food (Alcohol ingredients and chemicals).Using alcohol can result in slurred speech, disturbed perceptions, unsteady movements, inability to react quickly “(Foundation of the drug-free world).” Alcohol manufacture started in an organized fashion about 10,000 years ago, when fermented drinks were produced from honey and wild yeast. By 6000 BC, grapevines were being cultivated in the mountains between the Black and Caspian Seas, for the purpose of making wine “(Alcohol History).” Alcohol has been around in Egypt since 3000 BC, producing and shipping through the Mediterranean was important business. Beer usually contains about 4% to 8% alcohol. Wine usually contains about 10% to 22% alcohol. Liquor usually contains about 40% to 55% alcohol. In 2007, the United States teenage drunk-driving accidents was nearly 1,393 that means four fatalities every day of the year “(drug free world).”
Alcohol has many effects on the user. The short-term effects can depend on how much alcohol is taken and the physical condition of the individual. Short-term effects of alcohol can cause Slow reflexes, Slurred speech, Drowsiness, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Upset stomach, Anemia (loss of red blood cells) and Blackouts “(Truth about alcohol).” Alcohol can interfere with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with proper coordination “(Effects on the body).”
The alcohol can cause coma or death when the Blood Alcohol Concentration exceeds a certain level. Blood Alcohol Concentration is known as (BAC) for short is measured by the amount of alcohol in a person ‘s circulatory system at a given time says Frisinger, Cathy. “Blood alcohol content (BAC).” This type of measurement is mostly used by the law enforcement officers. The officers check the driver ‘s BAC to see if the driver is driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. BAC is measured in the amount of ethanol in a person ‘s bloodstream. The officers use breathalyzer results because it ‘s more accurate and it reflects the blood-alcohol levels.
The BAC is usually measured as mass per volume. For example, a BAC of 0.02% 0.02 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of individual ‘s blood, or 0.2 grams of alcohol per 1000 grams of blood “(BAC Calculator).” 0.05%-0.08 g% levels of alcohol can cause judgment and movement impaired inhibitions reduced. The BAC levels of 0.08% – 0.15 g% can cause Slurred speech, Drowsiness, Vomiting, Diarrhea. 0.15% – 0.30 g% can cause Labored breathing, Unable to remember things, Possible loss of consciousness. Over 0.30 g% can cause Coma, Death “(short-term effects).”
The long-term effects of using alcohol can be associated with many health problems such as Alcohol poisoning, High BP, Liver disease, Sexual problems, Permanent damage to the brain, Ulcers and Cancer of the mouth and throat “(Truth About Alcohol).” Drinking alcohol can affect these organs such as Heart can be affected Stroke or High Blood Pressure. Liver- Fatty liver, Alcoholic hepatitis, Fibrosis. Pancreas- Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion. Alcohol can also cause the Immune System to weaken and make the body a much easier target for diseases. There is also an increased risk of breast cancer with alcohol use. Evidence has shown there are different mechanisms by which alcohol can cause breast cancer, including hormonal influences, and the level of acetaldehyde circulating throughout the body (Alcohol and Cancer).
Alcohol is very popular because alcohol can ease the physical and emotional pain. Alcohol is often served at social gatherings and is a normal part of the setting at places such as clubs or bars where people go to hang out with others. Many people believe that alcohol can give an individual social confidence and promotes relaxation in the company of others. People enjoy the psychoactive effects of alcohol for various reasons. It provides a sense of relief and disassociation from reality. A sense of adventure or perhaps a spiritual search is often given as the causative reason for alcohol consumption (Why people drink). Most of the reasons for alcohol use are because of peer pressure. Many adolescents and college students find themselves in situations where alcohol is present. Because younger people often lack self-confidence or the refusal skills to handle the pressures of such situations, they often begin to experiment with alcohol because they want to fit in and not made fun of so they take the challenge of drinking alcohol.
The harmful effects of using alcohol are that it can damage the body in the long run. “Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, fetal death, spontaneous abortion, and stillbirth,” says Deborah A. Appello, MS. Drinking alcohol while a woman is pregnant can be really harmful to the baby. The amount of alcohol that is in a woman’s blood is also in the baby ‘s blood. Alcohol can hurt the baby ‘s development. That ‘s why alcohol is much more harmful to the baby than to women during the pregnancy. Alcohol can lead the baby to have serious health conditions, called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). The most serious of these is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Fetal alcohol syndrome can seriously harm your baby ‘s development, both mentally and physically. Alcohol can cause these defects in the baby such as having birth defects, vision and hearing problems, intellectual disabilities, learning and behavior problems. Alcohol can affect women’s reproductive systems, and damage fertility. Even small amounts can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle and reduce the chance of conceiving. Alcohol can reduce a man’s testosterone levels, leading to loss of libido. It can also damage the quality, structure and movement of sperm by stopping the liver from properly metabolizing vitamin A, which is needed for sperm development “(Alcohol and Reproduction).”Consuming alcohol prior to driving greatly increases the risk of car accidents, highway injuries, and deaths. The greater the amount of alcohol consumed, the more likely a person is to be involved in a car accident. When alcohol is consumed, many of the skills that safe driving requires – such as judgment, concentration, comprehension, coordination, visual acuity, and reaction time can become impaired.
Mental and Physical health problems related with the use of alcohol are that the mood and behavior changes when the alcohol is in the blood.While alcohol can have a very temporary positive impact on our mood, in the long term it can cause big problems for our mental health. It’s linked to a range of issues from depression and memory loss to suicide “(Alcohol and mental health).” The more a person drinks the chance of negative emotional response will take over and they will become angry, aggressive and depressed. Alcohol can actually increase anxiety and stress rather than reduce it. Alcohol is also linked to suicide and self-harm “(Alcohol and mental health).” Frequent heavy sessions can damage the brain because of alcohol’s effect on brain chemistry and processes. Other effects also include becoming a victim of crime, being involved in violence, losing jobs, damaging relationships are also associated with drinking.
Types of educational programs for alcohol are AlcoholEdu is an online program, DARE is a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) aims to provide children with the information and skills needed to stay free of alcohol and drugs, Project Alert focuses on middle school students of the consequences of alcohol use and the benefits of being drug-free, Just the facts is a joint venture between the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (Choose Responsibility).
There are rehabilitation centers in Frederick for any kind of drug use such as Vindobona Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Golden Living Centers, Genesis Healthcare and more. Rehabilitation centers are divided into two categories: inpatient and outpatient; a person will need to choose between those approaches when they decide to seek help. If they enroll in an outpatient drug recovery program, they can attend counseling and rehabilitation sessions while continuing to live at home and tend to their regular life. If they enroll in an inpatient program, they will be given a break from their regular life so that they can focus on rehabilitation “(Alcohol and drug recovery programs).
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