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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Consequences of alcohol consumption

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 The Social Environment

A study of the World Health Organisation reveals that alcohol is at the root of about 2.5 million deaths per year. These deaths account for 3.8 per cent of the total deaths that happen per year. These deaths comprise heart diseases, Cancer, accident and suicides due to consumption of alcohol.

Alcohol causes loss of 69.4 million disability adjusted life years (DALYS) annually in the world. The disability adjusted life year means “one year lost out of a healthy life.”

What is alcohol? Well, Alcohol, chemically, is ethanol which is a drug. It has been classified as a sedative, tranquillizer, hypnotic or anaesthetic. These classifications of properties of alcohol depend on their volumes consumed by a person. 

The abuse of alcohol is a societal problem though many societies has legal acceptance for it. Alcohol is prepared and consumed in different methods and forms.

In the tribal areas of Jharkhand state of India specific liquor is prepared out of rice by mixing some chemical in it. It is called as Handia. For some tribal people especially for ladies, Handia selling is a profession. However, educated tribals are discouraging its consumption now days.

The Dishom Guru of Jharkhand Shri Shibu Soren, the former Chief Minister of the state nick named as Guruji has asked tribals of Jharkhand not to touch Handia or other liquor and to keep themselves away from these evils.

The awareness that alcohol and Handia are roots of many evils and diseases, have already reformed numerous tribal families in the state. The Christian machineries have played a good role in making the people aware of many of the evils except these ones through education and religious trainings.

Alcohol is the only drug whose self reduced intoxication is socially acceptable. The consumption of alcohol affects all the organs of our body systems. If someone has the habit of regular consumption of alcohol in large volumes he is sure to have cardiac as well as liver problems. Some of the cardiac problems that are created by heavy consumption of alcohol are arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats, cardiomyopathy or enlarged heart etc. It raises blood pressure which leads to alcohol induced hypertension.

Alcoholism starts as a bad habitat. Gradually it takes the form of addiction and later a progressive illness. It damages Central Nervous System (CNS) which leads to many dysfunctions of varying degrees such as – deficit cognitive functioning, dementia etc. Those who remain on prolonged drinking are prone to strokes – a condition of hemorrhages Or deficient blood supply to brain.
A number of psychiatric symptoms also arise due to heavy consumption of alcohol. These symptoms include anxiety, depression, confusion, panic disorders, bipolar disorders and narcissism. Those who are chronic alcoholics suffer from a disorders of peripheral nerves called as Polynuropathy.

Heavy drinking brings about another serious disease called as skeletal myopathy. It is irreversible. Besides these, alcohol is also responsible for the cancer of esophagus and chronic gastritis. Chronic pancreatitis also develops in heavy consumers.

About 20 percent drinkers suffer from liver problems like fatty infiltration, hepatitis and cirrhosis. These persons suffer from jaundice, abdominal pain, edema in different parts of the body, enlarged breast in men and atrophy of testes. Male features may develop in women drinkers. These may suffer from menstrual problems. Long term consumption of alcohol may lead to impotence in men and other sexual complications. Fetal alcoholic syndrome may develop in infants born to alcoholic women.

What happens when you leave alcohol? Well, anxiety, fits, sleep problems (delirium tremors – dt).

Bad impacts of alcohol consumption in a nut shell -

  • Disorders of central nervous system or brain
  • Symptoms of Psychiatric problems
  • Cardio-vascular diseases and High Blood Pressure
  • Problems of breathing
  • Sleep disorders
  • Chronic liver diseases, pancreatitis and gastritis
  • Sexual and reproductive disorders
  • Bone and joint ailments
  • Inefficiency at work place, poor performance, frequent absence, accidents and suspension from service
  • Frequent fights, neglect of family responsibilities, violence with family members, running away from home and responsibilities, and rejection at family front
  • Distance from friends, misbehavior and bad social reputation, loss of position and isolation in society, borrowing, and low self esteem on social front
  • Disobey of rules and laws, drunken driving, theft and petty crimes, involvement with criminal gangs, arrest by the police and court cases.
Key words: Alcohol, ethanol, consumption, bad impacts, drug, sexual disorders, sleeplessness

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