Posted by Reboot

Alcoholism leads to a staggering 3.3 million deaths a year globally, yet we have failed continually to put forth a solution to fight its addiction. Religious restrictions with severe punishment was perhaps the first response to combat alcoholism and drug addiction, which was soon followed by even stricter laws and penalties, to complete ban on the production and sale of liquor. Despite the colossal tragedy it annually causes around the world, society fails to see alcoholism as a disease and still condemns it as a moral weakness. We humans have a long tryst with fermentation and fermentation of human intellect must seem as the oldest and most popular if you are unaware of the history of alcohol.

It might surprise you that the seemingly classy, socially acceptable, and widely popular alcohol is actually the most murderous addictive substance in the market. Also, the art of fermentation itself was known to humankind much before we even started to write.

In fact the construction of the pyramids was accompanied by the construction of the first large scale brewery in ancient Egypt and it was no coincidence, as alcohol based drinks provided the most efficient mechanism to deliver nutrients to a large amount of workers.

Ironically, our appetite for alcohol and tryst with it could be in fact an evolutionary trait, genetically hardwired into us. The mutation in the ADH4 gene, which escalated the digestion of alcohol (ethanol precisely) up to 40 times faster, can be dated back to around 10 million years ago to the common primate ancestor we and the African apes share. Well there are many reasons for the same, the naturally rotting fruit with ethanol was not only easier to locate for our primitive primate ancestors but was also easier to digest while being an excellent source of calories in the tough foraging times. Added bonus was the antiseptic qualities that ethanol brought with itself – it repelled microbes and kept our primate ancestors from falling sick.

Earliest evidence of the first alcoholic beverage dates back to 9000 years from around 7000 BC in Jiahu, China, while the earliest evidence of grape-wine comes from Zagros Mountains of Iran from around 5000-6000 BC. Archaeologists say that all the recorded evidence points to the fact that alcoholic beverage was independently developed in different areas, however it did spread from one region to other over the span of time. The wide popularity alcohol enjoyed was primordially because of the nutritional content, ease of storage, and how a lot of people could be fed from the same, and the mental pleasure was just an added bonus.

In fact the construction of the pyramids was accompanied by the construction of the first large scale brewery in ancient Egypt and it was no coincidence, as alcohol based drinks provided the most efficient mechanism to deliver nutrients to a large amount of workers.

However, our tryst with alcohol gradually refined over years culminating into usage of alcohol for merely seeking pleasure. What we ignored here was how powerfully addictive alcohol is, and how with co-occurring disorders or for impulsive individuals it can lead to alcoholism – the deadliest, softest, and most socially acceptable killer of our times.

Other problems stemming from alcoholism:-

· Alcohol dependent people become socially dysfunctional, which leads to domestic and other kind of abuse.

· People suffering from alcoholism are controlled completely by alcohol and fail to meet their work, social, and family commitments.

· Families go through financial turmoil as people suffering from alcoholism tend to exhaust their financial resources for the sake of their addiction.

· Deaths from a large number of road accidents occur from driving under the influence of alcohol.

· Loss of economic productivity, as people suffering from alcoholism become an inefficient workforce.

 

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