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The Effect of Alcohol Essay

According to statistics from the American Alcohol Institute, 87% of people 18 and older have consumed alcohol during their lifetime. 71% drank alcohol in the past year, 56% in the last month. That means that every second person occasionally drinks alcohol. Considering the harm to the person and those around him, alcohol is the most harmful drug in the world. It is more harmful than heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine. This is primarily due to the amount of product consumed as alcohol is more popular than any other drug. News reports cover drug-related crimes, but no one pays attention to alcohol-related crimes. This is similar to an accident situation. Nobody cares about car accidents, but as soon as a ship runs aground or an airplane crashes, all these events are scattered across the Internet. Taking alcohol for granted, people forget that a tangled tongue, fun, and a hangover are not the only effects of alcohol on the body.

Impact of Alcohol on Body

The stomach absorbs approximately 20% of alcohol consumed. The remaining 80% goes to the small intestine. How quickly alcohol is absorbed depends on its concentration in the drink. The higher it is, the faster the intoxication will occur. Vodka, for example, will be absorbed much faster than beer. A full stomach also slows down absorption and the onset of intoxication. After the alcohol has entered the stomach and small intestine, it travels through the bloodstream throughout the body. At this time, our body tries to remove it. The kidneys and lungs excrete more than 10% of alcohol through urine and respiration. That is why breathalyzers allow people to determine whether the person has been drinking or not. 

The liver handles the rest of the alcohol, so it is the organ of the most significant harm. There are two main reasons that alcohol damages the liver. The first one is oxidative stress. As a result of chemical reactions accompanying the withdrawal of alcohol with the liver's help, its cells can be damaged. The organ will try to heal itself, and this may cause inflammation or scarring.

The second reason relates to the toxins in intestinal bacteria. Alcohol can damage the intestines, allowing intestinal bacteria to enter the liver and lead to inflammation. The alcoholic effect does not come immediately, but only after a few tricks. It occurs when the amount of alcohol supplied exceeds the amount that is excreted by the body.

Alcohol consumption also has a tremendous effect on one's appearance. Skin is a mirror of "inner" health, while alcohol consumption is fraught with dehydration, which is the main enemy of healthy skin. The dry skin, in its turn, leads to premature wrinkles. Loss of elasticity and tone of the skin, its flabbiness, indistinct facial contours are the consequences of the loss of collagen, which is "washed out" from the body along with all substances useful for the skin. People who drink alcohol often have a so-called "mesh" on the face: the vessels appear on the cheeks, chin, and wings of the nose. These are signs of rosacea, which occurs due to blood flow to the face, and, by the way, it is not easy to correct.

Effect of Alcohol on Brain

Loose tongue, unruly body parts, and memory loss are all symptoms of alcohol's effects on the brain. Heavy drinkers begin to experience problems with coordination, balance, and common sense. One of the main symptoms is a retarded reaction; therefore, drivers are prohibited from driving while intoxicated. The effect of alcohol on the brain is that it alters neurotransmitters' level - substances that transmit impulses from neurons to muscle tissue.

Neurotransmitters are responsible for external processing stimuli, emotions, and behavior. They can either stimulate electrical activity in the brain or inhibit it. One of the most important inhibitory neurotransmitters is gamma-aminobutyric acid. Alcohol enhances its effect, thereby making the movements and speech of drunk people slow.

Among the brain's structural changes, there is a reduction in the volume of the hippocampus, which is a critical structure that ensures normal brain performance and enables memory and learning. In addition, there are adverse changes in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for self-control. Alcohol alters the functional development of the cerebellum, cerebral cortex, nucleus accumbens. Also, it prevents the formation of new synapses, which can ultimately lead to brain atrophy (gradual progressive death of nerve cells in the brain).

Even occasional drinking on weekends damages memory. A study by the University of Compostela by a psychobiology professor, Dr. Cadaveira, confirms that young people who drink heavily have more imperfect memories than those who do not. In addition, they have great difficulty recognizing the faces of other people, which is one of the fundamental functions of our memory. Working memory makes it possible to store important data in our brain for planning and performing various tasks. This study found evidence that working memory also undergoes negative changes in regular drinkers. 

When people drink too much and too fast, they complicate or slow down the hippocampus receptors, which transmit glutamate, which is necessary for the formation of synapses between neurons. Typically, when one experiences this kind of "brain shutdown", they can do the most basic routines, undress and go to bed, send a WhatsApp message ... but the brain is temporarily unable to create new memories. These gaps in memory are actually hazardous. On the one hand, for this reason, one may find oneself in situations of vulnerability and risk. On the other hand, in the females' case, the propensity for alcoholic amnesia will be much higher. According to research, the female body produces less gastric dehydrogenase (an enzyme that is responsible for diluting and dissolving alcohol in our body). While there is no correlation between company drinkers and alcoholics in terms of the presence and frequency of memory gaps, it is recommended to drastically reduce alcohol consumption for at least one season if these cases took place.

Alcohol is also related to the psychological health of a person. Even if not persistent, alcohol abuse is often the cause of diseases and disorders such as depression, anxiety, aggression, and stress. If the person experiences any of these symptoms, they should consider the amount of alcohol they drink regularly.