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Alcohol And Health

When discussing making alcohol and alcohol consumption, it is impossible to do so without also talking about health impacts of alcohol.  Generally, the study of alcohol and health focuses on the volume of alcohol consumed by individuals and whether they are daily consumers or binge drinkers.  Statistics relating to personal alcohol consumption are prone to errors because most people underestimate their alcohol consumption, or are not particularly forthcoming due to social stigma.  Binge drinking has an adverse effect on health.  Whilst different authorities have slightly different explanations for what constitutes binge drinking, one definition which seems to be quite widely accepted is that binge drinking is where a person drinks a lot of alcohol in a short space of time so that their blood alcohol level is 0.08g per decilitre.  This usually occurs when a woman consumes 4 drinks or a man consumes 5 drinks in less than 2 hours.  In the United States about 90% of alcoholic drinks consumed by people aged 21 years and younger are said to be through binge drinking.  Most people who binge drink do so on an average of 4 occasions per month, it is suggested that one in six people in the USA binge drink.  Binge drinking is associated with a higher prevalence of violent and aggressive behaviour, increased likelihood of hurting oneself and others through accidents or violence, and an increased risk for suicide.  Most of those who binge drink are not alcoholics or dependent on alcohol.  When it comes to alcohol dependence, Russia has the highest rate with as many as 20 percent of adult males being dependent.  Europe and Latin America have high prevalence rates with typically three to four times as many men affected than women.  Latvia and Lithuania have the highest recorded rates for alcohol related hospitalisations at 2,00 per 100,000 residents.

One of the reasons why alcohol related health problems have increased in some countries is due to a lack of suitable policies to control the marketing and advertising of alcohol.  A lack of education concerning the health consequences and cultures which actively encourage the consumption of alcohol also contribute.  In countries where alcohol related problems and the amount of alcohol consumed per capita have decreased this is often linked to better policies and awareness.

The implementation of drink driving laws, restrictions on advertising, increased taxes on alcohol and greater availability of alcohol-related treatment services, have all been effective in this regard.  The World Health Organisation has implemented a Global Information System on Alcohol and Health (GISAH) as a kind of watchdog which presents data and information on alcohol consumption and alcohol related problems, along with the effectiveness of policies to control its consumption.  It features data on more than 100 countries.   We believe that anyone who partakes in making wine, beer, spirits or other alcoholic beverages should be aware of the health risks to themselves and others, and take a responsible approach to the production and consumption of alcohol.  With this in mind, making alcohol can be a fun and satisfying pastime or career.

This is a short extract from our Brewing and Winemaking eBook.

If you would like to learn more about Addiction and Health, please have a look at our Addiction Counselling eBook.


or look at our range of courses, which include:

Psychopharmacology.

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