Alcohol, Types, Characteristics, Warnings, and Abuse

Warnings and Abuse of alcoholAlcohol is a legal toxic beverage that, when consumed in small amounts, can improve your quality of life and when consumed in large amounts, can destroy your life.

There are dozens of different types of alcohol, like beer, wine, and whiskey, but there are thousands of different brands and recipes for each type of drink, depending on processing procedures and even type of water.

Although it is okay to consume small amounts of alcohol, large amounts cause more problems than they are worth.

Often times people find themselves addicted and need to enter AA or programs like an alcohol recovery programme at Western Counselling.

Identification of Alcohol

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, provided on the free Dictionary.com website defines alcohol as “A colorless volatile flammable liquid, synthesized or obtained by fermentation of sugars and starches and widely used, either pure or denatured, as a solvent and in drugs, cleaning solutions, explosives, and intoxicating beverages.”

Its chemical formula is C2H5OH, meaning that a single molecule of alcohol contains two carbon atoms, five hydrogen atoms and a hydroxide molecule.

Alcohol Types

Alcohol is available in a variety of different types. Each type of alcohol contains a percentage of pure alcohol, created from the fermentation of specific ingredients, and mixed with water to dilute it. Beers, ales, porter, stout, and malt liquor all have less than 10% alcohol.

Japanese sake has between 14% and 16% alcohol. Wines have between 7% and 24% alcohol. Brandies have between 40% and 43% alcohol.

Whiskies have between 40% and 75% alcohol. Vodkas, gin, okolehao, and tequila all have between 40% and 50%.

Aquavit has between 35% and 45% alcohol.

Rum has the largest range, between 40% alcohol and 95% alcohol.

Ingredients of Common Alcohols

Beer, a very common alcoholic beverage, is a mixture of malted barley, water, yeast and hops, which gives the beer the bitter taste.

The yeast turns the sugary, malted barley into carbon dioxide and alcohol.

Wine is another common beverage, which consists of grape juice, sugar, yeast, and water.

One of the best places I've seen to enjoy a glass of wine is at this wedding venue in OC.

Like the beer, the yeast ferments the added and natural sugars in the grape juice into carbon dioxide and alcohol.

Whiskey is a very strong, hard liquor drink made from the fermented combination of grains, such as rye, corn, barley, and/or wheat.

American whiskeys are available in straight, which is aged in oak barrels for 2 years and is no greater than 160-proof, light whiskey, which is at least 160-proof, and blended whiskey, which is a combination of two or more 100 proof whiskeys.

Sake is Japanese rice wine, which consists of nine different types of rice, yeast, water, and koji, which a type of mold that converts the starch in the rice to sugar for the yeast to ferment.

Benefits of Alcohol

According to the Mayo Clinc’s website, moderate drinking is defined as “two drinks a day if you’re a male and under 65, or one drink a day if you are female and under 65.

For those 66 and older, one drink a day is considered moderate.

One drink is defined as 12 ounces (355 milliliters) of beer, 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of wine or 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) of 80-proof distilled spirits.”

The health benefits of moderate drinking are a lower risk of gallstones, reduced risk of a heart attack, possible reduction in risk of a stroke, possible reduction in risk of diabetes, and reduction in risk of developing heart disease.

Warnings and Abuse

"Excessive drinking is very bad for your overall health and welfare. Excessive drinking can lead to diabetes, cancer of the liver, pancreas, mouth, larynx, breast, pharynx, and esophagus."

It can damage the heart, cause a stroke, cause your blood pressure to rise, cause a miscarriage, destroy your liver, and cause fetal alcohol syndrome in an unborn child.

Alcohol interacts with medications, like antidepressants, antihistamines, antibiotics, anticoagulants, beta blockers, anti-seizure drugs, sleeping pills, medicine for diabetes, and pain relievers.

Alcohol also affects your welfare. It impairs your judgment, which may lead you to think that you can drive a car, or you may have a sexual encounter with someone whom you’d normally refrain from, or even get into a fight.

It causes withdrawal symptoms, commonly known as a hangover, which is a combination of vomiting, nausea, headache, and aches and pains throughout your body.

So if you do drink, try to be responsible. And most of all, don't make your problem someone else's.

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