Alcohol: moderate use a gateway to alcoholism

Muslims realize that all the detrimental consequences related to alcoholism are a proof that alcohol is the reason for numerous problems. The non-Muslims especially the Westerners have a convenient rationalization. They fracture the reality into two parts, moderate use and excessive use and keep trying to blame all problems on excessive use, while applauding the recreational value of moderate use and its other benefits. This also requires denying any possible relationship between moderate and excessive use. “Thus unto every people have We (Allah) caused their doing to seem fair.” (Al Quran 6:109)The simple fact is that every alcoholic starts as a moderate consumer of alcohol. He or she may or may not have a genetic predisposition, but, the reality is that if he or she had never tasted alcohol his or her vulnerability would not have been exposed.There are at least 75 verses in the Bible against wine or drunkenness. However, unfortunately, Christianity’s message on the issue becomes ambiguous as wine is a part of its sacraments also. In the majority of Western Christianity, the generally accepted definition of a sacrament is that it is an outward sign that conveys spiritual grace through Christ. Christian churches, denominations, and sects are divided regarding the number and operation of the sacraments. The outward component of sacraments entails the use of such things as water, oil, bread and wine.

Unlike the Bible, the Holy Quran has a very precise and unambiguous message about alcohol:

They ask thee (Muhammad) concerning wine and the game of hazard. Say: ‘In both there is great sin and also some advantages for men; but their sin is greater than their advantage.’ And they ask thee what they should spend. Say: ‘What you can spare.’ Thus does Allah make His commandments clear to you that you may reflect. (Al Quran 2:220)


O ye who believe! wine and the game of hazard and idols and divining arrows are only an abomination of Satan’s handiwork. So shun each one of them that you may prosper. Satan desires only to create enmity and hatred among you by means of wine and the game of hazard, and to keep you back from the remembrance of Allah and from Prayer. But will you keep back?
(Al Quran 5:91-92)

In these verses the Quran not only prohibits alcohol but also gives reasons behind the prohibition and enlightens us with criteria to judge useful from harmful!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, my commentary and highlights are in red:

Alcoholism has multiple and conflicting definitions. In common and historic usage, alcoholism is any condition that results in the continued consumption of alcoholic beverages, despite health problems and negative social consequences. Modern medical definitions[1] describe alcoholism as a disease and addiction which results in a persistent use of alcohol despite negative consequences. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, alcoholism, also referred to as dipsomania[2] described a preoccupation with, or compulsion toward the consumption of, alcohol and/or an impaired ability to recognize the negative effects of excessive alcohol consumption.

Although not all of these definitions specify current and on-going use of alcohol as a qualifier for alcoholism, some do, as well as remarking on the long-term effects of consistent, heavy alcohol use, including dependence and symptoms of withdrawal.

While the ingestion of alcohol is, by definition, necessary to develop alcoholism, the use of alcohol does not predict the development of alcoholism. The quantity, frequency and regularity of alcohol consumption required to develop alcoholism varies greatly from person to person. In addition, although the biological mechanisms underpinning alcoholism are uncertain, some risk factors, including social environment, stress,[3] mental health, genetic predisposition, age, ethnicity and gender have been identified.[4] Also, studies indicate that the proportion of men with alcohol dependence is higher than the proportion of women, 7% and 2.5% respectively, although women are more vulnerable to long-term consequences of alcoholism. Around 90% of adults in United States consume alcohol, and more than 700,000 of them are treated daily for alcoholism.[5] Professor David Zaridze, who led the international research team, calculated that alcohol had killed three million Russians since 1987.[6]

In USA almost half a million people have died in alcohol related traffic accidents, since 1982.[1][2]

The definitions of alcoholism and related terminology vary significantly between the medical community, treatment programs, and the general public.

Medical definitions

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and The American Society of Addiction Medicine define alcoholism as “a primary, chronic disease characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking.”[7] The DSM-IV (the dominant diagnostic manual in psychiatry and psychology) defines alcohol abuse as repeated use despite recurrent adverse consequences.[8] It further defines alcohol dependence as alcohol abuse combined with tolerance, withdrawal, and an uncontrollable drive to drink.[8] (See DSM diagnosis below.) Within psychology and psychiatry, alcoholism is the popular term for alcohol dependence.[8] Note that there is debate whether dependence in this use is physical (characterised by withdrawal), psychological (based on reinforcement), or both.Terminology

Many terms are applied to a drinker’s relationship with alcohol. Use, misuse, heavy use, abuse, addiction, and dependence are all common labels used to describe drinking habits, but the actual meaning of these words can vary greatly depending upon the context in which they are used. Even within the medical field, the definition can vary between areas of specialization. Because alcoholism is often used in a derogatory sense in politics and religion, the meanings of the words surrounding it are often used imprecisely.

