THE INFLUENCE OF EXCESSIVE INTAKE OF ALCOHOL AMONG UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

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CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study          
Alcohol is a psychoactive drug that has a depressant effect.  People have been brewing and fermenting alcoholic drinks since the dawn of civilization.  Consumed in moderate amount, alcoholic beverages are relaxing and in some cases may even have beneficial effects in heart, health, consumed in excess alcohol is poisonous to human systems and is considered a drug. When people take (drink) alcohol, it is absorbed into their bloodstream.  It affects the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), which controls virtually all body functions. The immediate physical effects of drinking alcohol range from mild mood changes to complete los of co-ordination, vision, balance and speech, any which can be signals of acute alcohol intoxication or drunkenness.  These effects usually wear-off in a matter of hours after a person stops drinking (American Journal of Addiction, 2003).          
The word ‘alcohol’ probably has its origin in Arabic meaning ‘a fine dust’ or ‘essence’.  There are four main types of alcohol:          
METHYL ALCOHOL           -        CH3 OH          
ETHYL ALCOHOL              -        C2 H5 OH          
PROPHL ALCOHOL           -        C3 H7 OH          
BUTYL ALCOHOL              -        C4 H9 OH          
ETHYL Alcohol is the one that is the spirit in intoxicating drinks, and its concentration ranges from 4 to 59%.  Alcohol has very valuable antiseptic properties, and when used outside the body is very useful chemical (A guide to family health, 1983).          
An alcohol beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol.  Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes:  Beers, Wines and Spirits.  They are legally consumed in most countries, and over one hundred countries have laws regulating their production, sale and consumption.  In particular, such laws specify the minimum age at which a person may legally buy or drink them.  This minimum age varies between sixteen and twenty-five years, depending upon the country and the type of drink.  Most nations set it at eighteen years of age (International Center for Alcohol Policies.  Retrieved 2009:  Minimum age limit worldwide).  The production and consumption of alcohol occurs in most cultures of the world, from hunter-gatherer peoples to nation-states (Arnold, 2005).  Alcoholic beverages are often an important part of social events in this cultures (European Beer Guide, 2006).
According to WHO (2012), in many parts of the world, drinking alcoholic beverages is a common feature of social gatherings.  Nevertheless, the consumption of alcohol carries a risk of adverse health and social consequences related to its intoxicating, toxic and dependence – producing properties.  In addition to the chronic diseases that may develop in those who drink large amounts of alcohol over a number of years, alcohol U.K. is also associated with an increased risk of acute health conditions such as injuries, including from traffic accidents.
There is a general believe that alcohol performs a number of services that have become almost indispensible to modern society and living.  In as much as alcohol is a reliable means for social integration, as well as symbol of social solidarity and also lubricant for social intercourse during which it provides the much needed atmosphere for the exchange of ideas, information and discussion of politics, the ills or detriment of excessive alcohol intake cannot be ignored or overlooked.          
Historically doctors have promoted alcohol for its perceived health benefits and most recently for protection against coronary heart disease.  There is evidence of cardiovascular benefits from drinking one to two drinks per day; however, the health benefits from moderate intake of alcohol are controversial.  Alcohol should be regarded as a recreational drug with potentially serious adverse effects on health and it is not recommended for cardio-protection in the place of safer and proven traditional methods such as exercise and proper nutrition (Sunkiewic & Welglarz, 2009).  Larger amounts of blood alcohol can impair brain function and eventually cause unconsciousness.  An extreme overdose of alcohol poisoning can be fatal.  Alcohol taken in excess can depress brain activities to the point where memory muscular co-ordination and balance can be disturbed hence the reason for concern as regards this situation amongst students with emphasis on University of Benin students.          
Purposeful production of alcoholic beverages is common in many cultures and often reflects their cultural and religious peculiarities as much as their geographical and sociological conditions.  The discovery of late Stone Age beer jugs has established the fact that purposely fermented beverages existed at least as early as C. 10,000 B.C. (Patrick, 1952).          
Alcohol is used by certain persons for several reasons, based on several factors.  Its use is related to factors ranging from emotional, social, religious, physical, to psychological.  Some of the reasons why people take alcohol therefore includes:
·        To quench thirst
·        To promote sleep
·        To spice up social gathering
·        To improve appetite
·        To kill anxiety
·        Influence from other people
·        To relieve pains
Other reasons such as curiosity or wanting to be part of the group.  Some drink because it makes them feel better or older or because it gives them certain image among friends. Some people need to be drunk everyday just to get through the day, because they are dependent on alcohol. But in this study our focus is on male and female students of the University of Benin.
Statement of the Problem          
It is interesting to know that excessive intake of alcohol is detrimental to the health and wellbeing of an individual, and students who are supposed to be enlightened still indulge in drinking alcohol excessively.  This brings to mind the need to know why this is so, hence the reason for this research.  The consequences and effects of excessive alcohol intake is too high and this the researcher hopes to find out in this study.
Research Questions
1.     Is excessive intake of alcohol responsible for deviant behaviours amongst students?
2.     Is alcohol responsible for student’s poor academic performances?
3.     Is the intake of alcohol influenced by home problem?
4.     Do alcohol influenced by peer group loyalty?
5.     Is alcohol responsible for student’s improved state of mind?
6.     Is the excessive intake of alcohol by students induced by the desire to eliminate fear?
Purpose of the Study          
The major aim for this study is to find out the influence of excessive intake of alcohol and its consequences on the health and wellbeing of the students of UNIBEN.  To point out the effects of excessive intake of alcohol on the students, and how it affects them academically, physically and otherwise.
Significance of the Study          
The study centers on the effects, consequences and factors influencing excessive intake of alcohol amongst UNIBEN students while still in school or on campus.  To enable us discover these reasons and effects so that they can be addressed and dealt with to avoid the hazard or disadvantages it brings to students and the educational system as a whole, due to the fact that alcohol affects the brain and performance of students.
Delimitation/Scope of the Study          
This study was delimited to the male and female students of the Faculty of Education and Social Science, University of Benin, Benin City.  
Limitation of the Study          
Difficulty in getting current or recent materials related to this study.  Students nonchalant attitude and biased response while sharing and collecting the questionnaire.
Definition of Terms
Alcohol:  According to new Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, it is the clear liquid that is found in drinks such as beer, wine, etc. and is used in medicines, clearing products, etc.
Alcoholics:  A person who regularly drinks too much alcohol or suffers from a physical disorder caused by this.
Ferment: To experience a clinical change because of the action of yeast, or bacteria, often changing sugar to alcohol; to make something change in this way.  Sugar is converted with alcohol by a process of fermentation.

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