What Effect Does Alcohol Have on a Person's Health and Life Expectancy?

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Nicola Cooper
Student No; cs329513

What effect does alcohol have on a person's health and life expectancy?

The consumption of alcoholic beverages dates back to approximately 10,000 years ago when ‘viticulture' (the selective cultivation of grape vines for making wine) is said to have originated in the mountains between the Black and Caspian Seas. (1) It is one of the most commonly used psychoactive drugs in the world. Alcohol interacts with gamma amino bultyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain, this is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in humans and is synthesized from glutamic acid. (1a)
Since then the production of alcohol has flourished and evolved becoming a huge part of today's society.

However, in recent years much research has been carried out on the effects that alcohol consumption is having on individuals with much of the resulting data being extremely negative. So what is alcohol doing to our society's health, and is it having any effect on our life expectancy?

In recent years, especially since the introduction of ‘Alco pops', there has been a substantial increase in the amount of youths drinking alcoholic beverages. It is believed that on average, young people begin drinking at approximately age thirteen (2) with parental and peer influences being a major factor.

It is not just younger teenagers that have become accustomed to drinking; it would appear that drinking has become a culture, almost a way of life for higher education students, with events constantly being organised encouraging students to drink. Posters are exhibited outside lecture theatres, e-mails are sent to their university e-mail accounts, encouraging students to attend ‘the next big session'.

The dramatic increase in the amount youths are drinking is causing a considerable amount of concern. ‘We know that there has been a huge rise in heavy drinking among 16 – 24 age group. Because women are now putting off marriage and children until their late thirties, we are



References: 1. www.drug-rehabs.org/alcoholhistory.php 2. http://sulcus.berkeley.edu/mcb/165_001/papers/manuscripts/_298.html 3. www.health.org/govpubs/rpo990/ 4. www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/text/print.html?in_article_id=192941&in_page_id=16/02/2006 5. http://www.ias.org.uk/factsheets/health.pdf 6. http://www.randox.com/English/disease.cfm?ccs=363 7. http://www.hepatitis.org.uk/s-crina/liver-f3-main3.htm 8. http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/alerts/l/blnaa35.htm 9.

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