Alcohol Addiction And Abuse by Bassam Imam - HTML preview

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There are 2 kinds of alcohol, ethanol and methanol. Both look identical however, methanol is so toxic drinking just a few drops of it can cause blindness, more of which will kill a person. Neither can it be inhaled nor make contact with a person’s skin.

Ethanol is the main ingredient in fermented and distilled drinks. Consuming a small quantity of it will result in a buzz, further on intoxication will set in. In large doses inebriation, vomiting, loss of consciousness or coma may ensue. Alcohol poisoning can lead to death. The word alcohol as is used today is derived from the Arabic word Al-Kuhl.

{In Ancient Egypt} “Beer was commonly known as ‘Hqt’ (‘heqet’ or ‘heket’), but was also called ‘tnmw’ (‘tenemu’) and there was also a type of beer known ashaAmt (‘kha-ahmet’). The determinative of the word Hqt (beer) was a beer jug.” (Ancient Egypt Online: Beer in Ancient Egypt)

The beer in ancient Egypt was thick, made from barley, herbs, honey, and spices. It was a 'clean' substitute to the bacteria infested Nile River water, which often-times had to be boiled before drinking. Beer was an important aspect of their society, so much so even children consumed it. Beer was particularly important for the poor, but well-to-do Egyptians also considered it an important part of their diet. Wine was consumed by the wealthy. Beer was one of the main methods of payment for services rendered; it was money in thick liquid form. Beer was illustrated on the walls of the tombs, as were portrayals of the ancient Egyptian brewery. Overall, it was the women who made this much sought after drink.

Ancient Egyptians gave alms of beer to the Gods that they worshipped, and was also used in other religious practices. Ancient Egyptian beer wasn’t very intoxicating. It was more nutritious than today’s beer and sweeter. During some religious ceremonies ancient Egyptians drank beer along with wine, resulting in drunkenness. According to one interpretation of ancient Egyptian folklore, it was Osiris (Ausir or Ausar, worshipped by ancient Egyptians as the God of the Afterlife) that taught ancient Egyptians how to brew beer.

Wine, which was commonly known as Yrp (irep) was expensive. Wine was used as gifts to the Gods and to the deceased. The ancient Egyptian word for wine preceded the word for vine, indicating that wine was purchased from abroad prior to the purchase of grapes. Tomb walls are testament to extravagant wine drinking party, wherein, much wine was consumed. Drunkenness was seen as something interesting.

Vineyards were scattered throughout the area, but as expected, the biggest share were located near the Nile Delta. Grapes were garnered by hand. Then, they were put in special containers where they were traditionally squashed, or placed in special wine presses. The out-flowing juices ended up in open containers resulting in fermentation. The containers were then sealed. Inscribed on these containers were the date, name of the vineyard, and the person in charge of the production of the wine. Following the aging process, the jars were carefully broken. The wine was then drained into other special jars. When the wine was ready to be served, it was drained into empty vessels that had a short trunk.

The ancient Greeks loved to have parties and symposiums (large structured drinking parties) wherein they drank much. They used whatever excuse or occasion, big or small, to commemorate or celebrate by drinking alcohol. Even the death of a beloved one or the changing of the season was considered a valid reason to drink.

Large drinking parties were specifically structured, occurring at specific times and with rules. Plutarch characterized the typical drinking party as "a passing of time over wine, which guided by gracious behaviour, ends in friendship.” (By Christopher Xenopoulos Janus; The Drinking Parties -- Symposiums in Ancient Greece)

It was accepted tradition for the presenter to etch the names of his guests on a wax tablet, along with the day and hour selected for the symposium. The tablet was then given to a slave who was responsible for going to the houses of the guests and handing them their tablet.

Initially, the symposiums usually contained 9 individuals, including the presenter. But as time passed, symposiums in Athens grew so large it became necessary to assign a commission to guarantee the number of guests pass the legal maximum. But from the 4th Century B.C. onward, exceptional houses had a designated room for drinking and reclining referred to as an andron (men's chamber). Over time androns became more decorated, and furnishings more stylish.