Use refers to simple use of a substance. An individual who drinks any alcoholic beverage is using alcohol. Misuse, problem use, abuse,[9] and heavy use do not have standard definitions, but suggest consumption of alcohol to the point where it causes physical, social, or moral harm to the drinker. The definitions of social and moral harm are highly subjective and therefore differ from individual to individual.

Moderate Use is defined by The Dietary Guidelines for Americans as no more than two alcoholic beverages per day for men and no more than one alcoholic beverage per day for women.[10]

Within politics, abuse is often used to refer to the illegal use of any substance. Within the broad field of medicine, abuse sometimes refers to use of prescription medications in excess of the prescribed dosage, sometimes refers to use of a prescription drug without a prescription, and sometimes refers to use that results in long-term health problems. Within religion, abuse can refer to any use of a poorly regarded substance. The term is often avoided because it can cause confusion with audiences that do not necessarily share a single definition.

Remission is often used to refer to a state where an alcoholic is no longer showing symptoms of alcoholism. The American Psychiatric Association considers remission to be a condition where the physical and mental symptoms of alcoholism are no longer evident, regardless of whether or not the person is still drinking. They further subdivide those in remission into early or sustained, and partial or full.

The term dipsomania is used in medical and psychiatric circles to identify a condition which is characterized by the uncontrollable craving for alcohol or other intoxicants, which manifests for unknown reasons, and can be confused with alcoholism.

Risk factors

About 40 percent of those who begin drinking alcohol before age 14 develop alcohol dependence, whereas only 10 percent of those who did not begin drinking until 20 years or older developed an alcohol problem in later life.[11] Alcohol abuse during adolescence may lead to long-term changes in the brain which leaves them at increased risk of alcoholism in later years; genetic factors also influence age of onset of alcohol abuse and risk of alcoholism.[12]

The age of onset of drinking as well as genetic factors are associated with an increased risk of the development of alcoholism. Age and genetic factors influence the risk of developing alcohol related neurotoxicity.[13] Recent research has found that alcohol use at an early age may itself directly influence the risk of developing alcoholism via influencing the expression of genes which increase the risk of alcohol dependence.[14] This increased risk may be due to the highly sensitive developing adolescent brain which leads to modulating of the genetic state of the brain which in turn primes the adolescent for increased risk of alcohol dependence. Individuals who have a pre-existing vulnerability to alcoholism are also more likely to begin drinking earlier than average.[12] Genetic traits which influence the risk of the development of alcoholism are associated with a family history of alcoholism.[15] The risk taking behavior associated with adolescence promotes binge drinking. About 40 percent of alcoholics were drinking excessively by late adolescence. Most alcoholics develop alcoholism during adolescence or young adulthood. Severe childhood trauma is also associated with an increased risk of alcohol or other drug problems. There is evidence that a complex mixture of genetic factors as well as environmental factors, e.g. stressful childhood events, influence the risk of the development of alcoholism. Genes which influence the metabolism of alcohol also influence the risk of alcoholism. Good peer and family support reduce the risk of alcoholism developing.[16]

Signs and symptoms

Effects of long term alcohol misuse

The primary effect of alcoholism is to encourage the sufferer to drink at times and in amounts that are damaging to physical health. The secondary damage caused by an inability to control one’s drinking manifests in many ways. Alcoholism also has significant social costs to both the alcoholic and their family and friends.[17] Alcoholism can have adverse effects on mental health causing psychiatric disorders to develop.[18] Approximately 18 percent of alcoholics commit suicide.[19] Research has found that over fifty percent of all suicides are associated with alcohol or drug dependence.  When we examine suicide statistics, one is amazed to find that in 2006 more than 33,000 suicides occurred in the U.S.  Among young adults ages 15 to 24 years old, there are approximately 100-200 attempts for every completed suicide. In 2007, 14.5% of U.S. high school students reported that they had seriously considered attempting suicide during the 12 months preceding the survey; 6.9% of students reported that they had actually attempted suicide one or more times during the same period.[3]

In adolescents the figure is higher with alcohol or drug misuse playing a role in up to 70 percent of suicides.[20] Alcoholism also has a significant adverse impact on mental health. The risk of suicide among alcoholics has been determined to be 5,080 times that of the general public.[21] 

