Alcohol is known to the humans from very ancient period.
Alcohol basically 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 in a large-scale under strict government regulations.
Even to minimize the misuse, governments levy heavy excise taxes and also employ excise officer to check the alcohol production, transport and usage in the society.
Of-course tax on alcoholic beverages is one of the biggest source of revenue to the governments in some countries.
Advantages of alcohol consumption:
Many of them consume alcohol in western countries whereas the people and especially youngsters in Asian countries are in dilemma about it. People who prefer it believe that advantages of alcohol consumption are as below.
1. Relieves mental stress: It is believed to give relief from mental tension after daily activities. Hence consumption provides relief from it.
2. Provide better sleep. Alcohol has a sedative effect and hence drinking alcohol promotes sleepiness.
3. Increases in appetite. Alcohol rises blood flow to the stomach and gut and also a slight irritant locally. This property rises hunger and there by food consumption.
4. Keeps body warm in winter and cold conditions. it rises blood flow to the skin and there by produces warmth.
5. Helps put on weight to those who want to. Alcohol produces a high amount of calories by metabolism in the body and there by adds to fat content of the body. Advantageous to those who are slim.
6. Helps neglect severe pain: During an injury or accident, alcohol intake can make the person less sensitive to physical pain. Because those centers in brain which feel the pain are sedated.
Benefits of alcohol:
It is a good anti-septic, disinfectant and sterilizing agent. At 70% concentration it is an effective disinfectant to kill all the germs. Hence it is incorporated in most of the deodorants and antiperspirants. It is also believed to reduce sweating.
It is a good preservative. Alcohol presence in any medical preparations is a good preservative as seen in homeo drugs preparations. Drugs or medical preparations stay safe for a long time.
Astringent: It precipitates and denatures surface proteins making tissues soft. In long-term bed ridden patients, it is used to harden bony surfaces of the back.
Cooling agent: Alcohol acts as a refrigerant by cooling the surface applied to. When a pack immersed in alcohol is placed on 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 loses self-control on the body and there by leads to accidents.
2. Damage to liver: Heavy consumption can damage the body organs and systems. Especially liver, stomach, brain are affected. It can also lead to cardiovascular troubles and Blood pressure etc. So having protein rich diet is necessary to rejuvenate the liver.
3. Nerve damage: It causes slow and progressive degeneration of nervous system. Alcohol in chemical terms is highly lipophylic i.e. it can penetrate well into fatty tissues like brain. At high concentrations, it can itself damage the neurons.
4. Leads to obesity. It can put on excess weight. This is due to low consumption of carbohydrates taken in the form of food. Alcohol by itself can from energy molecule ATP and provide calories to body. So other calorie generating food especially carbohydrates and fats are not used up. This leads to accumulation and weight gain.
5. Addictive: It is an addictive and people are prone to it. Leading to disturbance in normal life style.
6. Sedation and death: Alcohol is a sedative, moderate drinking is not a risk. But on further heavy consumption it 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 to others. Besides it a costly drink so can put 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 occurs due o 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 hospital. The person is given respiratory support and other measures to save the life of person.
Chronic alcohol intoxication: Here the intoxication occurs due to 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 prevented from further intake of alcohol.