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Alcohol Is Not All!

Although drinking alcohol is widely perceived as a social act, its effect might be depressive and may result in many negative consequences.

Alcohol consumption is generally viewed as a social act, particularly during celebrations and events when people expect to be uplifted within the first few minutes of drinking alcohol. The actual effect, however, may be depressive and one that results in many negative consequences.

Over the past 5 years, almost 500 children and teens have been admitted to emergency rooms due to alcohol poisoning following New Year's Eve celebrations.
The damage caused by alcohol consumption is numerous and known yet we still witness a high incidence of violence, traffic accidents and trauma.

No amount of alcohol consumption is safe. Any amount of alcohol is damaging.
These damages manifest themselves in the short-term and long-term in various ways in people depending on gender, age, body weight, whether the person is pregnant or nursing as well as any medications that are being taken, all of which strongly affect the method and speed of alcohol absorption in the blood as well as the severity of harmful side effects.

For sensitive populations such as children under the age of 18 and pregnant or nursing women – no amount of drinking is safe. Exposure to alcohol during pregnancy or when nursing endangers the fetus or infant and may possibly result in irreversible medical and behavioral conditions such as severe withdrawal in infants or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Anyone taking medication is also at risk of negative effects due to dangerous interaction of the medication with alcohol, including patients with diabetes, liver disease and cardiovascular disorders.
Alcohol consumption will immediately cause the following effects:

  •  Decreased coordination, slower reaction time, delayed judgment.
  • Sense of euphoria.
  • Confusion, dizziness and disorientation.
  • Extreme emotional states such as fear, anxiety, rage.

A large part of these effects may result in socially risky behavior, falls, trauma, dangerous driving, etc.
When the blood alcohol level is high, the effect on the central nervous system is more dangerous and may result in serious conditions such as apathy, hypothermia and even risk of death.
In the long term, alcohol consumption may damage the body’s organs:

  • Liver.
  • Mouth, pharynx, esophagus and stomach – with increased risk of acute inflammations to cancer and even breast, liver or colon cancer.
  • Reproductive organs and impaired fertility in women and impotency in men.
  • Metabolically, life-threatening events, such as malnutrition or hypoglycemia, a dangerous decrease in blood sugar levels, may occur.

It is important to know that the combination of alcohol and energy drinks is particularly dangerous since the combination of caffeine and alcohol causes rapid intoxication. If you want to drink and you are not pregnant and are not driving, you can enjoy one glass or a cup of beer with or after a meal. Remember that drunkenness leads to loss of control and occasionally to the performance of dangerous acts beyond damage to one’s health that you may regret.

Despite the belief that moderate alcohol consumption has a protective effect on cardiac health, in light of the damages caused by alcohol and the many factors that affect absorption and the difficulty of many people to limit their alcohol intake, no amount of alcohol consumption is absolutely safe. Minimum alcohol consumption is therefore recommended.

If you choose to drink alcohol, drink moderately.
A standard drink is one cup of beer (330 ml), a glass of wine (100 ml), a glass of vodka, whiskey or any other alcoholic beverage (40 ml).
Let’s remember that we can celebrate with good company, good music, with mental and emotional clarity and feet on the ground.

Yael Keren, Dietician, East Negev Cluster and Executive Director of the NPO "Meyahom – for a Healthy Lifestyle and Diabetes Prevention".