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Alcohol - Causes and Effects.

Alcohol, the ordinary name for a substance called ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, or pure spirits (chemical name, ethanol). Ethyl Alcohol, or ethanol, is formed as wine or hard cider by the fermentation of any sweet fruit juice. An alcoholic drink is any beverage that contains ethyl alcohol in intoxicating quantities. The amount of alcohol may be as little as 2 percent, as in beers, and or as much as 68 percent as in absinthe.

Alcoholic content in most alcoholic beverages is measured in proof, which is half of the actual content of alcohol content of alcohol in the drink. An example is a 90 proof whiskey actually only contains 45 percent alcohol. Beer is one of the beverages containing the lowest proof. They range from 2 to 6 percent. Wines have anywhere from 14 percent or less. Fortified wines which have other alcoholic beverages included will be in a higher range.

Alcoholism is a disease in which the drinking of alcoholic beverages becomes a compulsion and produces characteristic symptoms in the individual. Scientists do not know the true link between alcohol and the alcoholic. Investigations have found that alcoholics use alcohol as a means of escape for the day to day pressures of everyday life. They feel that they cannot cope without the alcohol in their system. Not all alcoholics are "drunks". An alcoholic can come from any walk of life and be of any age and ethnic group. What signifies an alcoholic is his need to consume alcohol. Some alcoholics don't even like the taste of alcohol but will still continue to consume the drink in order to cope with life.

Side Effects:

Alcohol is a depressant which acts on the control centers of the brain to depress them.

A common picture of acute intoxication is of:

  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Unsteady gait
  • Possible hallucinations

A chronic drinker may experience more severe side effects or even death. One of the side effects is:

Korsakoff's Psychosis:
Confusion; hallucinations; development of various kinds of paralyses; development of gaps in memory in which the individual will fill in by telling fantastic experiences in a most plausible way; he may also experience mental illnesses; he may also develop organic diseases - one being the affliction to the liver.

Two out of 3 murders, 1 of 3 rapes, 1 out of 3 suicides, 2 out of 5 assaults, and 3 out of 5 cases of child abuse are connected to the use of alcohol. One out of 2 deaths by fire and drowning are alcohol related, as are 2 out of 5 home accidents. 25,000 American's die in alcohol related crashes every year, or 1 out of 2 fatalities.

One out of 2 in-patients in our city hospitals are there because of an alcohol related problem and 40,000 young adults are disfigured by alcohol related car accidents each year.

"If alcohol would have been invented today, you would need a prescription to obtain it or perhaps it would be outlawed completely," Teen challenge of Southern California.

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