The Roman people were also big drinkers. Wine was an integral part of daily life. The typical Roman Citizen couldn’t imagine living without wine or other alcoholic drinks. Wine was believed to be good for social relations, praised by some of Rome’s most ingenious writers. The renowned Roman poet, Ovid, born Publius Ovidius Naso (March 20, 43 BC - Circa 18 AD) wrote, “There, when the wine is set, you will tell me many a tale --– how your ship was all but engulfed in the midst of the waters, and how, while hastening home to me, you feared neither hours of unfriendly night nor headlong winds of the south." (Facts and Dé WINE AND DRUGS IN ANCIENT ROME)

Ironically, the lack of refrigeration, air conditioning, or chemical preservatives sped the process of grape juice turning into wine. Roman wine was sweet high in alcohol content. This was partly due to the use of late season grapes in the production of wine. But like their Greek predecessors, wine was usually watered down. The belief of the day amongst Romans was that only Barbarians consumed undiluted wine. The wine consumed in the typical home (normally with every meal) was weaker than its tavern counterpart, understandably so. More so, like many other peoples of the day and of earlier times, wine was safer to consume than water. The acids and alcohol in wine helped to hinder the growth of harmful bacteria and pathogens.

No wonder, Romans believed that wine had important medicinal qualities. In addition, it was typical for Roman soldiers to drink a litre of wine every day, likely being a factor in their utter brutality on the battlefield and against civilian enemies. The well-to-do Romans chose to drink in appealing places containing beautiful gardens. Citizens and slaves alike drank more than a litre a day.

Grapes were typically squashed by the feet of slave workers. When all was done, the batter was sent to a winepress wherein the grape squashing process would continue. The resultant juices streamed down a stem where it was shovelled out and placed in 400 litre clay pots packed with honey, thyme, pepper, and other spices. Workers then mixed the mishmash with broomsticks clothed in fennel. Between 1 and 3 weeks later the brew converted into a lathery red liquid containing around 12 percent (24 Proof) alcohol. Note that the wine was only drinkable for 10 days. Following this time it would begin to decay making it undrinkable.

The places for drinking alcohol in many societies and cultures around the world and the philosophy that surround this substance have altered notably throughout time. One of the biggest changes has occurred in the workplace. In many cultures alcohol was accepted in the working environment. The acceptance of alcohol consumption has been, to a large extent, relocated to the recreational and private sector.

On an official basis, the vast majority of occupations will not tolerate open drinking, in particular drunkenness at work. As society and work have become more complicated and technologically advanced, the open consumption of alcohol in the workplace has lessened. Today, many of our jobs require ‘sober performance’. For example, people don’t want to speak to a drunk or alcohol-breathed customer service representative, a physician, professor, plumber, and so forth. The Industrial Revolution (beginning in the late 18th early 19th century) relocated much of the work from home or in a close-knit community to an impersonal specified setting. Operating machinery required sobriety and coordination; the gadgets were dangerous and tedious to operate even for sober persons.

Rum Rations of a pint a day were initiated by the Royal Navy in the 17 century, a gallon of beer allowance, and a bonus double ration of rum before battle.

A person with an addiction has little or no control regarding the use of the pestering substance, behaviour, or activity. Chemical addictions can result in severe adverse effects on the person's life, to the point of becoming harmful, extremely dangerous, life threatening, or death. Initially, the addictive substance or behaviour was a trivial matter then became a habit, then an addiction.

Addiction has inherently mental, physical and/or behavioural components. There is a powerful, harmful, often-times intrusive need to acquire the substance or perform a specific or designated activities that will satisfy the unhealthy craving (alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, prescription medication, caffeine, certain foods, gambling, porn, etc.), even at the expense of living a normal, happy life. Cravings aggravate the addiction, and are one of the main factors directly responsible for relapses. Uncomfortable mental states (anxiety, depression, stress, etc.) may also strengthen or return cravings. Loss of control is a very powerful component of addiction. In fact, the word 'addiction' traces its origin to the Latin word for 'enslaved' or 'bound to', and rightfully so.

