Humans have known alcohol since ancient days.
Chemically it is ethanol or ethyl alcohol.
Besides human consumption, it also finds many uses in daily life.
There are different opinions regarding its consumption and with chances of damage to social harmony.
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 alcohol production, transport, and usage in society.
Of course, tax on alcoholic beverages is one of the most significant sources of revenue for governments in some countries.
Here well will discuss the positive and negative effects of alcohol on the body, its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of alcohol consumption
Many of them consume alcohol, but few people are addicted to it. Some of them consume it daily in limited quantities while others take it occasionally.
People who prefer it believe that the advantages of its 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.
- It is also the reason why people open up and build stronger relations.
3. Provide better sleep.
- Alcohol has a sedative effect, and hence drinking it promotes sleepiness.
4. Increases in appetite.
- People tend to crave food after drinking.
- 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.
- This might seem 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, leading to less pain sensation.
Benefits of alcohol other than drinking
- It is a suitable solvent for many extraction procedures. Since it is an organic solvent, it is suitable for the extraction of plant constituents, drugs, nutrients, etc.
- It is an excellent antiseptic, disinfectant, and sterilizing agent. At 70% concentration, it is an effective disinfectant to kill all germs. Hence it is incorporated into most deodorants and antiperspirants. It is also believed to reduce sweating.
- It is a good preservative. Alcohol’s 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 the 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 temperatures.
- Reduces pain: When alcohol is used to massage over the surface of painful muscle regions, it relieves deep-seated pains.
Disadvantages of alcoholism
1. Loss of self-control
- Drinking leads to a loss of self-control with an awkward and troublesome behavior.
- In medical terms, it is a sedative, and in high doses, the person loses self-control in the body, which can lead to accidents.
2. Damage to the liver
- Heavy consumption can damage the body’s organs and systems. Especially liver, stomach, and 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. Effect on heart
Moderate to high doses cause tachycardia as symptom with faster heart beat.
Chronic alcoholism is found to cause heart disease like the cardiac arythmias, cardiomyopathy and even hypertension.
4. Nerve damage
- It causes slow and progressive degeneration of the nervous system.
- Chemically being a lipophylic solvent and hence it can readily penetrate into fat tissues like the brain.
- At high concentrations, it can damage the neurons.
5. 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 form the energy molecule ATP and provide calories to the body.
- So other calorie-generating foods, especially carbohydrates, and fats, are not used up, leading to their 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 may reach a stage where his daily routine does not happen without drinking.
7. Sedation and death
- Alcohol is a sedative; at lower doses. But heavy consumption can lead to coma and death.
8. Accidents and social trouble.
- Socially alcohol has much impact as there can be accidents due to drinking and driving.
- Also, one can lose his senses and misbehave, causing trouble for others. Besides, a costly drink so can put an economic burden on low-income people.
9. Alcohol poisoning
When taken in large amounts, it could be harmful and leads to toxicity. The toxicity is categorized into two types as
- Acute poisoning
- Chronic 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 this is to take him to the hospital. The person is given respiratory support and other measures to save their life.
Chronic alcohol intoxication
Here the intoxication occurs due to the long-standing intake of alcohol. The person becomes addicted to it, so he does not get the euphoria at normal doses and tends to take large doses.
This can lead to organ damage and death. Hence, he has to be discouraged from consuming any amount of alcohol further.