Almost 60% domestic violence seeded by excessive Alcohol Consumption and this figure goes up for the bottom of the pyramid who are consuming Desi Alcohol. What you need to know and spread awareness in society are these 10 answers:
Q1. How does alcohol affect a person?
A. Alcohol affects every organ in the body. It is a central nervous system depressant that is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver by enzymes; however, the liver can only metabolize a small amount of alcohol at a time, leaving the excess alcohol to circulate throughout the body. The intensity of the effect of alcohol on the body is directly related to the amount consumed.
Q2. Why do some people react differently to alcohol than others?
A. Individual reactions to alcohol vary, and are influenced by many factors; such as:
- Race or ethnicity
- Physical condition (weight, fitness level, etc)
- Amount of food consumed before drinking
- How quickly the alcohol was consumed
- Use of drugs or prescription medicines
- Family history of alcohol problems
Q3. What is a standard drink?
A. In different countries, health educators and researchers employ different definitions of a standard unit or drink because of differences in the typical serving sizes in that country.
In the program Alcohol e-Help, a standard drink is equal to 10 grams or 12.5 ml of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in
- 250 ml of beer.
- 100 ml of wine.
- 30 ml distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey).
Q4. Is beer or wine safer to drink than liquor?
A. No. One 250 ml beer has about the same amount of alcohol as one 100 ml glass of wine, or 30 ml distilled spirit. It is the amount of alcohol consumed that affects a person most, not the type of alcoholic drink.
Q5. What are caffeinated alcoholic beverages (CABs)?
A. Caffeinated alcoholic beverages (CABs) are premixed beverages that combine alcohol, caffeine, and other stimulants. They may be malt- or distilled spirits-based and usually have higher alcohol content than beer (e.g., 5%–12% on average for CABs compared to 4%–5% for beer). The caffeine content in these beverages is usually not reported.
Q6. What does it mean to be above the legal limit for drinking?
A. The legal limit for drinking is the alcohol level above which an individual is subject to legal penalties (e.g., arrest or loss of a driver’s license)
- Legal limits are measured using either a blood alcohol test or a breathanalyzer.
- Legal limits are typically defined by state law, and may vary based on individual characteristics, such as age and occupation. In India, the legal limit is 0.03 mg%.
Note: Legal limits do not define a level below which it is safe to operate a vehicle or engage in some other activity. Impairment due to alcohol use begins to occur at levels well below the legal limit.
Q7. How do I know if it’s okay to drink?
A. The current guidelines recommend that if you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, do not exceed 1 standard drink per day for women or 2 standard drinks per day for men. According to the guidelines, people who should not drink alcoholic beverages at all include the following:
- Children and adolescents.
- Individuals of any age who cannot limit their drinking to low level.
- Women who may become pregnant or who are pregnant.
- Individuals who plan to drive, operate machinery, or take part in other activities that require attention, skill, or coordination.
- Individuals taking prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol.
- Individuals with certain medical conditions.
- Persons recovering from alcoholism.
Q8. What is the difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse?
A. Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that result in harm to one’s health, interpersonal relationships, or ability to work.
Manifestations of alcohol abuse include the following:
- Failure to fulfill major responsibilities at work, school, or home.
- Drinking in dangerous situations, such as drinking while driving or operating machinery.
- Legal problems related to alcohol, such as being arrested for drinking while driving or for physically hurting someone while drunk.
- Continued drinking despite ongoing relationship problems that are caused or worsened by drinking.
- Long-term alcohol abuse can turn into alcohol dependence.
Dependency on alcohol, also known as alcohol addiction and alcoholism4, is a chronic disease. The signs and symptoms of alcohol dependence include:
- A strong craving for alcohol
- Continued use despite repeated physical, psychological, or interpersonal problems
- The inability to limit drinking
- The inability to limit drinking
- Need for significantly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect; or markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol
- A great deal of time spent in activities necessary to obtain, to use, or to recover from the effects of drinking
- Important alternative pleasures or interests given up or reduced because of drinking
Q9. I often read that small amount of alcohol consumption daily is good for health. Specifically people say that it prevents heart diseases. Is it true?
A. Research conducted in western countries has shown that moderate drinkers are less likely to die from one form of heart disease than are people who do not drink any alcohol or who drink more. None of these studies however have been conducted in India. It must be remembered that there are considerably differences in this part of the world as compared to the western world; our bodies, our lifestyle, our climate, our eating habits are different. Thus, something which has been applicable in the western countries cannot be imported directly in our settings. Thus, a nondrinker should not start drinking solely to benefit his heart. Whatever benefits you may get from small amount of drinking, can also be accrued by suitable lifestyle changes such as exercise and eating low-fat foods. However, if you do choose to drink, drink in moderation. Heavy drinking can actually increase the risk of many diseases including heart diseases.
Q10. Someone I know is dependent on Alcohol. Should I just lock him up so that he is unable to drink? I have heard that if an alcoholic does not drink for a few days, he can quit drinking permanently.
A. If a person is dependent on Alcohol, he should never be forcibly made to stop drinking. In dependent individuals stopping alcohol suddenly may lead to withdrawal symptoms which can be dangerous and even fatal. Correct way of stopping alcohol is always to consult a trained doctor, who would advise to stop drinking and then prescribe certain medications to control the dangerous withdrawal symptoms.