Alcohol is an intoxicant-depressant that slows down the central nervous system (CNS). In brief, the CNS controls most of the activities of the body and mind; it consists of the brain and spinal cord. With this in mind, there is no doubt that drinking alcohol will affect a person’s thoughts, actions, behaviours, and intentions. Increased alcohol consumption will have a strong adverse effect on a person’s ability to concentrate, speak, see, physically coordinate his or her actions, evaluate and interpret. Furthermore, overall health will be affected. Our brains rely on a fragile harmony of chemicals and processes. In severe cases, a person’s physical and mental health may be permanently-adversely affected.

Alcohol will never affect everyone in the same way; a person can drink the same amount as in a previous occasion with variable results.

The CAGE questionnaire was Developed by Dr. John Ewing, Founding Director of the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (NOTE: 2 or more ‘yes’ answers indicates a strong likelihood of alcohol abuse).


  • Have you ever felt that you should Cut down on your drinking?
  • Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
  • Have you ever felt bad or Guilty about your drinking?
  • Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover (Eye opener?)

Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). This is a more in-depth questionnaire than the CAGE questions. It has been established by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1982, as a basic screening tool to recognize the early warning signs of harmful drinking and identify mild drinking. The AUDIT test includes 10 multiple choice questions that can be answered in the following manner: Once a Month or less, 2 to 4 times a Month, 2 to 3 times a week, 4 or more times a week.


  • How often do you have a drink containing alcohol?
  • How many drinks containing alcohol do you have on a typical day when you are drinking?
  • How often do you have six or more drinks on one occasion?
  • How often during the last year have you found that you were unable to stop drinking once you had started?
  • How often during the last year have you failed to do what was normally expected from you because of drinking?
  • How often during the last year have you needed a drink in the morning to get yourself going after a heavy drinking session?
  • How often during the last year have you had a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking?
  • How often during the last year have you been unable to remember what happened the night before because you had been drinking?
  • Have you or someone else been injured as a result of your drinking?
  • Has a relative, friend, doctor, or other health worker been concerned about your drinking or suggested you cut down?


  • The quantity of alcohol consumed.
  • What kind of alcoholic beverage was consumed (Beer, Wine, Champagne, etc.) was the drink consumed straight or with soda, cola, or other non-alcoholic liquid?
  • The time frame in which the alcohol was consumed.
  • Other drugs or medications used in conjunction with the alcohol.
  • Was the alcohol consumed on an empty stomach; if not what and how much food and non-alcoholic beverages were consumed.
  • How much time has elapsed since the person’s last drink?
  • Were any of the drinks spiked?
  • What are the expectations of the person regarding the drinking of alcohol?
  • The person’s past experiences with alcohol consumption?
  • Was the person driving, operating machinery, or performing a task wherein his, her, or other peoples’ safety was compromised.
  • Was the person an alcoholic or problem drinker, or a novice drinker?
  • Was the person a law-abiding Citizen or a convicted felon? Did the person commit a crime under the influence of alcohol?
  • Gender and age. Women tend to have less muscle and bone mass than men.
  • People over 65 or are seriously handicapped are at greater risk of alcohol-related complications.
  • The physical and mental health and maturation level of the person.
  • Was the person drinking alone or in a social setting? If alone where, and why so? If in a social setting where and what kind of social setting?
  • Did the drinking occur on a chartered airline, train, bus line, or ship?
  • Why was the person drinking (New Year’s Eve, Christmas, Birthday, Graduation, Passing Final Exams, Job Loss, Divorce, Vacation, etc.)?
  • Religious, moral, ethical, and familial view regarding alcohol consumption.

