Alcohol is known to humans since ancient days.
Alcohol chemically refers to ethanol or ethyl alcohol.
It was and is used in day-to-day life for various purposes besides human consumption.
Many people have different opinions regarding its consumption. But other than consumption, its uses are inevitable in present society.
Hence alcoholic drinks are manufactured and distributed on a large scale under strict government regulations.
Even to minimize the misuse, governments levy heavy excise taxes and employ excise officers to check the alcohol production, transport, and usage in the society.
Of course, tax on alcoholic beverages is one of the most significant sources of revenue for governments in some countries.
However, there are positive and negative effects of alcohol on the body. So, we will see them as advantages and also as disadvantages.
Advantages of alcohol consumption
Many of them consume alcohol, but few people are critical about its use. But some of them are in a dilemma about its use.
People who prefer it believe that the advantages of alcohol consumption are as below.
1. Relieves mental stress
It is believed to give relief from mental tension after daily activities. Hence, its consumption provides relief from stress.
It is said to lower the control in some brain regions, leading to a decrease in stress.
This is quite common and most celebrations and parties include alcoholic beverages to warm up the show.
3. Provide better sleep.
Alcohol has a sedative effect and hence drinking alcohol promotes sleepiness.
4. Increases in appetite.
Alcohol raises blood flow to the stomach and gut and also irritates the gut locally. This property raises hunger and thereby food consumption.
5. Keeps the body warm
Drinking alcohol keeps the body warm, especially during winter and cold conditions. It increases blood flow to the skin and thus produces warmth.
6. Helps put on weight
Alcohol provides a high amount of calories by metabolism in the body and thereby adds to the body’s fat content. Advantageous to those who are slim.
7. Helps neglect severe pain
During an injury or accident, alcohol intake can make the person less sensitive to physical pain. Because those centers in the brain which feel the pain are sedated.
Benefits of alcohol for other than drinking
It is an excellent antiseptic, disinfectant and sterilizing agent. At 70% concentration, it is an effective disinfectant to kill all the germs. Hence it is incorporated in most deodorants and antiperspirants. It is also believed to reduce sweating.
It is a good preservative. Alcohol presence in any medical preparations is an excellent preservative as seen in homeopathic drug preparations. Drugs or medicinal preparations stay safe for a long time.
Astringent: It precipitates and denatures surface proteins making tissues soft. In long-term bedridden patients, it is used to harden bony surfaces of the back.
Cooling agent: Alcohol acts as a refrigerant by cooling the surface of the skin when applied. When a pack immersed in alcohol is placed on the head, it produces a cooling sensation in times of fever with high temperature.
Reduces pain: When alcohol is used to massage over a surface of painful muscle regions, it relieves deep-seated pains.
Disadvantages of alcohol consumption:
1. Loss of self-control
Alcohol drinking leads to loss of self-control. In medical terms, alcohol is a sedative, and in high doses, the person loses self-control in the body and can lead to accidents.
2. Damage to the liver
Heavy consumption can damage the body’s organs and systems. Especially liver, stomach, brain are affected. Since alcohol is mostly metabolized in the liver, it is the organ that is impacted most. It may lead to fatty liver. Besides, it can also lead to cardiovascular troubles and high Blood pressure. So, limiting drinking is needed to rescue the organs. Further, having a protein-rich diet is necessary to rejuvenate the liver.
3. Nerve damage
It causes slow and progressive degeneration of the nervous system. Alcohol chemically is a highly hydrophilic solvent. Thus it can penetrate well into fat tissues like the brain. At high concentrations, it can damage the neurons.
4. Leads to obesity.
It can put on excess weight. This is due to the low consumption of carbohydrates taken in the form of food. Alcohol by itself can from energy molecule ATP and provide calories to the body. So other calorie-generating foods, especially carbohydrates and fats, are not used up. This leads to accumulation and weight gain.
It is addictive and people are prone to drink it unnecessarily. This leads to a disturbance in a healthy lifestyle. He will reach a stage where his daily routine does not happen without drinking.
6. Sedation and death
Alcohol is a sedative; moderate drinking is not a risk. But on further heavy consumption can lead to coma and death.
Socially alcohol has much impact as there can be accidents due to drink and drive. Also, one can lose his senses and misbehave, causing trouble for others. Besides it, a costly drink so can put an economic burden on low-income people.
Alcohol poisoning: Alcohol, when taken in large amounts, could be harmful and leads to toxicity. Alcohol toxicity is of two types as
- Acute alcohol poisoning
- Chronic alcohol poisoning.
Acute alcohol poisoning
This occurs due to the sudden intake of large amounts of alcohol. The person may go into sedation, coma and even death. The best way to manage is to take him to the hospital. The person is given respiratory support and other measures to save the life.
Chronic alcohol intoxication
Here the intoxication occurs due to the long-standing intake of alcohol. Here the person might be addicted to alcohol, so he does not get the euphoria at normal doses and may take large doses. This can lead to organ damages and death. Hence, he has to be discouraged from consuming any amount of alcohol further.