• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Dangers of alcohol consumption on students’ performance

alcohol consumption

Alcohol is described as “a colourless, volatile, flammable liquid which is produced by the natural fermentation of sugars and is the intoxicating constituent of wine, beer, spirits, and other drinks, and is also used as an industrial solvent and as fuel”.

Though the mere mention of the word, “alcohol” ignites some religious sentiments, to the point of total revulsion, alcohol, when taken in moderation has some health benefits. For instance, it helps in reducing one’s risk of developing and dying of heart disease. It also assists in reducing the risk of ischemic stroke (when the arteries to your brain become narrowed or blocked, causing severely reduced blood flow). Some researchers also claim that alcohol reduces the consumer’s risk of diabetes. But how much of alcohol is considered safe for human consumption?

According to the US Dietary Guidelines, 2015-2020, people should limit their alcohol-related risks by drinking in moderation, meaning up to 1 serving of alcohol per day for women( equivalent of one bottle of lager beer) and up to 2 servings ( 2 bottles) per day for men. This specific unit is computed based as one 341 ml bottle of 5% alcohol beer, cider or cooler or 43 ml shot of 40% hard liquor (vodka, rum, whisky, gin).

Based on the ill effects of abuse of alcohol, “it is an offence to drive if you have more than 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood”, especially in the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK).

The focus of this piece is the warning given, especially to students on the damaging effects of frequent alcohol consumption on the nervous system, especially the brain and eventually their academic performance. Chronic consumption leads to deficiency of vitamin B1, with damaging impact on the brain. It causes deficits in cognition, behavior and motor coordination.

In specific term, the research by Philip Langlais, a professor of neuroscience at the University of California titled: “Alcoholism: Clinical and experimental research” revealed that it reduces the capacity for learning. And of course, it affects the memory (remembering consistently).

In addition, the researcher found that though it may not negatively affect short term memory, it could lead to brain damage as it does not allow for the absorption of much-needed nutrients. This affects the nerves, muscles and brain tissues that re sensitive to low levels of vitamins, and minerals such as thiamine, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous.

The symptoms of alcoholism referred to as Wernicle’s Encelphalopathy(WE) includes the victims becoming easily confused, exhibiting abnormal eye movements, muscle weakness and gait disturbance.

The other symptom called Wernicle-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS) is amnesia, which is a significant cognitive and reasoning impairment. This is treated by thiamine.

On a general note, according to Ann Pietrangelo, “a glass a day may do little damage to your overall health. But if the habit grows or if you find yourself having a hard time stopping after just one glass, the cumulative effects can add up.”

Central nervous system

One of the easiest ways to understand alcohol’s impact on your body is by understanding how it affects your central nervous system. Slurred speech is one of the first signs you’ve had too much to drink. Alcohol can reduce communication between your brain and your body. This makes coordination more difficult. You may have a hard time balancing. You should never drive after drinking.

As alcohol causes more damage to your central nervous system, you may experience numbness and tingling sensations in your feet and hands.

Drinking also makes it difficult for your brain to create long-term memories. It also reduces your ability to think clearly and make rational choices. Over time, frontal lobe damage can occur. This area of the brain is responsible for emotional control, short-term memory, and judgement, in addition to other vital roles.

Chronic and severe alcohol abuse can also cause permanent brain damage. This can lead to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a brain disorder that affects memory

Listed below are other harms alcohol abuse do to the body:


Digestive and endocrine glands

Drinking too much alcohol can cause abnormal activation of digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas. Buildup of these enzymes can lead to inflammation known as pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can become a long-term condition and cause serious complications.

Inflammatory damage

The liver is an organ which helps break down and remove harmful substances from your body, including alcohol. Long-term alcohol use interferes with this process. It also increases your risk for chronic liver inflammation and liver disease. The scarring caused by this inflammation is known as cirrhosis. The formation of scar tissue destroys the liver. As the liver becomes increasingly damaged, it has a harder time removing toxic substances from your body.

Liver disease

Liver disease is life-threatening and leads to toxins and waste buildup in your body. Women are at higher risk for developing alcoholic liver disease. Women’s bodies are more likely to absorb more alcohol and need longer periods of time to process it. Women also show liver damage more quickly than men.

Sugar levels

The pancreas helps regulate your body’s insulin use and response to glucose. When your pancreas and liver aren’t functioning properly, you run the risk of experiencing low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. A damaged pancreas may also prevent the body from producing enough insulin to utilize sugar. This can lead to hyperglycemia, or too much sugar in the blood.

It’s important for people with diabetes or hypoglycemia to avoid excessive amounts of alcohol.


Some people who drink heavily may develop a physical and emotional dependency on alcohol. Alcohol withdrawal can be difficult and life-threatening.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include anxiety, nervousness, nausea, tremors, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, heavy sweating. Seizures, hallucinations, and delirium may occur in severe cases of withdrawal.

Digestive system

The connection between alcohol consumption and your digestive system might not seem immediately clear. The side effects often only appear after there has been damage. And the more you drink, the greater the damage will become.

Drinking can damage the tissues in your digestive tract and prevent your intestines from digesting food and absorbing nutrients and vitamins. As a result, malnutrition may occur.
Heavy drinking can also lead to gassiness, bloating, a feeling of fullness in your abdomen, diarrhea or painful stools.

For people who drink heavily, ulcers or hemorrhoids (due to dehydration and constipation) aren’t uncommon. And they may cause dangerous internal bleeding. Ulcers can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated early.

People who consume too much alcohol may also be at risk for cancer. People who drink frequently are more likely to develop cancer in the mouth, throat, esophagus, colon, or liver. People who regularly drink and use tobacco together have an even greater cancer risk.

From the above-stated students should resist the urge to abuse alcohol of any type, for their own sound health. Victims of alcoholism need professional help to break an alcohol addiction. As a result, many people seek medical detoxification to get sober. It’s the safest way to ensure you break the physical addiction.

Note: Additional information was obtained from ‘Healthline’ online platform.