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Alcohol is always seen as something that is amazing. You see alcohol all over, commercials, restaurants, movies etc. Alcohol is portrayed as good and fun, but alcohol also has some negative side effects. 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 finally based on their health.
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. Scientists 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 classified as 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 a disease that causes heart attacks. Alcohol in a moderate amount every day can lower your risk of developing diabetes by increasing your insulin sensitivity. Alcohol can also raise your cholesterol levels in a positive way. In the long run, a scientist has said that for women alcohol helps keep the mind sharp in later years. Now when people 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.
Now alcohol isn’t all positive for your health. If you take advantage of drinking and drink in excess amounts, 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 an individual, 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.
At lower doses, alcohol can act as a stimulant, inducing feelings of euphoria and talkativeness, but drinking too much alcohol at one session can lead to drowsiness, respiratory depression, where breathing becomes slow, shallow or stops entirely, coma or even death. Alcohol also has its acute and potentially lethal sedative effect at high doses, alcohol has effects on every organ in the body, and these effects depend on the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over time. 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. After a drink is swallowed, the alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the blood (20 percent through the stomach and 80 percent through the small intestine), with effects felt within 5 to 10 minutes after drinking. It usually peaks in the blood after 30 to 90 minutes, and this is carried through all the organs of the body. Most (90 percent) of the metabolism, or breaking down, of alcohol from a toxic substance to water and carbon dioxide, is performed by the liver, with the rest excreted through the lungs (allowing alcohol breath tests), through the kidneys (into urine) and in sweat. The liver can break down only a certain amount of alcohol per hour, which for an average person is around one standard drink. The BAC rises, and the feeling of drunkenness occurs, when alcohol is drunk faster than the liver can break it down. The relationship between BAC and symptoms of drunkenness – the higher the BAC, the greater the effects on the body.
Body parts that are also affected are the brain. The reason is that brain cells die which leads to memory loss, confusion, learning difficulties, problems with attention, and brain disorders. The liver is affected because cancer can develop there, and 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 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 lifespan 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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