Alcohol abuse can wreak havoc on a person’s health states. Most drinkers make the mistake of thinking that because booze is legal in their respective countries or jurisdictions, it’s nowhere nearly as dangerous as illicit drugs. Think again; in fact because alcohol is legal in much of the world people have easy access to it, and will often lower their guard when consuming it.

Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse can also be referred to as Alcohol Abuse Disorder (AAD) or Alcohol Dependence (AD). Throughout this book the author will use these and other phrases interchangeably.


  • A serious problem controlling drinking patterns.
  • Inability to stop drinking at the appropriate time.
  • Needing a drink upon awakening.
  • Outright denial, even if the signs of AAD are quite visible to family, friends, coworkers, and others.
  • Unnaturally absorbed and immersed with alcohol, in spite of it creating serious problems in life. Alcohol may become the most important thing in life, more so than food, water, work, family, friends, freedom, personal hygiene or home.
  • Unnatural sleeping habits, unhealthy changes in the sleep-wake cycle.
  • Over time, more and more alcohol must be consumed to acquire the level of satisfaction of past uses.
  • Eventually reaching a point wherein intrusive and harmful withdrawal occurs when alcohol use is suddenly reduced, terminated, or delayed.
  • Even after drinking compromises their health and safety, and that of others; still the drinker is unable to quit.
  • The body and mind have become addicted or dependent on alcohol consumption.
  • Any excuse is used to justify the drinking of alcohol or getting drunk.
  • Mood swings, irritability, violent behaviour, criminality, a significant lowering of inhibitions leading to devious behaviour including rape or molestation, cheating on a spouse, gambling money away, etc.


  • Drowsiness, sluggishness.
  • Dizziness, light-headedness, onset of vertigo.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Decreased shyness and inhibitions (the barriers that block unacceptable speech and conduct weaken)
  • Decrease in motor skills harmony and coordination.
  • Reduction in alertness and a slowing in reaction time
  • Mental disorientation, confusion, memory impairment or total loss
  • Violence, law-breaking activities (minor or serious crimes)
  • Respiratory depression or respiratory insufficiency (less than 12 breaths per minute or a failure to provide normal ventilation and perfusion of the Lungs.
  • Spatial disorientation
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Choking on vomit or other substance
  • Death

A sure way to never become an alcoholic is to never start drinking in the first place. Aside from a child born with foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), or a person who is forced to drink, a person who has never had a drink has an alcohol-free clean slate.

For many people, the first alcoholic drink may feel like its raising self-confidence and reducing anxiety. The fact is this is only a feeling; a person’s life cannot be improved by having a drink. Inhibition begins to be blocked, the more a person drinks thereafter, the weaker his or her inhibitions become. It is a neurochemical response to the alcohol, irrespective of what the drinker may believe or think. Increased alcohol consumption is often accompanied by anger or even rage, physical and/or verbal aggression, distress, or sadness; some people may seem jolly, but wait until they lose their temper.


  • If you believe in a higher Deity (GOD), pray to HIM, ask for HIS help and forgiveness.
  • Use exercise, loosening-up, leisure, and diversion to deal with and reduce stress rather than alcohol. Exercise helps to improve overall fitness and health. Regular exercise can bring about a positive addiction (a healthy habit or addiction: Runner’s high, resistance training muscle pump, etc.) and help boost the immune system. Exercise can also help a person sleep better. It can help divert a craving for alcohol into something positive.
  • Learn and use breathing techniques when you’re depressed, shaken, anxious, or have a craving for alcohol or another drug. NOTE: In serious cases, a medical emergency may arise. This will be discussed later in the book.
  • Talk to a trusted and caring person; sometimes professional counselling is necessary. Alcohol will never solve anyone’s problems this nemesis will only make matters worse.
  • If you do plan on drinking, ask yourself why? How much? How fast? Do I have a termination plan (when will I end this particular drinking session)?
  • The person must always stay in control.
  • If you continue to abuse alcohol understand that other people, especially intimate ones will be affected.


