Mental Disturbances-Alcohol abuse can cause signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, psychosis, and antisocial behavior, both during intoxication and during withdrawal.
HOW ALCOHOL RETARDS DIGESTION
And here, in order to give those who are not familiar with, the process of digestion, a clear idea of that important operation, and the effect produced when alcohol is taken with food, we quote from the lecture of an English physician, Dr. Henry Monroe, on “The Physiological Action of Alcohol.” He says:
“Every kind of substance employed by man as food consists of sugar, starch, oil and glutinous matters, mingled together in various proportions; these are designed for the support of the animal frame. The glutinous principles of food fibrine, albumen and casein are employed to build up the structure; while the oil, starch and sugar are chiefly used to generate heat in the body.
“The first step of the digestive process is the breaking up of the food in the mouth by means of the jaws and teeth. On this being done, the saliva, a viscid liquor, is poured into the mouth from the salivary glands, and as it mixes with the food, it performs a very important part in the operation of digestion, rendering the starch of the food soluble, and gradually changing it into a sort of sugar, after which the other principles become more miscible with it. Nearly a pint of saliva is furnished every twenty-four hours for the use of an adult. When the food has been masticated and mixed with the saliva, it is then passed into the stomach, where it is acted upon by a juice secreted by the filaments of that organ, and poured into the stomach in large quantities whenever food comes in contact with its mucous coats. It consists of a dilute acid known to the chemists as hydrochloric acid, composed of hydrogen and chlorine, united together in certain definite proportions. The gastric juice contains, also, a peculiar organic-ferment or decomposing substance, containing nitrogen something of the nature of yeast termed pepsine , which is easily soluble in the acid just named. That gastric juice acts as a simple chemical solvent, is proved by the fact that, after death, it has been known to dissolve the stomach itself.”
It is an error to suppose that, after a good dinner, a glass of spirits or beer assists digestion; or that any liquor containing alcohol even bitter beer can in any way assist digestion. Mix some bread and meat with gastric juice; place them in a phial, and keep that phial in a sand-bath at the slow heat of 98 degrees, occasionally shaking briskly the contents to imitate the motion of the stomach; you will find, after six or eight hours, the whole contents blended into one pultaceous mass. If to another phial of food and gastric juice, treated in the same way, I add a glass of pale ale or a quantity of alcohol, at the end of seven or eight hours, or even some days, the food is scarcely acted upon at all. This is a fact; and if you are led to ask why, I answer, because alcohol has the peculiar power of chemically affecting or decomposing the gastric juice by precipitating one of its principal constituents, viz., pepsine, rendering its solvent properties much less efficacious. Hence alcohol can not be considered either as food or as a solvent for food. Not as the latter certainly, for it refuses to act with the gastric juice.
“‘It is a remarkable fact,’ says Dr. Dundas Thompson, ‘that alcohol, when added to the digestive fluid, produces a white precipitate, so that the fluid is no longer capable of digesting animal or vegetable matter.’ ‘The use of alcoholic stimulants,’ say Drs. Todd and Bowman, ‘retards digestion by coagulating the pepsine, an essential element of the gastric juice, and thereby interfering with its action. Were it not that wine and spirits are rapidly absorbed, the introduction of these into the stomach, in any quantity, would be a complete bar to the digestion of food, as the pepsine would be precipitated from the solution as quickly as it was formed by the stomach.’ Spirit, in any quantity, as a dietary adjunct, is pernicious on account of its antiseptic qualities, which resist the digestion of food by the absorption of water from its particles, in direct antagonism to chemical operation.”