Physical health effects

It is common for a person suffering from alcoholism to drink well after physical health effects start to manifest. The physical health effects associated with alcohol consumption may include cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, epilepsy, polyneuropathy, alcoholic dementia, heart disease, increased chance of cancer, nutritional deficiencies, sexual dysfunction, and death from many sources. Severe cognitive problems are not uncommon in alcoholics. Approximately 10% of all dementia cases are alcohol related making alcohol the 2nd leading cause of dementia.[22]

Mental health effects

Long term misuse of alcohol can cause a wide range of mental health effects. Alcohol misuse is not only toxic to the body but also to brain function and thus psychological well being can be adversely affected by the long-term effects of misuse.[23] Psychiatric disorders are common in alcoholics, especially anxiety and depression disorders, with as many as 25% of alcoholics presenting with severe psychiatric disturbances. Typically these psychiatric symptoms caused by alcohol misuse initially worsen during alcohol withdrawal but with abstinence these psychiatric symptoms typically gradually improve or disappear altogether.[24] Psychosis, confusion and organic brain syndrome may be induced by chronic alcohol abuse which can lead to a misdiagnosis of major mental health disorders such as schizophrenia.[25] Panic disorder can develop as a direct result of long term alcohol misuse. Panic disorder can also worsen or occur as part of the alcohol withdrawal syndrome.[26] Chronic alcohol misuse can cause panic disorder to develop or worsen an underlying panic disorder via distortion of the neurochemical system in the brain.[27]

The co-occurrence of major depressive disorder and alcoholism is well documented.[28][29][30] Among those with comorbid occurrences, a distinction is commonly made between depressive episodes that are secondary to the pharmacological or toxic effects of heavy alcohol use and remit with abstinence, and depressive episodes that are primary and do not remit with abstinence. Additional use of other drugs may increase the risk of depression in alcoholics.[31] Depressive episodes with an onset prior to heavy drinking or those that continue in the absence of heavy drinking are typically referred to as “independent” episodes, whereas those that appear to be etiologically related to heavy drinking are termed “substance-induced”.[32][33][34] There is a high rate of suicide in chronic alcoholics with the risk of suicide increasing the longer a person drinks. The reasons believed to cause the increased risk of suicide in alcoholics include the long-term abuse of alcohol causing physiological distortion of brain chemistry as well as the social isolation which is common in alcoholics. Suicide is also very common in adolescent alcohol abusers, with 1 in 4 suicides in adolescents being related to alcohol abuse.[35]

Social effects

The social problems arising from alcoholism can be massive and are caused in part due to the serious pathological changes induced in the brain from prolonged alcohol misuse and partly because of the intoxicating effects of alcohol.[17][22] Alcohol abuse is also associated with increased risks of committing criminal offences including child abuse, domestic violence, rapes, burglaries and assaults.[36] Being drunk or hung over during work hours can result in loss of employment, which can lead to financial problems including the loss of living quarters. Drinking at inappropriate times, and behavior caused by reduced judgment, can lead to legal consequences, such as criminal charges for drunk driving or public disorder, or civil penalties for tortious behavior. An alcoholic’s behavior and mental impairment while drunk can profoundly impact surrounding family and friends, possibly leading to marital conflict and divorce, or contributing to domestic violence. This can contribute to lasting damage to the emotional development of the alcoholic’s children, even after they reach adulthood. The alcoholic could suffer from loss of respect from others who may see the problem as self-inflicted and easily avoided.


Disability-adjusted life yearfor alcohol use disorders per 100,000 inhabitants in 2002.

     no data      less than 50      50-150      150-250      250-350      350-450      450-550      550-650      650-750      750-850      850-950      950-1050      more than 1050

Total recorded yearly alcohol per capita consumption (15+), in litres of pure alcohol[74]

Substance use disorders are a major public health problem facing many countries.