  • Have a strict limit, understand it, keep track of how much you drink and never exceed it under any circumstances.
  • Pair up with one or more trusted friends, look out for each other. Don't be shy to tell your friend that he or she has had enough to drink, and accept the same if it is said.
  • Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach.
  • Never binge drink, or drink too rapidly.
  • If you are hosting a party stop serving alcoholic drinks at a certain time; don't make it too late and abide by the rule.
  • Never drink and drive; have a buddy system wherein anyone who is drunk will be driven by a trusted friend, or will be able to take a taxi home. Never drink and drive, even if you feel like you’re in complete control. Chances are you aren't.
  • Never, ever accept a drink from a stranger; you must always know what’s in your drink, and where it came from.
  • Caffeine will not sober a person; it’s a stimulant.
  • Never mix illicit drugs with alcohol. Watch out for prescription medication; understand the do's and don'ts if you’re on prescription medication.
  • Be prepared to have overnight guests who may be too inebriated to leave.
  • If someone vomits from drinking alcohol ensure that they're okay afterwards. Keep an eye on them to make sure that there are no complications.
  • If someone at your party passes out, watch out, be very careful. It could be more dangerous than you think.
  • Do not serve alcohol to minors or to persons who have reached their limit. Be polite but firm and steadfast in your refusal. Ask him or her to leave the party if the person insists on having more drinks and cannot be kindly persuaded to do otherwise. You may be legally responsible if anything goes wrong.
  • Never leave your drink unattended. This rule applies to both males and females, regardless of age or race. Many rapes and sexual assaults of women and men go unreported because the victim was unconscious or too inebriated to understand what was happening to them. And in today's high-tech age, a person's nude and unconscious image, or sex or rape tape can be plastered on Face-book, the internet, and so forth. Please don't take any chances. I'm sure that many victims have said to themselves 'it's always supposed to happen to someone else' or 'I never imagined it could ever happen to me'.


  • Permanent brain damage (alcohol dementia or Wernicke— Korsakoff Syndrome (memory Loss), irreparable damage to brain cells, reduced coordination and motor control).
  • Mental health problems and disorders.
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Certain types of cancer (the body transforms alcohol into acetaldehyde, a powerful carcinogen; long-term alcohol abuse wreaks havoc on the drinker’s immune system).
  • Bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Diabetes: The body’s sensitivity to insulin may be curtailed, which can bring about Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes is a prevalent side effect of pancreatitis, which is commonly caused by alcohol abuse. Alcohol contains many calories and too much sugar (empty, harmful calories which can shock the body).
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Increased risk of heart complications.
  • Onset of mental illnesses, and/or a worsening of pre-existing ones.
  • Suicide
  • High blood pressure
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Impotency
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Nerve damage
  • Significant weight gain (fat and bloating), or significant weight loss (reduction in muscle tissue and Tone, weakening of the body)
  • Menstrual problems in women.
  • Onset of additional addictions.
  • STDs resulting from unprotected sex.
  • Injuries resulting from behaviour occurring during periods of intoxication.
  • Liver disease (cirrhosis, cancer)
  • Blood vessel disorders.
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
  • Anaemia: Prolonged alcohol abuse can result in the abnormal reduction of the oxygen-carrying red blood cells (chronic abnormal fatigue, unusually accelerated heartbeat, especially during exercise, shortness of breath and headache, especially during exercise, trouble concentrating, faintness, light-headedness, pallor (pale skin), leg cramps and spasms, restlessness, sleeplessness)
  • Increased victimization, troubles with the law.
  • Black-outs.
  • Coma.
  • Death.

