Alcohol The Number One Public Enemy
• Alcohol is one of the most widely used addictive drugs in the world.
• In the minds of many, social drinking is associated with relaxation and recreation. Advertising glamorizes drinking, equating it with fun and sex, while ignoring its harmful effects.
• The reality is that alcohol is the most dangerous drug in the world. One in four deaths of European men under the age of 30 is related to alcohol, and in some parts of Eastern Europe, the figure is as high as one in three. In the USA it is the third leading actual cause of death.
…than all other drugs combined!
• Alcohol is involved in half of all fatal automobile accidents as well as in many other household and work related accidents.
• Even perfectly legal blood alcohol levels (as low as 0.02 percent) impair judgment and increase the accident rate!
• Alcohol is also involved in higher crime rates. In one study, two out of three people who were involved in murder were under the influence of alcohol.
How does alcohol affect the body?
• Alcohol is a poison. It doesn't have to be digested to be absorbed, but enters directly into your bloodstream, affecting every cell of the body.
• It only takes about twenty minutes from the time of taking a drink until the alcohol is in the bloodstream. During those twenty minutes, it is already starting to cause trouble, acting as a strong irritant.
• Alcohol can cause so much irritation to the lining of the stomach that it will bleed. Alcohol is a common cause of peptic ulcers, as it stimulates the stomach to produce more acid and enzymes.
• The liver tries to protect us by breaking down most harmful substances taken into the body. But in the process, alcohol damages the liver cells, even if one drinks modest amounts on a regular basis.
• The more one drinks, the greater the damage.When normal liver cells are destroyed, they are replaced with fat cells, making the liver yellowish in color, and more and more inefficient.
• With long-term alcohol use, abnormal liver cells are formed, leading to cirrhosis of the liver. As these cells swell, scarring occurs and the liver becomes hard, irregular and gnarled. Some of the bile ducts become blocked, making the liver appear green.
• Worldwide, cirrhosis of the liver is killing multitudes, and in America it is among the 10 leading causes of death. Could you have a drinking problem?
• Most drinkers deny that they have a problem. A person has a drinking problem if alcohol interferes in any of these three areas of their life: Their work, Their interpersonal relationships, or Their health.
• The effects of alcohol upon the mind and body are far reaching. Probably everyone knows that alcohol impacts the nervous system. It depresses brain function. Yes, you heard it right, alcohol is a depressant.
• You thought alcohol was a stimulant, didn’t you? Wrong … Alcohol lowers inhibitions, so that it appears as though one has been stimulated.
• Its use increases the incidence of:
• With every drink, some brain cells are permanently destroyed. Mental decline and measurable shrinkage of the brain are the results.
• Experts say that after only 2 drinks, several mental functions, including judgement and memory, are impaired. On your next plane trip, would you want the pilot to have a drink or two before take off?
• The ability to judge between right and wrong is also lost. What major moral implications that can bring upon our lives! Alcohol poisons more than the liver and the brain.
• It suppresses the bone marrow, the body’s factory for producing blood cells. As a result, a person may become very anemic and have low platelets, resulting in easy bleeding.Alcohol also has a devastating impact on the body’s defenses. Even small amounts of alcohol taken regularly depress the immune system, and measurably decrease the function of the white blood cells. Frightening findings indicate that alcohol also makes one more susceptible to the AIDS virus.
• No wonder alcohol drinkers have more illnesses of almost every kind. They are also prone to suffer from chronic fatigue and miss work more often.
• The more alcohol a person uses, the more likely they are to develop vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Alcohol can interfere with the body’s absorption and use, of almost every vitamin and mineral.
• And did you know that alcohol contains nearly twice as many calories per gram as pure sugar? Drinking one beer each day would lead to a 15-pound (7 kilograms) weight gain in one year. In addition, those who consume alcohol, often eat more food.
• With all of these effects, it is hardly surprising that alcohol significantly increases the risk of cancer. In one study on over 7,000 women, as little as 3 drinks a week increased the risk of breast cancer.
• And what about the effects of alcohol on the unborn babies? Even small amounts of alcohol in a pregnant woman, especially if very early in the pregnancy, can damage the unborn baby in many ways. It may lead to abnormalities of major organs, as well as an abnormal looking baby.
• Most important, however, is the fact that alcohol during pregnancy is the leading environmental cause of mental retardation in the Western world. Someone may ask, “But what about the reported health benefits of moderate drinking?
• Despite the fact that many people die every year because of alcohol, it has become very popular to praise the benefits of “moderate drinking”. The only evidence, however, is the claim of some researchers that alcoholic drinks protect against heart attacks.
• In one study, Alcohol was given experimentally to animals to find out. It required the equivalent of 12 drinks for an adult man to achieve the protective effects against heart disease!
• Yet, this amount of alcohol has a direct toxic effect on the heart muscle itself. Besides, who would ever recommend taking 12 drinks daily?
• It’s true that wine contains various protective plant chemicals, but these are also found abundantly in grape juice, as well as in the grapes themselves. These phytochemicals prevent heart disease by improving cholesterol and inhibiting blood clots. In view of the far-reaching effects of alcohol, wouldn’t it be much wiser to drink grape juice or eat the grapes themselves?
• In addition, alcohol has been found to damage the circulation by raising the blood pressure. Up to 30% of high blood pressure in American men might be related to alcohol. And the more alcohol used, the higher the blood pressure tends to be. Alcohol also increases the risk of strokes, even with normal blood pressure. These strokes can occur even in young people, as well as in those who only drink small amounts
Does the kind of alcohol make a difference?
• The truth is, the body doesn't know the difference. Most people are surprised to learn that a can of beer or a glass of wine has just as much alcohol as a shot of whiskey.
• You may ask, “How much alcohol can I safely drink?’ We recommend that you drink none at all.Even small amounts of alcohol have been show to be damaging to our bodies. Besides, the only sure way to avoid becoming a heavy drinker is to be a non-drinker.
• The World Health Organization has become a strong advocate of total abstinence from alcohol. They emphasize that anyone who drinks socially today has the potential of becoming a heavy drinker tomorrow.
• One out of ten people who take their first drink will become an alcoholic. You don't know whether that will be you or not.
• If you drink alcohol, these facts may seem overwhelming to you.
• Those who believe in a loving God, readily realize that He can help even the most apparently helpless human being, for God still has the power to transform shattered lives. He says, “Ask and you will receive…”Whoever comes to Me, I will never drive away.” John 6:37 NIV
• If you don’t drink, make a commitment today that you won’t ever start. If you are a drinker, please stop before the damage becomes permanent.God’s Word warns us about the use of alcohol. It says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived by these is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1 KJV
• Life is all too short. Give yourself and your family, every advantage. Follow God’s wisdom and avoid alcohol entirely. You’ll be glad!
WHO Global Burden of Disease 2000 Study; by Professor Jurgen Rehm, Addiction Research Institute, Zurich, (press release 01/2001)
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