“The most common substance of abuse/dependence in patients presenting for treatment is alcohol.”[56] In the United Kingdom, the number of ‘dependent drinkers’ was calculated as over 2.8 million in 2001.[75] The World Health Organization estimates that about 140 million people throughout the world suffer from alcohol dependence.[76][77] In the United States and western Europe 10 to 20% of men and 5 to 10% of women at some point in their lives will meet criteria for alcoholism.[78]

Within the medical and scientific communities, there is broad consensus regarding alcoholism as a disease state. For example, the American Medical Association considers alcohol a drug and states that “drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite often devastating consequences. It results from a complex interplay of biological vulnerability, environmental exposure, and developmental factors (e.g., stage of brain maturity).”[79]

Current evidence indicates that in both men and women, alcoholism is 50-60% genetically determined, leaving 40-50% for environmental influences.[80]

A 2002 study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism surveyed a group of 4,422 adults meeting the criteria for alcohol dependence and found that after one year, some met the authors’ criteria for low-risk drinking, even though only 25.5% of the group received any treatment,[81] with the breakdown as follows:

  • 25% still dependent
  • 27.3% in partial remission (some symptoms persist)
  • 11.8% asymptomatic drinkers (consumption increases chances of relapse)
  • 35.9% fully recovered — made up of 17.7% low-risk drinkers plus 18.2% abstainers.

In contrast, however, the results of a long term (60 year) follow-up of two groups of alcoholic men by George Vaillant at Harvard Medical School indicated that “return to controlled drinking rarely persisted for much more than a decade without relapse or evolution into abstinence.”[82] Vaillant also noted that “return-to-controlled drinking, as reported in short-term studies, is often a mirage.”


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  74. ^ Global Status Report on Alcohol 2004
  75. ^ a b Cabinet Office Strategy Unit Alcohol misuse: How much does it cost? September 2003
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23 replies

  1. Zoroaster and alcohol
    According to Encyclopedia Britannica:

    Zoroaster forbade all sacrifices in honour of Ahriman or of his adherents, the daevas, who from pre-Zoroastrian times had degenerated into hostile deities. In the prevailing religious tradition, Zoroaster probably found that the practice of sacrificing cattle, combined with the consumption of intoxicating drinks (haoma), led to orgiastic excess. In his reform, Zoroaster did not, as some scholars would have it, abolish all animal sacrifice but simply the orgiastic and intoxicating rites that accompanied it. The haoma sacrifice, too, was to be thought of as a symbolic offering.

    “Zoroaster.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 07 Jan. 2011. .

  2. Alcoholics Anonymous as a spiritual experience
    Only the first of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous mentions alcohol. The other 11 talk about redemption, restoring moral character, and devotion to God (or other higher power).

    From that perspective, it makes sense that a new study finds that Alcoholics Anonymous increases spirituality. But it goes further than that: Spirituality may actually play a role in successful recovery from alcoholism, says research in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

    The way that Alcoholics Anonymous members share their experiences of suffering is akin to what happens in a military unit or a musical group or a family, where the idea of “we’re all in this together” becomes particularly strong, said Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University.

    “Someone will say something profound that everyone can connect with beyond themselves, and it can be very moving,” said Humphreys, who was not involved in the study but also researches the effects of Alcoholics Anonymous. “That is a spiritual process.”

    Alcoholics Anonymous has more than 1.2 million members in the United States, encompassing more than 55,000 groups across the country. Founded in 1935, participation in this group has shown to be effective in short-term and long-term outcomes in numerous scientific studies. Since a large body of research has found that this and similar groups work (Narcotics Anonymous for drug use, and other organizations), more studies are turning to a deeper question: Why do they work?

    If belief in the higher power does work then more accurate theology and spirituality is likely to work better. This hypothesis would be hard to put to test in an honest non-partisan fashion. My suggestion will be that everyone should try to make some judgment on this issue indirectly and also ponder over the thesis that the Bible by giving ambivalent teaching on the subject of alcohol use, may have contributed to the problem in the first place. There are several other knols by me on different aspects of alcohol problem.

  3. Study: Alcohol ‘most harmful drug,’ followed by crack and heroin
    London, England (CNN) — Alcohol ranks “most harmful” among a list of 20 drugs — beating out crack and heroin — according to study results released by a British medical journal.

    A panel of experts weighed the physical, psychological and social problems caused by the drugs and determined that alcohol was the most harmful overall, according to an article on the study released by The Lancet Sunday.

    Using a new scale to evaluate harms to individual users and others, alcohol received a score of 72 on a scale of 1 to 100, the study says.

    That makes it almost three times as harmful as cocaine or tobacco, according to the article, which is slated to be published on The Lancet’s website Monday and in an upcoming print edition of the journal.

    Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine were the most harmful drugs to individuals, the study says, while alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the most harmful to others.

  4. Study: Alcohol ‘most harmful drug,’ followed by crack and heroin
    London, England (CNN) — Alcohol ranks “most harmful” among a list of 20 drugs — beating out crack and heroin — according to study results released by a British medical journal.

