Why do we drink alcohol and what are the consequences?
Alcohol has more negative than positive consequences. Why then do many drink alcohol often? Alcohol consumption is also increasing among young people, how do you resist the pressure of a group, and what are the consequences of alcohol?
Why do young people drink alcohol?
An investigation was conducted into what young people are important reasons find to alcohol to drink. The main reasons emerged:
- The ambiance gets cozier after a few drinks.
- Drink is just tasty.
The minor reasons were:
- It helps with thirst.
- It makes me talk easier.
- Everybody does it.
- It makes me forget my problems.
- It camouflages insecurity.
- It creates a group feeling.
- It fills up loneliness.
Many young people also mentioned reasons not to drink. The main reasons were:
- It’s not nice.
- It is not necessary for socializing.
- It is expensive.
- It is unhealthy (it has dire consequences).
- It is not appreciated by religion or culture.
- It does not solve my problems.
- It makes me not myself.
The consequences of drinking alcohol
Alcohol has a lot of (adverse) effects on different parts of our body.
When the alcohol reaches the brain through the blood, you are reminded that you have been drinking. You get a light-headed feeling. With small amounts this has a stimulating effect, but with large amounts it causes an intoxicating feeling. The alcohol also has an effect on the perception: after drinking a lot of alcohol you can no longer see everything clearly. Alcohol also slows down the reaction time and the coordination of the muscles decreases.
A lot of alcohol consumption causes you to suffer brain damage, that you get a poorer memory, you can concentrate less well and you can adjust less. If you drink up to 20 to 25 glasses in a short time, you can become unconscious or have respiratory or cardiac arrest.
The liver ensures that the body is purified of foreign and toxic substances. Alcohol is converted into acetaldehyde in the liver. Acetaldehyde is converted back into acetyl-CoA, which is eventually broken down into carbon dioxide and water.
Acetaldehyde is a poisonous substance in large quantities. It poisons the liver cells. When someone continues to drink alcohol for years, the liver becomes really sick: fat globules accumulate in the liver. This is called liver cirrhosis. Liver cirrhosis can lead to death. If you eat while drinking alcohol, the breakdown of alcohol in the liver will occur. After all, the liver can only do one thing at a time. The conversion of vitamins and minerals has to make way for the breakdown of alcohol. The resulting lack of vitamins, etc. makes one more susceptible to all kinds of diseases.
Stomach and pancreas
Alcohol has an irritating effect on the gastric mucosa. This can lead to a stomach ulcer. If you want to treat an ulcer, it is essential to stop drinking. Heavy drinking can eventually inflame the pancreas, compromising the digestion of the food.
Heart and vessels
A regular drinker is at risk of getting high blood pressure. This can cause heart complaints and even a brain haemorrhage. Yet alcohol also has a positive effect on heart and blood vessels. Alcohol stimulates the production of HDL cholesterol. The HDL cholesterol is good cholesterol. This removes the LDL cholesterol, which is bad cholesterol. The less bad cholesterol in the body, the better for the condition of the heart and blood vessels.
In addition to physical consequences, alcohol also has an effect on your mood and behavior. Examples of this are:
- You can no longer stand on your feet.
- You act over-emotional and predictable.
- You neglect your family and friends.
- You often show up late or not at work.
- You do not keep your agreements.
- You get tired.
- You sleep badly.
- You may experience stomach pain.
- Your brain shrinks: you become forgetful.
- You can display aggressive behavior.
Problems with an addiction
Alcohol becomes risky if you use it (and need it) to change your mood. If you can no longer change your mood yourself, and you always use alcohol for this, then you run the risk of getting used to alcohol. This can be the start of an addiction. Alcoholics can no longer live without alcohol. They spend a lot of money on alcohol, and don’t have enough money left for basic needs. Some alcoholics therefore end up in crime in order to obtain money.
Enjoyable sides of alcohol
Alcohol also has pleasant sides. You can get the illusion that the atmosphere is getting cozier. You talk more easily and you get the feeling that you are more confident. You feel relaxed and at the end of the day you fall asleep more easily. Alcohol makes you forget your problems for a moment, and it strengthens the group feeling. Many people just like alcohol.
Resist the pressure of a group
It is often important that you dare to say no if you don’t want alcohol, and that you make it clear that you can’t be persuaded. If you find this difficult, you can, for example:
- Make up an excuse (for example that you are allergic).
- You can go home.
- You can start on another topic.
- You can lure them to a place where they won’t or won’t drink.