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Effects of alcohol in human body
Alcohol is the most abused drug in most countries. The consumption of alcohol is more intense than any other drug due to its availability, and the laws governing its consumption which does not prohibit its consumption unlike other drugs, for example, hard narcotic drugs such as Marijuana.
Although the law of different countries restrict the drinking age, which is 18 years and 21 years in some states, there is increased consumption of alcohol among the young people below the recommended age.
The effects of alcohol are numerous and vary with the amount of alcohol consumed as well as the personal characteristics such as body weight, nutrition status, age, period of consumption and gender among others. This paper aims at analyzing the various effects in a human body attributing from alcohol consumption.
Alcohol leads to deposition of fatty plaques in the inner walls of the arteries hence they become narrowed, as a result blood supply becomes insufficient. The insufficiency of blood in the brain leads to stroke while into the heart leads to heart attack.
However, evidence in recent research has shown that alcohol may lower heart diseases’ risks. According to the research, the consumption of one to two standard drinks of alcohol per day in middle aged and above (35 years and over), offers some protection against heart disease. (Glen et al, 2005)
Alcohol causes damage to the brain cells which leads to memory loss; an individual becomes confused and suffers hallucinations. Alcohol is regarded as a downer due to its direct effects on the brain cells. The damage can be fatal or lead to insanity if alcohol is taken in large amounts or taken along with other hard drugs such as narcotics over a long period of time.
Alcohol cuts the supply of oxygen to the brain, a situation which kills thousands of brain cells each time a person takes alcohol. This may lead to hyper alertness to normal situations such as perceiving sound to be louder than normal or light too bright than in the real situation (that is augmentation).The drinker may develop alcohol influenced behavior (learned behavior syndrome) which stops after the person quits drinking and it can only be re-learnt
The central nervous system (CNS)
The brain, spinal cord and nerves originating from it form the Central nervous system. The transmission of sensory impulses and motor impulses pass from the CNS. Alcohol affects the CNS leading to intoxication hence affecting emotional and sensory function, memory, judgment as well as decreased learning capabilities.
The smell and tenses are impaired and the ability to withstand pain increases with increase in Blood Alcohol Level (BAL). The long term effects of consumption of alcohol on the CNS causes tolerance, dependency and brain irreversible damages. The functioning of the nervous system deteriorates in every drinking episode that leads to intellectual dysfunction; disturbances in the sensory and motor control follow. (Haven and Gerald, 1996 pp. 198-256)
Alcohol causes blood sludging, a situation whereby the red blood cells bunch together causing the small blood vessels to block up, starve the tissues of oxygen causing the death of cells. In the brain this death of cells is more severe and often goes unnoticed. Due to increased pressure, the capillaries break, leading to red eyes in the morning, or the red, blotchy skin which appears on the face of a heavy drinker.
Hemorrhage or death may occur when Blood vessels break in the stomach and esophagus. Alcohol effects on the blood can also cause: anemia, sedation of the bone marrow (this reduces the white and red blood count, and weaken the bone structure lowering the body’s resistance to infection. (Raymond et al. 1996 pp. 43-213)