    A panel of experts weighed the physical, psychological and social problems caused by the drugs and determined that alcohol was the most harmful overall, according to an article on the study released by The Lancet Sunday.

    Using a new scale to evaluate harms to individual users and others, alcohol received a score of 72 on a scale of 1 to 100, the study says.

    That makes it almost three times as harmful as cocaine or tobacco, according to the article, which is slated to be published on The Lancet’s website Monday and in an upcoming print edition of the journal.

    Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine were the most harmful drugs to individuals, the study says, while alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the most harmful to others.

  5. Intentions are judged by the motives
    There is an over-riding priciple in Islam that actions are judged by the motives.

    Genuine medicinal use of alcohol or sedative medication is not prohibited in Islam, only the recreational use.

  6. Intoxicants are Unlawful in Islam Even in Small Quantities
    Narrated by Ḥaḍrat Jābir bin ‘Abdullāh, Allāh be pleased with him: Said the Prophet of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be on him):

    “If the larger dose of a thing causes intoxication, its small quantity is also unlawful.”
    (Abū Dāwūd)

    Explanatory Note
    While, on the one hand, this charming Ḥadīth declares liquor, and other intoxicants, as unlawful, it also, on the other hand, lays down the wise postulate that until a vice is cut at its root, and unless all the possible avenues leading to it are sealed, there is no shutting it out. Therefore it is a dangerous mistake to think that since liquor and other
    intoxicants do not induce intoxication when taken in small quantities, therefore there is no harm in their restricted consumption. Human nature is so constituted that once permission to use a thing is granted, one fails to observe subtle distinction of this nature and cannot keep off a
    particular limit. In particular in the case of intoxicants this danger is very great.

  7. Marijuana: another drug that may be legalized
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. When California voters head to the polls in November, 2010, they will decide whether the state will make history again — this time by legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for adults.

    The state was the first to legalize medicinal marijuana use, with voters passing it in 1996. Since then, 14 states have followed California’s lead, even though marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

    “This is a watershed moment in the decades-long struggle to end failed marijuana prohibition in this country,” said Stephen Gutwillig, California director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “We really can’t overstate the significance of Californians being the first to have the opportunity to end this public policy disaster.”

    California is not alone in the push to expand legal use of marijuana. Legislators in Rhode Island, another state hit hard by the economic downturn, are considering a plan to decriminalize possession of an ounce or less by anyone 18 or older.

    A proposal to legalize the sale and use of marijuana in Washington was recently defeated in that state’s legislature, though lawmakers there did expand the pool of medical professionals that could prescribe the drug for medicinal use.

    And a group in Nevada is pushing an initiative that marks the state’s fourth attempt in a decade to legalize the drug.

  8. Famous historian Arnold J Toynbee about Islam and alcohol
    Let me share a writing by Arnold J Toynbee about influence of Islam in curing alcohol dependence. He was a very famous historian in his time. Encyclopedia Britannica online has the following to say about Toynbee:

    “Arnold J Toynbee was an English historian whose 12-volume A Study of History (1934–61) put forward a philosophy of history based on an analysis of the cyclical development and decline of civilizations that provoked much discussion.”

    The essence of Toynbee meta-history is that civilizations thrive and survive on the basis of their ideas. He was not particularly fond of Islam, but he counts two major strengths of Islam over the Western civilization, namely prohibition of alcohol and human equality in Islam. He had the following to say about Islam and alcohol:

    “As for the evil of alcohol, it is at its worst among primitive populations in tropical regions which have been ‘opened up’ by Western enterprise; and, though the more enlightened part of Western public opinion has long been conscious of this evil and has exerted itself to combat it, its power of effective action is rather narrowly limited. Western public opinion can only take action in such a matter by bringing its influence to bear upon Western administrators of the tropical dependencies of Western powers; and, while benevolent administrative action in this sphere has been strengthened by international conventions, and these are now being consolidated and extended under the auspices of the United Nations, the fact remains that even the most statesmanlike preventive measures imposed by external authority are incapable of liberating a com¬munity from a social vice unless a desire for liberation and a will to carry this desire into voluntary action on its own part are awakened in the hearts of the people concerned. Now Western administrators, at any rate those of ‘Anglo-Saxon’ origin, are spiritually isolated from their ‘native’ wards by the physical ‘color bar’ which their race-consciousness sets up; the conversion of the native’s soul is a task to which their competence can hardly be expected to extend; and it is at this point that Islam may have a part to play.”