“With continual alcohol use, one may go to be too early or late, not sleep across the night, and have an unusual eating regime, eating little throughout the day and/or overeating at night. This can lead to a vicious cycle of drinking because these individuals, in response, will consume more alcohol to fall asleep easier only to complain of more disrupted sleep across the night and additionally have a greater craving for alcohol," as conveyed to Science Daily by J. David Glass, professor of biological sciences at Kent State University. (July 15, 2010; Exercise May Be a Highly Effective Option for Alcoholics)


  • A markedly increased risk of getting oral or throat cancer.
  • Irritation and soreness.
  • Poor oral hygiene habits or absolutely none whatsoever.
  • Alcoholic have high sugar content. Much of the time it can't be tasted, keeping the drinker oblivious as to its harmful effects on the teeth and gums.
  • Drinks with high alcohol content tend to burn the mouth. Many winos, drunkards, alcoholics, and habitual abusers of alcohol often have their drinks straight (no juice, cola, soda, etc. mixed with the drink).
  • Poor nutrition and bad eating habits will result in a lowered immune system, raising the probability of tooth and gum disease.
  • Heavy drinkers may be oblivious to early signs of gum and tooth problems.
  • In chemistry alcohol is sometimes used as an instrument. It will perform the same function in an alcoholic drinker's mouth (reduction in saliva).
  • Increased acidity in the mouth which may soften tooth enamel.

“Addicts or alcoholics often come in with terrible teeth ... Alcoholics typically battle two issues: the alcohol irritates all the soft tissue in the mouth and it decreases the amount of natural saliva. In terms of the tissue, the skin of the mouth is very delicate and the alcohol is corrosive to the gums, cheeks and skin. It can affect the way the tissue cells divide, which is why people who drink heavily have a greater chance of getting mouth or throat cancer ... Gum disease causes teeth to get loose within the gum ... The gum erodes and can no longer support the teeth. Drinking, drugs, and smoking—all of which cause dry mouth, exacerbate this problem. Saliva is a natural healing property that helps to fight bacteria. When the mouth is dry, bacteria grows, which breaks down the gums, and jeopardizes the teeth,” said Beverly Hills dentist, Dr. Parimal Nagjee. (June 23, 2011, By Kristen McGuiness; Tooth and Consequences: How Alcohol Affects Your Teeth)

‘Club Drugs’ as they’re commonly known as, are used as a tool in the sexual assault of a targeted victim, wherein, the victim who has been drinking alcohol unknowingly receives a rape drug in her or his drink. Alcohol intensifies the effects of rape drugs. The helpless victim is raped, perhaps impregnated, and may acquire one or more Sexually Transmittable Diseases (STDs). Please be advised that although many of these may occur in social gatherings with strangers or acquaintances, sometimes the rapist is a boyfriend. In rare cases, a husband drugs his wife then takes advantage of her.

  • If you order a drink in a bar, keep an eye on the bartender until you’ve been given your drink. Always know what you’re drinking.
  • Keep track of how much you drink.
  • Never reach the level of inebriation or intoxication. In this case, you won’t be able to correctly judge the situation at hand.
  • A potential rapist may be quite charming and good looking too.
  • Rape can come in any sexual preference form, including heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, or lesbian. Note that in rare cases a human, drugs and then rapes an animal (bestiality).


  • A profound reduction or complete loss of muscle control.
  • Abnormal muscle relaxation.
  • An intensified feeling of drunkenness or inebriation.
  • Loss of consciousness, coma, death.
  • Permanent brain, body, or mental health damage.
  • Profound slurred speech.
  • Stomach problems, nausea or vomiting; in the latter case choking to death may occur. Don’t expect the rapist/s to come to your rescue. In an alternative case scenario, the victim may be alone and unable to help her or himself.
  • Mental disorientation.
  • Blurred or double vision.
  • Light headedness, faintness, vertigo.
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure, could reach a dangerous level)

Alcohol is the most powerful and frequently used drug in rapes; almost all of the adult victims are females. The drug is used as a means to an end by the rapist/s. The effects of rape drugs such as rohypnol (roofies, ecstasy; this drug is a prescription only powerful sedative), gamma hydroxybutyric (GHB) and ketamine are significantly strengthened when mixed with alcohol. Furthermore, alcohol is readily available drunk at many parties therefore its use will not draw suspicion.

Unfortunately, the presence of alcohol and rape drugs may hamper the victim's memory of who the rapists were. The