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When it comes to alcohol, most people are familiar with the basics: it can impair judgment, cause liver damage, and lead to addiction. But many people aren’t aware of the many lesser-known but equally important facts about alcohol. From its historical origins to its impact on the body, these 24 facts about alcohol, compiled from sources such as Healthline, Informed Health, and PBS, might surprise you.
- Alcohol has been intertwined with human civilization for thousands of years, with its roots reaching back to ancient history. The earliest evidence of alcohol production dates back to 7,000-6,600 BC in the region now called Iran.
- The ancient Egyptians had a goddess of beer named Tenenet. They drank beer as part of their daily diet. It was even used as currency.
- Alcohol has been used for medicinal purposes throughout history. The ancient Greeks believed in the healing properties of wine, using it to treat various ailments. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used wine as a disinfectant and anesthetic during surgical procedures.
- Alcohol has even affected world languages. For example, the English phrase “Dutch courage” originated from the idea that the Dutch were heavy drinkers and became associated with the bravery gained from alcohol consumption.
- In the early years of the United States, alcohol was widely regarded as beneficial for a person’s health. Historical records indicate that in 1790, Americans of drinking age consumed an average of 5.8 gallons of pure alcohol per year. By 1830, this figure had climbed to 7.1 gallons, which is considerably higher than the current annual average of 2.5 gallons per person, as reported by the World Health Organization. At that time, alcohol was perceived as a remedy for digestion and a means of building up one’s physical strength.
- During a harsh winter at Valley Forge, General George Washington ordered that his troops be provided with a “gill” of both whiskey and rum while they were there.
- Two out of the 27 amendments to the U.S. Constitution have addressed the subject of alcohol. One of these is the 18th Amendment popularly known as the Prohibition Act, which was ratified in 1919 and sought to prohibit the manufacture and sale of alcohol. The 18th Amendment was overturned after 14 years when the 21st Amendment was ratified.
- In Russia, medical professionals have a unique way of treating alcoholism. They insert a small capsule under the skin, which triggers a severe reaction upon consuming alcohol. Even a small amount of alcohol can result in symptoms comparable to heroin withdrawal.
- Although many turn to alcohol to escape from their problems, it is, in fact, a depressant that should be consumed only in moderation.
- Alcohol does not make you forget anything. Instead, it reduces the brain’s ability to create memories. Have you ever woken up with no memory of the previous night due to excessive drinking? The reason behind this is that the brain loses its ability to retain memories during a blackout, leading to a gap in your recollection.
- The most expensive bottle of alcohol ever sold was a bottle of tequila, which sold for $3.5 million.
- Oenophobia is a medically recognized phobia of wine, leading sufferers to exhibit irrational behavior and severe anxiety when in the presence of wine or wine bottles.
- The fear of an empty beer glass is a recognized phobia called Cenosillicaphobia.
- The alcohol in your blood freely diffuses through the walls of the stomach, meaning drinking on an empty stomach makes you drunk quicker.
- An angel’s share is a term used in whisky production to refer to the quantity of alcohol that evaporates from the casks during maturation.
- In medieval England, alcohol was often served with breakfast.
- In 2011, the world’s strongest beer was Brewmeister’s Snake Venom. It has 67.5 percent alcohol.
- The type of alcohol found in wine, beer, and spirits is ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, and is the only type that can be safely consumed without causing serious harm to the body.
- Ethanol is a depressant, meaning it slows down brain activity.
- When ethanol enters the bloodstream, it passes through cell membranes in various organs, including the brain and heart, leading to associated effects.
- Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused addictive substances, with 1 in 8 American adults meeting the criteria for alcohol use disorder.
- Men are more likely than women to consume alcohol, but long-term drinking is more harmful to women’s health.
- Women who are dependent on alcohol have a significantly higher risk of dying from alcohol-related causes compared to men.
- Alcohol is the third-leading preventable cause of death in America, resulting in 88,424 alcohol-related deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Do You Need Help?
A chronic brain disease, addiction is treatable. You do not need to struggle with alcohol or drug addiction alone. If you or a loved one needs help, contact Canyon Vista Recovery Center. Located in Mesa, Arizona, our skilled professionals will guide you along the path to recovery using a combination of medical and psychiatric care, holistic therapies, and evidence-based addiction treatments. Now is the time to get the help you need.