    A little bit later in the same chapter:

    “In two of these tropical regions, Central Africa and Indonesia, Islam is the spiritual force which has taken advantage of the opportunity thus thrown open by the Western pioneers of material civilization to all comers on the spiritual plane; and, if ever the ‘natives’ of these regions succeed in recapturing a spiritual state in which they are able to call their souls their own, it may prove to have been the Islamic spirit that has given fresh form to the void. This spirit may be expected to manifest itself in many practical ways; and one of these manifestations might be a liberation from alcohol which was inspired by religious conviction and which was therefore able to accomplish what could never be enforced by the external sanction of an alien law.
    Here, then, in the foreground of the future, we can remark two valuable influences which Islam may exert upon the cosmopolitan proletariat of a Western society that has cast its net round the world and embraced the whole of mankind; while in the more distant future we may speculate on the possible contributions of Islam to some new manifestation of religion.”

    Arnold J Toynbee. Islam, the West, and the future. This is a chapter of a book by Arnold J Toynbee, Civilization on Trial, published by Oxford University Press 1948.

  9. It is to educate and discuss and not to offend
    This is in response to Susan’s comment below. You have sealed the statement in time and space, or I could have tried to soften it.

    But if you think about it what I have said is true. A simple way to analyze this would be not to go in complicated stories but just put all the problems, some of which have been listed here, related to alcohol in one pile and all the benefits minus recreation in the other and compare the two piles.

    I have also quoted 70 verses against wine from the Bible as well.

    Please also ponder over the fact that alcohol is the gateway to use of other drugs which the Western societies mostly see as a problem. Alcohol is not different in essence from other drugs.

    It is a sincere attempt to educate but when a certain individual or society is in denial of certain facts of life then bringing those up is felt to be a confrontation, even when none is intended.

    My apologies, but I do not see a choice. What I can do is to bring similar comments from Western philosophers also, so my comments do not appear alien to the Western audience. I am a Westerner in as much as I have been living in the West for the last 23 years.

  10. 75 Bible References on Drinking Alcohol
    1) Genesis 9:20-26 – Noah became drunk; the result was immorality and family trouble.

    2) Genesis 19:30-38 – Lot was so drunk he did not know what he was doing; this led to immorality

    3) Leviticus 10:9-11 – God commanded priests not to drink so that they could tell the difference between the holy and the unholy.

    4) Numbers 6:3 – The Nazarites were told to eat or drink nothing from the grape vine.

    5) Deuteronomy 21:20 – A drunken son was stubborn and rebellious.

    6) Deuteronomy 29:5-6 – God gave no grape juice to Israel nor did they have intoxicating drink in the wilderness.

    7) Deuteronomy 32:33 – Intoxicating wine is like the poison of serpents, the cruel venom of asps.

    8) Judges 13:4, 7, 14 – Samson was to be a Nazarite for life. His mother was told not to drink wine or strong drink.

    9) 1 Samuel 1:14-15 – Accused, Hannah said she drank no wine.

    10) 1 Samuel 25:32-38 – Nabal died after a drunken spree.

    11) 2 Samuel 11:13 – By getting Uriah drunk, David hoped to cover his sin.

    12) 2 Samuel 13:28-29 – Amnon was drunk when he was killed.

    13) 1 Kings 16:8-10 – The king was drinking himself into drunkenness when he was assassinated

    14) 1 Kings 20:12-21 – Ben-Hadad and 32 other kings were drinking when they were attacked and defeated by the Israelites.

    15) Esther 1:5-12 – The king gave each one all the drink he wanted. The king was intoxicated when he commanded the queen to come.

    16) Psalm 75:8 – The Lord’s anger is pictured as mixed wine poured out and drunk by the wicked.

    17) Proverbs 4:17 – Alcoholic drink is called the wine of violence.

    18) Proverbs 20:1 – Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging.

    19) Proverbs 23:19-20 – A wise person will not be among the drinkers of alcoholic beverages.

    20) Proverbs 23:21 – Drunkenness causes poverty.