MEDICAL TESTIMONY ON MENTAL DISTURBANCES ALCOHOL
Dr. Ezra M. Hunt says: “The capacity of the alcohols for impairment of functions and the initiation and promotion of organic lesions in vital parts, is unsurpassed by any record in the whole range of medicine. The facts as to this are so indisputable, and so far granted by the profession, as to be no longer debatable . Changes in stomach and liver, in kidneys and lungs, in the blood-vessels to the minutest capillary, and in the blood to the smallest red and white blood disc disturbances of secretion, fibroid and fatty degenerations in almost every organ, impairment of muscular power, impressions so profound on both nervous systems as to be often toxic these, and such as these, are the oft manifested results. And these are not confined to those called intemperate.”
Professor Youmans says: “It is evident that, so far from being the conservator of health, alcohol is an active and powerful cause of disease, interfering, as it does, with the respiration, the circulation and the nutrition; now, is any other result possible?”
Dr. F.R. Lees says: “That alcohol should contribute to the fattening process under certain conditions, and produce in drinkers fatty degeneration of the blood, follows, as a matter of course, since, on the one hand, we have an agent that retains waste matter by lowering the nutritive and excretory functions, and on the other, a direct poisoner of the vesicles of the vital stream.”
Dr. Henry Monroe says: “There is no kind of tissue, whether healthy or morbid, that may not undergo fatty degeneration; and there is no organic disease so troublesome to the medical man, or so difficult of cure. If, by the aid of the microscope, we examine a very fine section of muscle taken from a person in good health, we find the muscles firm, elastic and of a bright red color, made up of parallel fibres, with beautiful crossings or striae; but, if we similarly examine the muscle of a man who leads an idle, sedentary life, and indulges in intoxicating drinks, we detect, at once, a pale, flabby, inelastic, oily appearance. Alcoholic narcotization appears to produce this peculiar conditions of the tissues more than any other agent with which we are acquainted. ‘Three-quarters of the chronic illness which the medical man has to treat,’ says Dr. Chambers, ‘are occasioned by this disease.’ The eminent French analytical chemist, Lecanu, found as much as one hundred and seventeen parts of fat in one thousand parts of a drunkard’s blood, the highest estimate of the quantity in health being eight and one-quarter parts, while the ordinary quantity is not more than two or three parts, so that the blood of the drunkard contains forty times in excess of the ordinary quantity.”
Dr. Hammond, who has written, in partial defense of alcohol as containing a food power, says: “When I say that it, of all other causes, is most prolific in exciting derangements of the brain, the spinal cord and the nerves, I make a statement which my own experience shows to be correct.”
Another eminent physician says of alcohol: “It substitutes suppuration for growth. It helps time to produce the effects of age; and, in a word, is the genius of degeneration.”
Dr. Monroe, from whom “Alcohol, taken in small quantities, or largely diluted, as in the form of beer, causes the stomach gradually to lose its tone, and makes it dependent upon artificial stimulus. Atony, or want of tone of the stomach, gradually supervenes, and incurable disorder of health results. Should a dose of alcoholic drink be taken daily, the heart will very often become hypertrophied, or enlarged throughout. Indeed, it is painful to witness how many persons are actually laboring under disease of the heart, owing chiefly to the use of alcoholic liquors.”
Dr. T.K. Chambers, physician to the Prince of Wales, says: “Alcohol is really the most ungenerous diet there is. It impoverishes the blood, and there is no surer road to that degeneration of muscular fibre so much to be feared; and in heart disease it is more especially hurtful, by quickening the beat, causing capillary congestion and irregular circulation, and thus mechanically inducing dilatation.”
Sir Henry Thompson, a distinguished surgeon, says: “Don’t take your daily wine under any pretext of its doing you good. Take it frankly as a luxury one which must be paid for, by some persons very lightly, by some at a high price, but always to be paid for. And, mostly, some loss of health, or of mental power, or of calmness of temper, or of judgment, is the price.”
Dr. Charles Jewett says: “The late Prof. Parks, of England, in his great work on Hygiene, has effectually disposed of the notion, long and very generally entertained, that alcohol is a valuable prophylactic where a bad climate, bad water and other conditions unfavorable to health, exist; and an unfortunate experiment with the article, in the Union army, on the banks of the Chickahominy, in the year 1863, proved conclusively that, instead of guarding the human constitution against the influence of agencies hostile to health, its use gives to them additional force. The medical history of the British army in India teaches the same lesson.”
