The Negative Effects of Alcohol
Alcohol has many functions in society and bears important cultural, religious and symbolic meanings in most countries. However it is also a drug with many toxic effects and other dangers such as intoxication and dependence. It is a contributing element for injuries and harm, intentional and unintentional, not only to the individual drinker, but other people as well. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported figures from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey indicating that “more than half of the adult U.S. population drank alcohol in the past 30 days. Approximately, 5% of the total population drank heavily, while 15% of the population binge drank” (“Alcohol Use”). Alcohol, when used in moderation and responsibly, can be considered an ordinary and enjoyable facet of everyday life by the majority of people in our society. Everyone is familiar with the various social settings in which alcohol is consumed, varying from relaxation or casual enjoyment to ceremonial and celebratory occasions. Equally familiar, however, is the widespread public health concerns and harm that can arise from the misuse of alcohol. The harmful use of alcohol does not only compromise the health and social well-being of the individual drinker, but can often have devastating impacts on their families, friends, co-workers, employers and outsiders. The negative impact of a multitude of alcohol-related problems extend deep into society and can seriously affect community life. The World Health Organization’s recent Global Data Report on Health and Alcohol specifies, “Harmful use of alcohol results in the death of 2.5 million people annually, causes illness and injury to many more, and increasingly affects younger generations and drinkers in developing countries. Harmful use of alcohol is defined as excessive use to the point that it causes damage to health and often includes adverse social consequences” (“Global Status”). The World Health Organization assistant Director-General for Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health, Dr. Ala Alwan, states, Many countries recognize the serious public health problems caused by the harmful use of alcohol and have taken steps to prevent the health and social burdens and treat those in need of care. But clearly much more needs to be done to reduce the loss of life and suffering associated with harmful alcohol use. Nearly 4 % of all deaths are related to alcohol. Most alcohol-related deaths are caused by alcohol result injuries, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and liver cirrhosis. Globally, 320,000 young people aged 15-29 years die annually, from alcohol-related causes, resulting in 9% of all deaths in that age group (“Action”). Disease, injury, and violence attributed to alcohol influence the lives of millions of people annually, injuries and deaths that impact humanity as a whole can be diminished through intervention, prevention, and treatment policies that are proven effective if administrations adopt and implement them. Over time, the excessive harmful use of alcohol heightens the risk of detrimental health conditions, and can frequently precede the development of chronic diseases, including liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, cardiovascular disease, neurological impairments, and a variety of cancers (“Alcohol Use”). Large amounts of alcohol consumption can also weaken the immune system, and facilitate infections by pathogens, which may cause pneumonia and tuberculosis. Alcohol causes mortality and illness on a level with measles and malaria and at a significantly higher rate than tobacco (“Alcohol in Developing”). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies indicate, There are approximately 79,000 deaths attributable to excessive alcohol use each year in the United States. This makes excessive alcohol use the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death for the nation. Additionally, excessive alcohol use is responsible for 2.3...
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