    For the rest of the references go to:

    Here is a reference in favor of wine from the Bible:

    “Go, eat your food with rejoicing and drink your wine with a good heart, because already the [true] God has found pleasure in your works.” (Ecclesiastes 9:7)

  11. Religiosity and abstinence from alcohol
    According to Encyclopedia Britannica:

    “The rate and severity of alcohol problems have been more consistently influenced by nongovernmental movements and agencies. The most obvious example is the success of religious movements, such as Buddhism, Islam, and numerous Christian denominations and sects, in confirming their followers as total abstainers. Mormons, Christian Scientists, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Baptists are examples of Christians whose churches have made abstinence a condition of loyal membership. In several European countries the abstinence movement also drew some support from the socialist-influenced labour movement and found some organizational expression in the form of fraternal orders, particularly the Order of Good Templars. The importance of religious orientation is indicated by the larger proportion of abstainers in the United States than in countries where the ideal of abstinence has been more politically motivated. The decline in the numbers of American abstainers in recent times may reflect the changing character of religious adherence in the United States.”

    “alcohol consumption.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 15 Feb. 2010 .

  12. Temperance movements are already in place
    According to Encyclopedia Britannica:

    “Among the Scandinavian countries, the alcohol consumption pattern is one not of drinking daily or with meals but rather of very heavy drinking on weekends or special occasions; this is believed to account for the relatively high rate of alcohol-connected problems, such as intoxication, even though the total alcohol consumption there is relatively low. The Scandinavian countries also have strong temperance (antialcohol) movements, often supported by government funds, and have large populations that abstain from alcohol consumption. It is probable, therefore, that alcohol is consumed by a smaller number of drinkers than is represented by the drinking-age population.”

    In Japan, heavy drinking and drunkenness are traditionally permitted in well-delimited social situations and are socially integrative. The traditional beverage is sake, often called rice wine but more properly referred to as a beer, brewed to a strength of at least 14 percent alcohol up to 17 percent. A great many drinking customs and rituals involving sake have been connected with religious and social occasions. Next to sake the common beverage is shochu, a sake mash distillate that contains about 25 percent alcohol. There is historical evidence of heavy drinking and alcoholism, as well as various attempts to impose prohibition. Abstinence was practiced by some followers of Buddhism and of some revered Japanese philosophers. In the last quarter of the 19th century, modernization was accompanied by a temperance movement stimulated, in part, by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the Salvation Army.

    Throughout the 20th century there were significant disparities in alcohol consumption across groups. Whereas 30 percent of whites were abstainers, nearly 50 percent of African Americans and Hispanics and 65 percent of Asians and Pacific Islanders abstained from alcohol consumption. As compared with urban populations, people in rural areas—who generally had fewer years of education, lower incomes, attended religious services more frequently, and belonged in larger proportions to fundamentalist Protestant denominations—also contained larger proportions of abstainers. In much of the United States, per capita consumption decreased in the latter part of the 20th century, especially in California and New York, though consumption increased from relatively low levels in most southern states.

    “alcohol consumption.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 15 Feb. 2010 .

  13. Binge Drinking: moderation is a myth hard to sustain
    Despite having a legal drinking age of 21, binge drinking in the United States remains very prevalent among high school and college students. Using the popular 5/4 definition of “binge drinking”, one study found that, in 1999, 44% of American college students (51% male, 40% female) engaged in this practice at least once in the past two weeks.[30] One can also look at the prevalence of “extreme drinking” as well. A more recent study of US first-semester college freshmen in 2003 found that, while 41% of males and 34% of females “binged” (using the 5/4 threshold) at least once in the past two weeks, 20% of males and 8% of females drank 10/8 or more drinks (double the 5/4 threshold) at least once in the same period, and 8% of males and 2% of females drank at least 15/12 drinks (triple the threshold). A main concern of binge drinking on college campuses is how the negative consequences of binge drinking affect the students. A study done by the Harvard School of Public Health reported that students who engage in binge drinking experience numerous problems such as: missing class, engaging in unplanned or unsafe sexual activity, being victims of sexual assault, unintentional injuries, and physical ailments.

  14. Blackouts and alcohol use
    Blackouts can generally be divided into two categories, “en bloc” blackouts, and “fragmentary” blackouts. En bloc blackouts are classified by the inability to later recall any memories from the intoxicated period, even when prompted. These blackouts are characterized also by the ability to easily recall things that have occurred within the last 2 minutes, yet inability to recall anything prior to this period. As such, a person experiencing an en bloc blackout may not appear to be doing so, as they can carry on conversations or even manage to accomplish difficult feats. It is difficult to determine the end of this type of blackout as sleep typically occurs before they end. [5] Fragmentary blackouts are characterized by the ability to recall certain events from an intoxicated period, yet be unaware that other memories are missing until reminded of the existence of these ‘gaps’ in memory. This phenomenon is also termed a brownout. Research indicates that fragmentary blackouts, or brownouts are far more common than en bloc blackouts.[6]

