Alcohol is a compound of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, which can be combined together in many different ways. There are many different kinds of alcohol, the commonest being called ethyl alcohol. Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is present in varying amounts in beers and wines, and in distilled liquors such as whiskey, gin, and rum. Alcohol consumption touches many million people around the world. The use of alcohol depends on an individual’s social, cultural, or religious background.
One of the earliest mentions of wine making is from an Egyptian papyrus dated 3,500 BC. However, alcohol drinking is thought to go back almost as far as the human race does. Alcohol has been central to social, religious and personal use all over the world throughout history.
When an individual consumes alcohol there are both short term and long term effects.
The most immediate effect of alcohol consumption is change of mood. Even though alcohol is makes you feel excitement, happiness and relaxation it is in fact a depressant. Alcohol in the bloodstream causes impairment of motor co-ordination and slows down central nervous system activity, which gives the impression of clumsiness and can lead to alcohol related accidents. The more intoxicated a person has slurred speech, blurred vision and the loss of balance. Furthermore it switches off the part of the brain that controls judgment which can result in greater risk taking. However drinking in very large quantities can damage vital bodily functions which may lead to coma, or even death.
Alcohol also impairs the memory of an intoxicated person which reduces the drinker’s ability to remember information that he or she has learned before going out for drinks. In addition, the attention span of the drinker radically decreases for periods of up to forty-eight hours after drinking. This may affect the academic performance of a student and his or her ability to study in class. Furthermore consumption of alcohol can damage the functioning of the immune system. Hence, this will increase the chance of getting colds and other diseases.
Drinking for long periods of time can have harmful effects on the body, alcohol is in fact a poisonous substance, having it circulating in the body will contribute to severe intestinal dysfunction. However, alcohol alone is not the sole cause of these problems; it simply increases the risk of developing certain diseases/dysfunction.
There is no denying the fact that, Alcohol use is in excess in our culture. Alcohol has been legally promoted to the point where most people rely on alcoholic beverages in order to have a good time. This is to our cultural shame. Although most people will refute this claim; Rare is the occasion where alcohol is not present. Few and far between are the restaurants and entertainment facilities that do not provide and promote the drinking of alcoholic beverages, and are willing to allow patrons to drink till they are drunk. Despite numerous ads promoting ‘designated drivers’, all to often the driver is intoxicated, and is a potential danger to himself, his passengers and other traffic and pedestrians.
View any advertisement for alcohol and you will see that they promote drinking as the means to a ‘good time’. And the ad companies have done a very good job, especially towards the youth. Teenage drinking is on the increase. Alcoholism is on the increase.
Alcohol dependency and alcohol misuse can ruin families, careers, marriages and lives. It is time to rethink our own values concerning the drinking of alcohol, the promotion of alcohol, and the availability of alcoholic beverages. I am not advocating prohibition; only responsibility, and asking the question, “What influence does my drinking habit have on my family, my friends and my work.?”

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