Alcohol has been used in human societies at least since the beginning of recorded history, and throughout this time, humans have also been arguing about its merits and demerits. The debate still simmers today, with a lively back-and-forth over whether alcohol is good or bad for you. The consensus is that alcohol is both a tonic and a poison. Although moderate drinking seems to be good for the heart and circulatory system, and probably protects against type 2 diabetes and gallstones, heavy drinking is, unfortunately, a major cause of preventable death in most countries. Alcohol affects the body in many different ways. It affects not just the drinkers themselves, but may touch their families, friends, and communities, often involving violence and accidents.
However with increasing globalization, there has also been increased acceptance and use of alcohol, which has now achieved serious ramifications. There is, therefore, an urgent need for reduction in the demand of alcohol, both legal and illegal, which may otherwise lead to numerous health, family, and societal consequences. Similar to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, in India, which provides the current framework for drug abuse control and sale in this country, there need to be similar provisions for the distribution and use of alcohol.
However, legal control is yet lacking with a lack of consensus among clinicians on the harms and rates of dependence. There is a perception that the rates of conversion and the clinical course of alcohol dependence are different when compared to other legally controlled drugs like opium. The last reason is what can be corrected through systematic clinical studies, which till date have not been carried out.
When an individual’s drinking causes distress or harm, that’s called an alcohol use disorder. An estimated 10% of adult men and 5% of adult women have an alcohol use disorder. Their use of alcohol leads to health problems or troubles at home, at work, at school, or with the law. Many of them have lost control of their drinking; they are unable to stop or cut down despite serious negative health consequences and the loss of valued activities or relationships.
Heavy drinking can seriously damage the liver, stomach, heart, brain, and nervous system. It also increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx (voice box), and esophagus. Women who drink heavily are at higher risk of developing breast cancer and osteoporosis. In addition, people who drink heavily may not eat adequately, so they may develop vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Although there are many risks to drinking alcohol, there also may be some benefits of moderate drinking. That means no more than two drinks a day for men and no more than one drink a day for women. Moderate drinking appears to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other circulatory diseases. There is evidence that a small amount of alcohol can boost levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the beneficial cholesterol in your blood, as well as reduce the formation of plaque in blood vessels.
How to control Alcohol consumption:-
The different approaches work for different people and various addiction types. Some people may be able to quit and never have a drop of alcohol for the rest of their lives. They may be the type where even a glass of wine every now and again could trigger them to return to drinking heavily. If you recognize yourself as that kind of drinker, it’s important to know yourself and your weaknesses.
But for others, drinking in moderation can be effective at curbing addictive behaviors to alcohol. Many people cut down on their alcohol intake without medical or therapeutic help, although it is advisable to discuss your alcohol intake with your family doctor before trying to change it. It can be dangerous to quit without adequate medical support, due to any withdrawal or mental health symptoms that may occur as you transition into recovery. If you feel that avoiding alcohol completely is not for you, you do have other options. Some people can get control over their drinking and drink safer levels of alcohol without having to quit entirely.