Alcohol Effects-Myths and Realities (Part-1)

alcohol_involved_crash_400_wht_10320Gearing up for a new year and a new start. Though most of our New Year resolutions are not fulfilled, yet we continue to take new ones every year with the hope that this year would be different.You might be one of the million who make different resolutions,pertaining to alcohol,some say I will leave-to start again,some I will reduce-to drink more,all these resolutions actually fad after initial aura of dawning enthusiasm. Alcohol has a very complex role in most of the societies.Most of us drink alcohol for enjoyment,relaxation and sociability but a substantial chunk of people drink beyond what we call as chronic alcoholics. Alcohol has been there since time immortal and so are myths related to it.
WHO reports-

  • 2.5 million deaths globally due to alcohol with 320000 young deaths between age group of 15 and 29,resulting in 9% death in this group.
  • Alcohol and related diseases are the third largest risk factor for disease burden,eating away billions of dollars which could have been saved otherwise for other purposes.
  • Alcohol misuse costs the National Health Service (UK) 3 billion pounds every year and the cost to employers is 6.4 billion pounds per year. These data do not include the crime and social problems associated with alcohol misuse.
  • Alcoholism plays a significant role in violence,child neglect and abuse,domestic violence and absenteeism from work.
  • Alcohol is one of the key factor in major road traffic accidents,violence and suicide.
    1.Alcohol intake isn’t harmful to my body.
  • Loads of material have been published to debunk this myth,while many say moderate drinking is OK,a peg or two is OK.Beer is better then Wine,Vodka is better then Scotch,etc.In reality even a peg is harmful to body,since body is capable to minimize the effect if it’s moderate/occasional drinking ,it is unable to do so if it’s heavy and abusive drinking or in case of certain medical or surgical ailments.
      2.My social circle will collapse-they will think weird of me.
  • Friends are your friends,no matter what may come.Initially there might be hurdles,but then people will appreciate your cause. Understand one thing –most of the people want to quit of any ill habit they are cling to,they just want a motivation or a company to start with.
     3. Alcohol –a wonderful stress buster. beach_chiar_pc_400_wht_3539
  • A drink or two,under health regulators prescribed limits might help you in a short run but once you surpass this limit regularly alcohol starts taking its toll on your health ,alcohol in fact is a depressant,which actually slows down your brains ability to think and work properly.
  • Alcohol contribute to depression,anxiety,insomnia,etc. making it harder for people to deal with stress. Someone carved these words“It doesn’t matter whether one is facing redundancy at work or having a sore relationship-consuming alcohol is no good for dealing with stress.”
  • In fact there are number of psychiatric ailments which are related alcoholism-depression,dysthymia,mania,hypomania,panic disorders,phobias,generalized anxiety disorders,schizophrenia ,list is not exhaustive.
     4. Beer is good for health:-
  • If you measure drinks by rationalizing percentage of alcohol content then all drinks are equally harmful or intoxicating. Some say beer is helpful in flushing out kidney stones-Beer does not break/dilute stones,it is just the diuretic property of beer which might help,but drinking lots of water will also have same effect.No clinical data what so ever is available to back this theory regarding this,instead drinking lots of beer can cause formation of new stones due to high quantity of minerals,etc. in beer.
    5.Alcohol makes sex better.-A myth again.
  • In Men-Alcohol consumption inhibits production of “Hormone Testosterone”-necessary for libido and physical arousal.Numerous studies have shown that alcohol intoxication is widely responsible for decrease male’s masturbatory effectiveness meaning decrease in sexual arousal,intensity and difficulty in attaining orgasm.
  • In Women- Alcohol increases sexual arousal and desire, although it does lower the physiological signs of arousal. Women have a different response to alcohol intoxication. Studies have shown that acute alcohol consumption tends to cause increased levels of testosterone and estradiol. Since testosterone controls in part the strength of libido on women, this tends to cause an increase in interest in sex. Also, because women have a higher percentage of body fat and less water in their bodies, alcohol can have a quicker, more severe impact. Women’s bodies take longer to process the alcohol which often takes one-third longer to eliminate the substance.Alcohol is considered by some women to be a sexual “disinhibitor”.
    6.Diabetes can be kept at bay with regular drinking:-
  • Instead Alcohol is one of the major contributing factor for diabetes.Alcohol is readily absorbed in the body,studies conducted have shown that alcohol ingestion, leads to over-eating and unhealthy eating damaging liver,kidneys ,pancreas and every other organ in some way or other.
    7.Pregnancy has no effect of Alcohol:-A reference from Australian Guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol regarding pregnancy and lactating mother says-
  • Maternal alcohol consumption can harm the developing fetus or breastfeeding baby. Neurodevelopment abnormalities than prematurity,miscarriage,still birth or reduce low levels of maternal alcohol consumption.
    List is endless,I have tried to compile most specific myths,any further quires to this or any other post are welcome.
    Subsequent post on Alcohol will be related to –
  • Cutting Alcohol intake – myths and realities.
  • Alcohol Abuse Treatment-myths and realities.
    *Tips-cut down together,ditch he round,go for quality over quantity,organize alcohol free days.

Let this hope survive as hope is the string that binds us all.

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