Alcohol consumption is the cause of a large number of road, work and other accidents. Alcohol intoxication is a powerful factor in causing car accidents, injuries or crime, domestic violence, falls and poisonings.
In the United State and United kingdom number of road accidents related to the consumption of alcoholic beverages was 216.1 per 100,000 inhabitants in the year 2000 and 185.5 in 2001. USA surveys found that alcohol use significantly increases the risk of causing a car accident.
It was also found that 10% of road accidents can be attributed to the use of alcoholic beverages (Petridou et al. 1998). A significant percentage of drivers (41%) who were involved in road accidents during the years 1995-1997, had consumed an alcoholic beverage before the accident, while in 33% of drivers the blood alcohol concentration was over 80mg / lt .
The highest risk of getting involved in road accidents also applies to young people who consider the consumption of alcoholic beverages to be a dominant element of the modern way of life.
Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with harmful situations for the user himself, his immediate environment and society as a whole. In recent years, special emphasis has been placed on the social impact of alcohol use, such as road accidents, work and family problems, and interpersonal violence.
However, the social consequences do not only concern the user, but also other people. Passengers accidentally involved in road accidents, members of the user’s family affected by their inability to fulfill their social and family obligations or who suffer the consequences of violence in family, employers, colleagues, etc.
Effects on the liver and digestive system
The best known and most important harmful effect of chronic, in addition to the usual moderate alcohol consumption, is cirrhosis of the liver. Chronic alcoholics are on average 7.5 times more likely to develop liver cirrhosis than non-users, especially men who drink heavily are up to 13 times more likely. Cirrhosis of the liver is the final stage of a chronic and usually asymptomatic liver lesion, called alcoholic hepatitis.
Individuals’ susceptibility to developing cirrhosis varies considerably. At doses of 60-80 grams of alcohol per day, after 5 years, about 10 – 15% will have a liver problem. Increasing the amount leads to faster liver damage and a higher percentage of users.
In addition, the use of alcohol leads to fatty infiltration of the liver and an increase in the incidence of primary liver cancer. In the digestive system, chronic excessive alcohol consumption can lead to chronic or acute pancreatitis, gastric and duodenal ulcers, chronic gastritis, atrophic gastritis, malabsorption of vitamins, calcium, magnesium, etc. Alcohol and cancer
Alcohol consumption leads to the development of various types of cancers of the digestive system, such as the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, liver, pancreas, etc. The risk of developing digestive cancer is four times higher than for non-alcoholics. Nervous system effects In the nervous system, excessive and prolonged consumption of alcohol causes a variety of damage to the brain and peripheral nerves. These injuries can lead to significant disabilities of various forms. In addition, epilepsy, peripheral polyneuropathy and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome may occur.
The relative risk of epilepsy, already from moderate alcohol consumption, is up to 7.5 times higher compared to those who do not use alcohol. Alcohol consumption also increases the incidence of fatal or non-fatal vascular events in the brain, with a relative risk that can reach 2.38 in men but approach 8 in women (ie the risk is 8 times higher). Ischemic heart disease and diabetes
It has been found that low to moderate alcohol consumption has a positive protective effect on the risk of ischemic heart disease, as well as diabetes. However, the positive effect is reversed when consumption exceeds an average of 40 grams of alcohol per day for women and 60 grams for men.
At higher alcohol consumption, there is an increase in the relative risk of ischemic heart disease, which in men can reach up to 65%. At the same time, in high consumption alcohol causes tachycardia, hypertension, heart arrhythmias and alcoholic cardiomyopathy (WHO 2004). Effects on the respiratory system
Chronic use of alcohol in the respiratory system can cause sleep apnea attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease due to chemical irritation of the lungs, pneumonia and cancer of the larynx and lungs. Effects during pregnancy During pregnancy, regular consumption of alcohol causes serious damage to the fetus. Spontaneous abortion, low birth weight, congenital anomalies, neurological disabilities, mental retardation, liver damage, etc. can occur. Injuries are more common when alcohol is consumed during the first trimester of pregnancy, during which even a moderate amount of alcohol consumption (1-2 drinks a day) can lead to fetal damage. Other harmful effects of alcohol on the body.