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The Effects Of Alcohol

The word “alcohol” generally refers to ethanol, also known as grain alcohol or (older) spirits of wine. Ethanol is a strong-smelling, colorless, volatile liquid formed by the fermentation of sugars. It also often refers to any beverage that contains ethanol.

It is generally believed that alcohol is a ‘stimulant’ as it gives a temporary ‘high’ feeling. On the contrary, alcohol is really a depressant i.e. a drug that slows down or depresses the brain. When taken in small quantities it depresses that part of the brain that controls inhibitions, and consequently the person feels relaxed. Any increase in quantity further affects the other areas of the central nervous system, resulting in various physiological and psychological problems. This is where alcohol consumption becomes not only a personal issue but also a social problem. Alcohol takes over the complete personality of a person. He knows not what he speaks, thinks or acts thereby affecting his behaviour vis-à-vis others.

Alcohol repeatedly taken in large doses over a long period adversely affects both the longevity and quality of life. Alcohol gets immediately absorbed into the bloodstream directly and travels to all parts of the body affecting heart rate, blood pressure, appetite, gastric secretions, kidneys, liver; etc. The body becomes so much accustomed to the presence of alcohol that as soon as the intake of alcohol is stopped, withdrawal symptoms appear. These symptoms range from sleep disturbances, mild tremors, hallucinations and convulsions to death in extreme cases.

The psychological dependence in the long run is such that even a temporarily non-availability of it tends to produce anxiety and feelings of pain. An alcoholic often displays suicidal tendencies due to acute depression, frustration, disillusionment with life and loss of self-control. He might frequently become violent in behaviour and in a fit of rage may physically harm others. Thus many a times criminal inclination is associated with alcoholism.

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