In most societies, people consume alcohol in various forms. This substance is produced through the fermentation of diverse materials such as grains like wheat, barley, corn, fruits like grapes, apples, and tomatoes, as well as vegetables like potatoes. Through the distillation process, the alcohol content of fermented beverages can be increased to obtain strong spirits such as whisky. The alcohol used in alcoholic beverages is called ethanol. Ethanol has relatively tiny molecules that are easily and quickly absorbed by the body.
1-The process of alcohol absorption in the body
It begins as soon as alcoholic beverages enter the individual’s throat. They then pass through the stomach and into the small intestine, which contains a high density of small blood vessels. This allows ethanol molecules to enter the bloodstream quickly to enter the bloodstream quickly.
Once these molecules enter the bloodstream, they quickly distribute throughout the body and reach all organs. Although alcohol is distributed relatively evenly throughout the body, its effects appear faster on the brain than on any other organ. This is because a significant portion of the blood leaving the heart enters the brain with each heartbeat, and the fatty tissues of the brain readily absorb alcohol.
2-Effects of Alcohol
Alcohol concentrations ranging from 0.30% to 0.50% in the blood can cause dizziness, fatigue, and unsteadiness. Individuals in this state may speak differently than they usually would and often become more friendly and daring. Their confidence may increase, but their motor responses gradually become slower. When alcohol concentration in the blood exceeds 0.40%, there is a risk of death. The combination of these effects makes driving after drinking Alcohol hazardous.
3-The effects of alcohol consumption on others
Alcohol consumption is inherently harmful, and recreational drinking can lead to various problems. These problems include losing productive time, reduced functioning the next morning, and engaging in fights or accidents while intoxicated. The most serious issue, of course, is accidents. Incidents related to alcohol, such as car crashes, drowning, burning, and poisoning, claim the lives of nearly 60,000 people each year.
Furthermore, there is a belief that more than half of all murderers and their victims were intoxicated at the time of the crime. Individuals often commit suicide while under the influence of alcohol.
4-Complications of alcohol consumption
The long-term consumption of alcohol can lead to serious health problems. Some side effects include increased blood pressure, stroke, gastrointestinal ulcers, oral, throat, and stomach cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, and depression.
5-Prevalence of alcohol consumption in countries
The countries surrounding Russia, which have a harmful drinking pattern and generally high alcohol consumption rates, have attributed the highest alcohol-related health effects to themselves. Latin America is another region with relatively high health problems associated with alcohol consumption. The lowest levels of harm caused by alcohol consumption are found in Africa, Eastern Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia, especially in areas with predominantly Muslim populations.
6-The effects of alcohol consumption on the fetus
When a pregnant woman consumes alcohol, the fetus is exposed to alcohol, and adverse effects can occur. In pregnant women who engage in heavy drinking, the likelihood of recurrent miscarriages and giving birth to low birth weight infants is twice as high.
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7-Alcohol Consumption Among Students
Alcohol consumption on college campuses is prevalent in the United States. A study examining university students in the United States showed that 44% of students binge drink at least once in the past month.
In comparison, this figure was 39% for individuals aged 18 to 22 who did not attend college. Losing study time, skipping classes, physical harm, engaging in unsafe sexual practices, and getting involved with the police are some of the problems that students who engage in binge drinking may face.
8-Medical tests for diagnosing alcohol consumption
1-Hematology Test: This test involves blood analysis to examine signs of alcohol consumption in the body, such as blood alcohol levels, changes in blood cells, and inflammatory markers.
2-Liver Function Test: Excessive alcohol consumption can cause liver damage. Tests such as alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) assess liver function.
3- Urine Test: Sometimes, alcohol can be detected through urine, providing detectable indicators. This test involves analyzing a urine sample.
4-Examination of Physical Symptoms: A physician may investigate potential alcohol-related issues by examining facial swelling, skin color changes, hand tremors, and fissured tongue.
5-Questionnaires and Interviews: Physicians may ask about your alcohol consumption pattern, experienced symptoms, and its impact on your life. These interviews can also aid in diagnosing psychological and social problems associated with alcohol use.
It is important to note that a more comprehensive evaluation may be necessary based on individual circumstances for accurate diagnosis and addressing of alcohol-related issues. Therefore, it is recommended to consult with a specialist physician or addiction treatment expert who can provide the necessary guidance.
Frequently Asked Questions
1-Can alcohol cause addiction?
Yes, alcohol can cause physical and psychological dependence. Regular alcohol consumption can lead to relative tolerance and dependence over time, meaning you will need more significant amounts of alcohol to experience similar effects. Abruptly stopping alcohol after repeated use can result in withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, anxiety, insomnia, and other physical and psychological symptoms.
2-Does alcohol affect brain function?
Yes, alcohol consumption can have significant effects on brain function. Alcohol can impair brain function and alter cognitive abilities such as concentration, memory, and proper adaptation. It can also lead to changes in sleep and wakefulness.
3-How can the effects of alcohol be reduced?
To reduce the effects of alcohol, you can consider the following strategies:
1-Minimize or abstain from alcohol consumption altogether.
2-Choose non-alcoholic beverages instead of alcohol.
3-Educate yourself about the signs and adverse effects associated with alcohol consumption.
4-Seek professional counseling and treatment services if you have problems related to alcohol consumption.