ALCOHOL LEADS TO PHYSICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL DAMAGES
DR. S. M. ALAM
Nov 21 - 27, 2011
Alcohol is a liquid generated by the fermentation of sugar or the other saccharine matter (fruits, grains etc.) and forming the intoxicating element of fermented liquors.
Fermentation is a process that uses yeast or bacteria to change the sugars in the food into alcohol. Fermentation is used to produce many necessary items - everything from cheese to medications. Alcohol has different forms and can be used as a cleaner, an antiseptic, or a sedative.
When people drink alcohol, it's absorbed into their bloodstream. From there, it affects the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), which controls virtually all body functions.
Because experts now know that the human brain is still developing during our teens (age between thirteen to nineteen), scientists are researching the effects drinking alcohol can have on the teen brain.
During the early days of Islam, the consumption of liquor, just like other ills and evils of society, was prevalent. When Rasulullah (PBUH) migrated from Makkah to Madinah, he found that the Madinites were also indulging in drinking.
The masses were so attracted by the superficial and deceptive benefits offered by drinking that their minds became oblivious of the harmful effects and the evils lurking within these addictions. To prevent the consumption of alcohol, the following verses of three different Surahs of the Holy Quran were revealed:
i). They ask you O Muhammad (PBUH) about alcoholic drink and gambling. Say "In them is a great sin and (some) benefits for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit". (Surah, Al-Baqarah 2, Verse-219).
ii). "O Believers' do not approach the prayer when you are in a drunken state until you know the meaning of what you utter". (Surah An-Nisa 4 ,Verse 43)
iii). 'O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling and Al-Ansab and Al-Azlam (arrows for seeking help on decision) are an abomination of Shaitan's handiwork. So avoid that in order that you may be successful. (Surah Al-Maidah 5, Verse-90).
iv) Shaitan (Satan) seeks only to cast amongst you enmity and hatred by means of strong drink and gambling and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from His worship, will you then not refrain?" (Surah Al-Maidah 5, Verse 91).
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, although in smaller amounts it may appear to have a mild stimulant effect. The main psychoactive ingredient in alcoholic beverages is ethyl alcohol, produced through the fermentation of sugar by yeast. Alcoholic drinks vary in strength, e.g. beer and alcoholic sodas (1-9 per cent alcohol), wines (10-15 per cent) and spirits (35-55 per cent).
Ction of the central nervous system. Alcohol actually blocks some of the messages trying to get to the brain. This alters a person's perceptions, emotions, movement, vision, and hearingIn very small amounts, alcohol can help a person feel more relaxed or less anxious. More alcohol causes greater changes in the brain, resulting in intoxication. People who have overused alcohol may stagger, lose their coordination, and slur their speech. They will probably be confused and disoriented. Depending on the person, intoxication can make someone very friendly and talkative or very aggressive and angry. Reaction times are slowed dramatically - which is why people are told not to drink and drive. People who are intoxicated may think they're moving properly when they're not. They may act totally out of character.
When large amounts of alcohol are consumed in a short period of time, alcohol poisoning can result. Alcohol poisoning is exactly what it sounds like - the body has become poisoned by large amounts of alcohol. Violent vomiting is usually the first symptom of alcohol poisoning. Extreme sleepiness, unconsciousness, difficulty breathing, dangerously low blood sugar, seizures, and even death may result.
WHY DO TEENS DRINK?
Experimentation with alcohol during the teen years is common. Some reasons that teens use alcohol and other drugs are:
* to feel good, reduce stress, and relax
* to fit in
* to feel older
From a very young age, kids see advertising messages showing beautiful people enjoying life - and alcohol. And because many parents and other adults use alcohol socially - having beer or wine with dinner, for example - alcohol seems harmless to many teens.
WHY SHOULDN'T I DRINK?
Although it's illegal to buy alcohol in the United States until the age of 21, most teens can get access to it. It's therefore up to you to make a decision about drinking. In addition to the possibility of becoming addicted, there are some downsides to drinking:
The punishment is severe. Teens who drink put themselves at risk for obvious problems with the law (it's illegal; you can get arrested). Teens who drink are also more likely to get into fights and commit crimes than those who don't.
