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Alcohol is consumed by all cultures around the globe and is often used to aid in social events and promotes happiness and “partying”, it is popular, generally accepted and legal. But it is the most widely consumed drug worldwide.
What is Alcohol?
Ethanol is the only type of alcohol that one can consume without immediate serious damage. It is found in beer, wine and liquor like whiskey, gin, vodka, etc.. Many believe that alcohol is not a drug but it is in fact a psychoactive drug that has a depressant effect, it affects the central nervous system, psyche and mental faculties. It also influences how the person thinks, feels or acts and perceives the world around them.
Excessive alcohol drinking or abuse effects:
- liver disease
- neurological and cardiovascular problems
Long-term effects of heavy drinking:
- brain and nerve damage
- high blood pressure and strokes
- liver disease
- damage to the fetus, for pregnant women
- diseases of the stomach, digestive system and pancreas
- breast cancer and throat cancer
- low sex hormone levels
- alcohol dependence
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms:
- nervousness and jumpy
- sleep problems
- tremors (the “shakes”)
- Hallucinations (think they hear or see things that are not there).
Alcohol lessens the nerve activity that controls reflex actions of the body such as breathing and the gag reflex (which prevents choking). A fatal dose of alcohol will eventually stop these functions. Because alcohol is a stomach irritant people drinking alcohol excessively will vomit, a person who is unconscious or in a semi-conscious state because of intoxication can choke on vomit and die of asphyxiation.
Also a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can rise even if passed out. The alcohol content in the stomach and intestine will continue to enter the bloodstream and circulate through the body even after one has stopped drinking; Assuming that a person will be fine by sleeping it off is a dangerous gamble.
Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning:
- Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or person cannot be waken.
- Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths).
- Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute).
- Hypothermia (colder body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness.
What To Do If Alcohol Poisoning is Suspected?
If there is any suspicion of an alcohol overdose do not wait for all symptoms to be present to act. Be aware that a person’s life is in danger when passed out from to much drinking, call 911 for help and advice.
Alcohol Statistics in the USA
The most common addictive substance in the United States is alcohol. There are 17.6 million people, one in every 12 adults, who suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence and there are millions more practicing dangerous drinking habits that could lead them to alcohol problems. A majority of adults have a family history of alcoholism or alcohol abuse and an estimated 2 percent of children have at least one parent who is dependent or has abused alcohol.