Alcohol Causes 4 Percent of Annual Deaths

Alcohol Causes 4 Percent of Annual Deaths

February 15th, 2011 Alcohol Addiction, Helpful Articles

Startled by that headline?  It’s a fact.

Early this month the World Health Organization (WHO) announced statistics on the primary causes of death in the world.  Alcohol-related deaths account for 2.5 million deaths a year.  The same WHO report shows that 15.3 million people of the world’s population have drug-addiction problems.

In the United States 52% of adults state that they drink on a regular basis, and 14,406 people die from alcoholic liver disease—this isn’t even adding in the deaths caused in some way by injuries and accidents relating to alcohol.

 “But I just drink beer.”

It isn’t the kind of alcoholic beverage, but many other factors that account for the effects of alcohol. Here are a few:

  • One 12-ounce beer has the same amount of alcohol as a 5-ounce glass of wine or a 1.5 ounce of hard liquor
  • Alcohol of any kind is rapidly absorbed through the lining of the stomach and goes to every tissue of the body.  Drinking on an empty stomach makes this absorption of alcohol even faster.
  • The liver can only metabolize a half an ounce of alcohol per hour, so the faster someone drinks the more quickly, and longer, they experience the effects

Short term or long term effects of alcohol—both can be deadly 

In this week’s blog well take a look at the short term effects of drinking alcohol.  Next time we’ll focus on the long term effects.

ETOH is the chemical compound for ethanol, which is the alcohol found in varying amounts in beer, wine or hard liquor.   ETOH abuse is the common medical term for alcohol abuse or addiction.

Ethanol has a direct effect on the central nervous system of the body.  It causes euphoria (another word for “high”) initially, but as the level increases in the body it tends to have a depressant effect.  Even when the blood alcohol level is low in the body, impaired judgment, poor physical coordination and a shortened attention span begin to occur.

Judgment. Coordination. Attention span. Obviously these three things are crucial when driving, so it is easy to see the connection between alcohol and driving accidents.

Loss of inhibitions are also a short term side effect of ETOH, and this loss of inhibition and judgment can lead to behaviors (whether aggressive, promiscuous or risk-taking) that someone normally wouldn’t show when they aren’t drinking alcohol.

Beer and wine have been around for over a thousand years.  There are cheap to make, readily available, and have a long history of causing misuse and addiction.

Consumer watch groups have noted that children and teenagers are exposed to over 1000 beer or wine related commercials a year.  Although television commercials advertising hard liquor haven’t been around for years, there is no actual legal ban, like there is with cigarettes.  Many companies that make and sell liquor are pressing to advertise their products on television again.

Do you think it is harmful to more freely advertise hard liquor on radio and television?

Share your views with The Recovery Place blog!

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