Alcohol is a common term for ethanol, a compound produced when glucose is fermented by yeast. The alcohol content of a particular drink is controlled by the amount of yeast and length of fermentation.
Fruit is used to make wine and cider, while cereals such as barley and rye form the basis of beer and spirits.
Alcohol is a drug that has the immediate effect of altering mood. Drinking it makes people feel relaxed, happy and even euphoric, but in fact alcohol is a depressant. It switches off the part of the brain that controls judgement, leading to loss of inhibitions. Drinking even small amounts of alcohol can affect physical coordination.
The liver breaks down and eliminates alcohol from the body. It takes the liver about one hour to deal with one unit of alcohol (8g).
Alcohol consumed in moderation is thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Indeed, alcohol consumption in conjunction with high intakes of fruit and vegetables may well explain the so-called 'French paradox'. The French diet is considered to be very high in fat, especially saturated fat, yet the death rate from coronary heart disease (CHD) remains relatively low.
A research study published in 1992 suggested that the low death rates from CHD could be due to the relatively high consumption of wine in France. A similar pattern of diet and alcohol consumption has also been found in other south European countries where heart disease rates are also lower compared with other parts of the world.
These observations prompted a long series of research studies analysing the relationship between wine and CHD.
It's still not entirely clear how alcohol reduces your risk of CHD, but it's now known a large proportion of the risk reduction is due to moderate alcohol intake raising 'good' cholesterol concentrations in the blood, so reducing the risk of blood clots.
Red wine, in particular, also contains flavonoids that act as antioxidants, which help to reduce the build up of atherosclerosis (when fat builds up on the inner walls of arteries). Red wine seems to help maintain the flexibility of the blood vessel walls.
Drinking too much alcohol will not only leave you with a hangover the next day, but binge drinking and/or drinking more than the recommended intake on a regular basis can also cause long-term damage to the body's internal organs.
Chronic alcohol use is one of the major causes of liver cirrhosis (irreversible scarring of the liver). This happens because healthy liver cells die and the dead cells are replaced by fibrous tissue.
The liver plays a central role in many essential body functions including the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, detoxification and excretion of waste products from the body. Scarred tissue cannot function like healthy tissue so this condition can be life threatening if not treated early enough.
Stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal complications, as well as fertility problems, weight gain, and depletion of certain vitamins and minerals can all be caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
Binge drinking can also increase blood pressure, a risk factor for heart attacks. One study showed binge-drinking patterns in Northern Ireland at the weekends led to higher blood pressure levels, and a higher incidence of heart attacks on Mondays and Tuesdays. Blood pressure levels in French drinkers were constant throughout the week, reflecting their moderate drinking patterns.
A 2007 World Cancer Research Fund report showed alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, colon (especially in men) and breast.
If you're worried about the negative effects of alcohol, either on yourself or on behalf of someone else, Alcohol Concern offers an excellent service.
Moderation is the key. The recommendation is no more than two to three units of alcohol a day for women and three to four units for men, with at least two or three alcohol-free days each week.
I've been addicted to alcohol before, I've started drinking alcohol since I'm in high school. My mom caught me in the act and really get me into trouble. I can't quit my addiction to alcohol because it really runs to my system all ready. It is true on what have been said in this blog the risk and what could it give you. So me and my mom tried to get me in an
adolescent residential treatment and it runs well for me. Until now I still have the therapy session once a month.