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Article Summary


Alcohol is created when a variety of different types of grains, fruits, or vegetables are fermented. The fermentation process is one that uses yeast or bacteria for the purpose of transforming the sugars in the food into alcohol. The fermentation process is utilized in order to produce many necessary items, from cheese to various different types of medications.

Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse cuts across all races, nationalities, and socioeconomic classes. Millions of people throughout portions of the United States, reportedly 1 in every 12 adults, abuse alcohol. According to government statistics, more men than women struggle with alcoholism in the U.S.; additionally, the group with the highest rates of alcohol abuse is reported to be among young adults that are between the ages of 18-29, and the lowest rates are among adults that are over the age of 65. A large body of research has indicated that people who start drinking at age 13 or younger, greatly increase the chance that they will develop alcoholism at some later point in their lives. Drinking alcohol for many people is nothing more than just a pleasant way to relax; however, when a person loses control over their drinking, the problem can perpetuate itself into acohol abuse and alcoholism. Problem drinking has multiple causes, including physiological, psychological and various different social factors. For some alcohol users, low self-esteem, impulsiveness and anxiety in social situations may prompt inappropriate drinking habits. Certain social and environmental factors, such as peer pressure and easy access to alcohol can also play key roles; additionally, physical or sexual abuse have been reported to increase the odds of a person developing alcoholism.

Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol is absorbed by the stomach, enters the bloodstream, and travels throughout the body, eventually reaching the brain. When alcohol reaches the bloodstream, it creates affects on the central nervous system, which controls all body functions. The effects of alcohol use are generally dependent on numerous different factors, including a person's size, weight, age, and sex, as well as the amount of alcohol that is consumed. Even when alcohol is ingested in low doses, it significantly impairs judgment and coordination, which are both required in order to be able to drive a vehicle safely. Low to moderate doses of alcohol have often been reported to increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including incidents of domestic violence and child abuse. Other effects of moderate to heavy alcohol use often include slurred speech, a disruption in sleeping patterns, nausea, and vomiting. Hangovers will commonly occur after large amounts of alcohol have been consumed; a hangover will generally include symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, and fatigue. Prolonged, heavy use of alcohol will often lead to an alcohol dependency problem (alcoholism). The abrupt cessation of alcohol after chronic long-term use is likely to produce painful and debilitating withdrawal symptoms; these uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms may include severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, seizures, or even death without professional medical assistance. The long-term effects of consuming large quantities of alcohol often leads to permanent damage to the brain and the liver; additionally, women who drink alcohol during pregnancy have often been reported to give birth to infants that suffer from mental retardation or other various types of physical abnormalities. Alcohol is a depressant, which means that ingesting it will slow down the functions of the central nervous system. Alcohol use blocks some of the messages that are trying to get to the brain, which can alter the user's perceptions, movement, vision, and hearing. This is the reason that many people after drinking large amounts of alcohol may think they are executing their physical movement properly when in fact, they are not. The disinhibition effect of alcohol is the primary reason that it is used by so many individuals in social situations.

Effects of Alcohol in Women

Women will become more intoxicated then men, even after drinking the same amount of alcohol; this is because women have less water in their bodies than men do. Because alcohol mixes with body water, the exact same amount of alcohol will become more highly concentrated in a woman's body than in a man's. To put it in simple terms, it would be like dropping the same amount of alcohol into a much smaller pail of water; thus, the recommended drinking limit for women is lower than for men. In addition, chronic alcohol abuse has been reported to take a much heavier physical toll on women than on men. Alcoholism and other related medical problems, such as brain, heart, and liver damage, have also been reported to progress more rapidly in women than in men.

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning can be the serious and potentially fatal consequence of drinking large amounts of liquor, over a short period of time. Binge drinking, which is drinking 4 or more drinks in one event, is reported to be the primary cause of alcohol poisoning. Violent vomiting is generally the most obvious sign of alcohol poisoning; other symptoms of alcohol poisoning may include extreme drowsiness, unconsciousness, difficulty breathing, seizures, and possibly death. An individual with alcohol poisoning should receive immediate emergency medical help; this type of emergency treatment may include breathing support and intravenous fluids that will be usually continue to be administered until the alcohol is completely out of the body.

Alcoholism Treatment

People that develop am alcohol addiction problem will rarely be able to stop drinking on their own; the good news is that there are many alcohol rehab programs throughout the United States, that can help you or your loved one to recover.

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