Effects of Drinking Alcohol

                Drinking alcohol is like taking a drug. It is a form of drug abuse, and drug addiction. This is a worldwide problem that many people are involved in. There are good effects of alcohol if it is in small amounts, and in moderation. On the other hand there are bad short and long term effects. The effects that a person will get are all based on certain factors like, how much and how often alcohol is consumed, the age of the person, when the person started and how long they have been drinking for,  gender, their family history and last but not least based on their health.
            Lately scientists have been saying that a little bit of alcohol with dinner is not only okay but it is also good for you. This is true in moderation.  They say that if you drink a small amount of alcohol it will help you sleep. Also if you drink a moderate amount every day it can help your health in the long run. A moderate amount is considered to be 1 drink for women daily and 2 drinks for men daily. This can help bring your HDL level up, which helps protect your heart against disease that causes heart attacks. Also a moderate amount of alcohol everyday can lower your risk of developing diabetes by increasing your insulin sensitivity. It can also raise ‘good cholesterol’ levels. In the long run they have said that for women it helps keep the mind sharp in later years. Now when they talk about having a helpful amount of alcohol they mean small doses of it a day with a meal, so that the absorption rate is slowed down. Now this doesn’t mean that a person should start drinking for the benefits that it gives, it just means that if you drink in moderation already it could be slightly helpful to you in the future.
            If you take advantage of that and drink in excess there are effects that you should be aware of. Contrary to some beliefs, alcohol is a depressant. This is the opposite of a stimulator, meaning that it calms you down, and slows down some organs in your body. Alcohol therefore has short term effects on your body. With about 0.05% blood- alcohol level you start to get dulled judgment and your inhibitions are released. After that stage you start to get clumsy and will have slurred speech with about a 0.10% blood-alcohol level. Once you come close to unconsciousness you have a 0.30% blood-alcohol level. After that point it starts to get dangerous, because you can go into a coma at 0.45%, and then at 0.70% the brain starts to shut off and stop controlling things like breathing, and your heart, which will end up in death. These facts are not meant to scare you, because most people can’t drink past 0.40% because they are asleep. Some other short term effects include blackouts, where you can’t remember what happened, and insomnia, where you can’t fall asleep. While you are drinking you will be less alert, less aware of your surroundings, lose your muscular coordination, have difficulty walking, have blurred vision, and have slow reaction times. This can lead to accidents, injuries, and death. Also after drinking you may get a hangover the next morning which will include effects like headaches, nausea, thirst, heartburn, dizziness, and fatigue. If you are not careful with the amount of alcohol that you drink you can get some bad side-effects.
            Once you start to become addicted to alcohol you are considered an alcoholic. There are many long term effects that come along with drinking lots of alcohol for a prolonged amount of time. Drinking alcohol like this will damage your organs, like the brain, liver, stomach, intestines, and heart. The brain is affected, because brain cells die which leads to memory loss, confusion, learning difficulties, problems with attention, and brain disorders. The liver is effected, because cancer can develop there, and also in the mouth and throat. The stomach may acquire ulcers. From prolonged drinking you can have a stroke, or have heart failure. The nervous system can also get damaged, and when this happens the person will get physical and behavioral problems. Impaired vision can also be a result of this type of drinking. It also affects your health. One reason for this is because alcohol is high in calories which can lead to obesity. Another reason is that poor nutrition normally comes side by side with lots of drinking. This could be because the alcohol interferes with the absorption and storage of the vitamins you get. Also the water soluble minerals get lost because of the increased urination that happens. Because of the lowered health you also have a lowered resistance to infections. Some other less serious effects of prolonged drinking are vomiting, profuse sweating, hallucinations, tremors, and sleep disturbances. All of these problems can quickly lead to injury to oneself or to others, violence, and death. Also it leads to a loss of employment, and a loss of family life. If you are addicted to alcohol or drink a lot of alcohol for a long period of time you will shorten your life span by about 12 years, and get a lot of serious side-effects. 
            In conclusion alcohol can affect your life in a good or bad way depending on how you drink, how often you drink, and how much you drink. It is better to drink in moderation, and responsibly. This normally means drinking only 1 to 2 glasses a day with a meal, and to also have a healthy diet that goes along with that. Otherwise the health benefits of drinking alcohol are gone, and replaced with some horrible side-effects. Everyone can make their own decision on what drinking in moderation is and what drinking responsibly means, but everyone should be informed with the facts.

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