    [edit] Causes
    Blackouts are commonly associated with the consumption of large amounts of alcohol; however, surveys of drinkers experiencing blackouts have indicated that they are not directly related to the amount of alcohol consumed. Respondents reported they frequently recalled having “drunk as much or more without memory loss”, compared to instances of blacking out.[5] Subsequent research has indicated that blackouts are most likely caused by a rapid increase in a person’s blood-alcohol concentration. One study, in particular, resulted in subjects being stratified easily into two groups, those who consumed alcohol very quickly, and blacked out, and those who did not black out by drinking alcohol slowly, despite being extremely intoxicated by the end of the study.[7]

    [edit] Predisposition to blackouts
    Research indicates that some users of alcohol, particularly those with a history of blackouts, are predisposed to experience blackouts more frequently than others.[8] One such study indicated a link between prenatal exposure to alcohol and vulnerability towards blackouts, in addition to the oft-cited link between this type of exposure and alcoholism.[9] Alternatively, another study has indicated that there appears to be a genetic predisposition towards blacking out, suggesting that some individuals are made to be susceptible to alcohol related amnesia.[10]

    For the references see my knol on blackouts.

  15. Moderate alcohol use and sleep problems
    I am a sleep specialist physician and I know that any amount of alcohol use can make sleep disorders worse. Allow me to document it here well, before it is muddled by the alcohol industry for the gullible. This is especially true for Obstructive Sleep Apnea that affects upto 25% of male population. Even one or two drinks make it worse. This is a fact that I have repeatedly observed in scores of patient the last 10 years. Most of the population is witness to this in the sense that a few drinks make snoring worse louder and it also makes sleep apnea worse. Sleep Apnea then is related heart disease, hypertension and strokes.

    Recent research reveals that I was right to be concerned. Dr. Paul Peppard and a team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison did a study that showed that the number of alcoholic drinks imbibed, not just at bedtime, but over the course of the day, increases the risk of shallow breathing or a stoppage of breathing altogether.

    In some cases, alcohol actually seems to cause sleep disorders. If snoring disrupts your sleep, the malady becomes worse when you drink. If you don’t snore, you may start after a drink or two. If you normally snore, drinking can augment the problem into sleep apnea.

    One of the reasons that sleep apnea becomes worse after drinking is that when throat muscles relax and cause a cessation of breathing, you ordinarily gasp for breath and startle yourself awake. If you have been drinking, you are more relaxed, and may be unable to awaken and start breathing again. Alcoholics are at a higher risk of getting sleep apnea, other sleep disorders and sleep disruptions.

    I will bring out more authentic references also but allow me to keep listing whatever comes my way.…leep-apnea

    Avoiding alcohol and other CNS depressants: Alcohol and medications that act as central nervous system (CNS) depressants-such as pain killers, sedatives, and muscle relaxants-can worsen sleep apnea by relaxing the airway muscles further and/or by reducing the respiratory drive and causing more apneas to occur. Hence avoiding alcohol and CNS depressants close to bedtime may be helpful.

  16. Fetal alcohol syndrome
    Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a sexual disorder that can occur to the embryo when a pregnant woman ingests alcohol during pregnancy. An ingestion of alcohol does not always result in FAS. The current recommendation of both the US Surgeon General and the UK Department of Health is not to drink alcohol at all during pregnancy.

    Alcohol crosses the placental barrier and can stunt fetal growth or weight, create distinctive facial stigmata, damage neurons and brain structures, and cause other physical, mental, or behavioral problems. Surveys found that in the United States, 10–15% of pregnant women admit to having recently used alcohol, and up to 30% use alcohol at some point during pregnancy. The main effect of FAS is permanent central nervous system damage, especially to the brain. Developing brain cells and structures are underdeveloped or malformed by prenatal alcohol exposure, often creating an array of primary cognitive and functional disabilities (including poor memory, attention deficits, impulsive behavior, and poor cause-effect reasoning) as well as secondary disabilities (for example, mental health problems, and drug addiction). The risk of brain damage exists during each trimester, since the fetal brain develops throughout the entire pregnancy.

    Fetal alcohol exposure is the leading known cause of mental retardation in the Western world.[11][dubious – discuss] In the United States the FAS prevalence rate is estimated to be between 0.2 and 2.0 cases per 1,000 live births, comparable to or higher than other developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome or spina bifida.[12][dubious – discuss] The lifetime medical and social costs of each child with FAS are estimated to be as high as US$800,000.00

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