People who drink regularly also often have problems with school. Drinking can damage a student's ability to study well and get decent grades, as well as affect sports performance (the coordination thing).
You can look really stupid. The impression is that drinking is cool, but the nervous system changes that come from drinking alcohol can make people do stupid or embarrassing things, like throwing up or peeing on themselves. Drinking also gives people bad breath, and no one enjoys a hangover.
Alcohol puts your health at risk. Teens who drink are more likely to be sexually active and to have unsafe, unprotected sex. Resulting pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases can change - or even end - lives. The risk of injuring yourself, maybe even fatally, is higher when you're under the influence, too. One half of all drowning deaths among teen guys are related to alcohol use. Use of alcohol greatly increases the chance that a teen will be involved in a car crash, homicide, or suicide.
Teen drinkers are more likely to get fat or have health problems, too. One study by the University of Washington found that people who regularly had five or more drinks in a row starting at age 13 were much more likely to be overweight or have high blood pressure by age 24 than their nondrinking peers. People who continue drinking heavily well into adulthood risk damaging their organs, such as the liver, heart, and brain.
The most commonly used alcohol is ethanol. Ethanol has been produced and consumed by humans for millennia, in the form of fermented and distilled alcoholic beverages. It is a clear flammable liquid that boils at 78.4 ∞C, which is used as an industrial solvent, car fuel, and raw material in the chemical industry.
In the US and some other countries, because of legal and tax restrictions on alcohol consumption, ethanol destined for other uses often contains additives that make it unpalatable or poisonous (such as methanol).
Ethanol in this form is known generally as denatured alcohol; when methanol is used, it may be referred to as methylated spirits or "surgical spirits".
The simplest alcohol is methanol, which was formerly obtained by the distillation of wood and, therefore, is called "wood alcohol". It is a clear liquid resembling ethanol in smell and properties, with a slightly lower boiling point (64.7 ∞C), and is used mainly as a solvent, fuel, and raw material.
Unlike ethanol, methanol is extremely toxic: One sip (as little as 10 ml) can cause permanent blindness by destruction of the optic nerve and 30 ml (one fluid ounce) is potentially fatal.
Red wine, in particular, contains flavonoids that act as antioxidants, which help to reduce the build-up of atherosclerosis (when fat builds up on the inner walls of arteries). Red wine seems to help maintain the flexibility of the blood vessel walls.
Chronic alcohol use is one of the major causes of liver cirrhosis (irreversible scarring of the liver). This happens because healthy liver cells die and the dead cells are replaced by fibrous tissue. The liver plays a central role in many essential body functions including the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, detoxification and excretion of waste products from the body.
Scarred tissue cannot function like healthy tissue so this condition can be life threatening if not treated early enough.
Stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal complications, as well as fertility problems, weight gain, and depletion of certain vitamins and minerals can all be caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
Some of the long-term effects of drinking more than the recommended guidelines include brain injury, loss of memory, shock, cancer, high blood pressure, gastritis, ulcers, bleeding, severe swelling and pain, cirrhosis, hepatitis, and liver cancer.
The effects of mixing alcohol with other drugs including over-the-counter or prescribed medications can be unpredictable and dangerous. Drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis together can increase the chances the unpleasant effects including nausea, vomiting, and feelings of panic, anxiety and paranoia. Disagreements and frustration over alcohol use can cause family arguments and affect personal relationships. Legal and health problems can also add to the strain on personal, financial, and work relationships.
At low levels of drinking, there is little difference between men and women. However, at higher levels of drinking: women are at a greater risk of developing an alcohol-related disease such as cancers, diabetes, and obesity. Men are at a greater risk of an alcohol-related injury such as a car accident, assault, dystrophy, delirium, amnesia, and violence.
People who drink heavily on a regular basis may become dependent on alcohol. They may also develop a tolerance to it, which means they need to drink larger amounts of alcohol to get the same effect. Dependence on alcohol can be physical, psychological, or both. Physical dependence occurs when a person's body adapts to alcohol and gets used to functioning with it present. Through alcohol, the stomach gradually loses its ability to function properly, causes loss of appetite, spoils ones facial features, makes one age quicker, weakens and reduces the ability to think and speak properly, and causes heart failure.