Alcohol

First discovered in Persia in the eighth century CE. There are many types of alcohol. Alcohol has been used as an antifreeze, medicine, fuel, preservative, and as a solvent. Some alcohols are poisons such as wood alcohol and methanol.

Today we are concerned with the effects of alcohol, a drug that affects the mind and reduces the persons ability to think rationally, and distorts judgment. It is both a depressant and a stimulant. Overdose causes severe depression, and depending on the individuals response can cause unconsciousness, coma and death. Alcoholic drinks contain anywhere from 2-6% alcohol in beer to 15-60 % in liqueurs.

What is important for you to know is that there are, on average, 4 deaths PER DAY in teenagers! This was data from 2015 Alcohol—a leading cause of death in North America. Interviews with the families of these children, reveal that at least 40% of the parents also had significant alcohol and drug problems. The so called “silent alcoholics”. It is well known now that children are affected because their brains are still developing, and booze causes both structural and physiological changes in the developing brain. We know that young people who begin their career in drinking, are at least 4 times more likely to develop alcohol dependence, than those whose drinking career begins over the age of 21.

“When I was 13, friends would make fun of me if I did not have a few drinks at a party. I gave in as it was hard to resist for me. The truth is, I was very unhappy at home and drank to escape my awful life. I became violent and lost control. My parents kicked me out of the house when I was sixteen, and I became homeless, which was a disaster. I tried killing myself many times. I finally ended up in rehab, and stopped drinking. I am now at University and stay clear of the crowd that drinks and smoke dope. I avoid them like the plague”.  

I saw her because she had chemical liver damage. Fortunately it was not permanent, and the tests resolved when she stopped drinking.

The current major problem is binge drinking, especially at our Universities and especially in fraternities. Discussions with these people, reveal a deep sense of self hatred, because of the effect their behavior has on their friends and family. They all have symptoms of severe withdraw, and they soon find out that they are addicted and drink even more to relieve these symptoms.

“my family is so disgusted with me that they are going to send me to my own apartment, as their lives have been completely destroyed by my actions.”

This is an international problem, and it is indeed a PANDEMIC! These young people who are heavy drinkers. They are much more likely to be abusing all the other mind bending substances. A Swiss study discovered that 35% of heavy drinkers, were also using other drugs.

Other disturbing statistics are: 13000 deaths from alcohol related traffic deaths. This is 3 times as many American soldiers who died in combat in the first 6 years of the Iraq war! There are 1.5 million drunk driving arrests in the US every year! And those of the ones who are caught! Forty per cent of violent crimes occur under the influence of alcohol!

In the UK, there were over 180,000 admissions to hospital, due to booze! Over 7000 deaths were due to alcohol problems. It is estimated that in the EU, 23 million people are addicted to booze. Some of these people are in positions of power and making decisions of importance. It is interesting to note that when Churchill met Roosevelt the end of the Second World War, they were discussing the American intervention, Mrs. Roosevelt left the White House in disgust because of their constant drinking. It’s apparent that both of them, and many of their staffs were fueling their daily tasks with alcohol.

The short-term effects of alcohol overdose include drowsiness vomiting diarrhea and go  to memory lapses unconsciousness, coma and death.

The long-term effects are incredible. Anything from unintentional injuries, increased on job injuries and loss of productivity, increase family problems and broken relationships, alcohol poisoning, high blood pressure and stroke, cirrhosis of the liver, nerve damage and all the way to to cancer.

Indeed alcohol can damage the fetus of drinking mothers drinking due to so-called fetal alcohol syndrome which has short-term and long-term serious effects.

Famous people that we know all succumbed to alcohol. These include John Bonham, the drummer of Led Zeppelin who died of asphyxiation due to   aspiration and  vomiting after an  alcoholic  episode. Steve Clarke , was a guitarist for Def Lepard died due to alcohol and other drugs. Michael Clark, a musician from the Byrds died of liver failure after 30 years of alcohol consumption. Brian Connolly, a Scottish singer for a group called Sweet, also died of liver disease at age 50. Oliver Reed, a great British actor, died of acute alcohol poisoning after drinking 3 bottles of rum, 8 bottles of beer, and countless double whiskey! Many others have succumbed to this killer!

Alcohol has been killing people for thousands of years, and is now socialized in our society. Today as estimated 15 million Americans, and 2 million Canadians suffer from alcoholism. It occurs in all levels of society, and has perpetrated all kinds of problems. I have seen it in many of my patients, some of whom who hold down important positions in government, business, and Medicine!

Now we are about to introduce another brain toxic substance to our grocery store of dangerous chemicals–Marijuana!

 

Caveat emptor!(BUYER BEWARE!)

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