But why present farther testimony? Is not the evidence complete? To the man who values good health; who would not lay the foundation for disease and suffering in his later years, we need not offer a single additional argument in favor of entire abstinence from alcoholic drinks. He will eschew them as poisons.
MENTAL DISTURBANCES CAUSED BY ALCOHOL
The physical disasters that follow the continued use of intoxicating beverages are sad enough, and terrible enough; but the surely attendant mental, moral and spiritual disasters are sadder and more terrible still. If you disturb the healthy condition of the brain, which is the physical organ through which the mind acts, you disturb the mind. It will not have the same clearness of perception as before; nor have the same rational control over the impulses and passions.
Heavenly order in the body
In order to understand a subject clearly, certain general laws, or principles, must be seen and admitted. And here we assume, as a general truth, that health in the human body is normal heavenly order on the physical plane of life, and that any disturbance of that order exposes the man to destructive influences, which are evil and infernal in their character. Above the natural and physical plane, and resting upon it, while man lives in this world, is the mental and spiritual plane, or degree of life. This degree is in heavenly order when the reason is clear, and the appetites and passions under its wise control. But, if, through any cause, this fine equipoise is disturbed, or lost, then a way is opened for the influx of more subtle evil influences than such as invade the body, because they have power to act upon the reason and the passions, obscuring the one and inflaming the others.
We know how surely the loss of bodily health results in mental disturbance. If the seat of disease be remote from the brain, the disturbance is usually slight; but it increases as the trouble comes nearer and nearer to that organ, and shows itself in multiform ways according to character, temperament or inherited disposition; but almost always in a predominance of what is evil instead of good. There will be fretfulness, or ill-nature, or selfish exactions, or mental obscurity, or unreasoning demands, or, it may be, vicious and cruel propensities, where, when the brain was undisturbed by disease, reason held rule with patience and loving kindness. If the disease which has attacked the brain goes on increasing, the mental disease which follows as a consequence of organic disturbance or deterioration, will have increased also, until insanity may be established in some one or more of its many sad and varied forms.
It is, therefore, a very serious thing for a man to take into his body any substance which, on reaching that wonderfully delicate organ the brain, sets up therein a diseased action; for, diseased mental action is sure to follow. A fever is a fever, whether it be light or intensely burning; and so any disturbance of the mind’s rational equipoise is insanity, whether it be in the simplest form of temporary obscurity, or in the midnight of a totally darkened intellect.
We are not writing in the interest of any special theory, nor in the spirit of partisanship; but with an earnest desire to make the truth appear. You must not accept anything simply because we say it, but because he sees it to be true. Now, as to this matter of insanity, let him think calmly. The word is one that gives us a shock; and, as we hear it, we almost involuntarily thank God for the good gift of a well-balanced mind. What, if from any cause this beautiful equipoise should be disturbed and the mind lose its power to think clearly, or to hold the lower passions in due control? Shall we exceed the truth if we say that the man in whom this takes place is insane just in the degree that he has lost his rational self-control; and that he is restored when he regains that control?
In this view, the question as to the hurtfulness of alcoholic drinks assumes a new and graver aspect. Do they disturb the brain when they come in contact with its substance; and deteriorate it if the contact be long continued? Fact, observation, experience and scientific investigation all emphatically say yes; and we know that if the brain be disordered the mind, will be disordered, likewise; and a disordered mind is an insane mind. Clearly, then, in the degree that a man impairs or hurts his brain temporarily or continuously in that degree his mind is unbalanced; in that degree he is not a truly rational and sane man.
We are holding your thought just here that you may have time to think, and to look at the question in the light of reason and common sense. So far as he does this, will he be able to feel the force of such evidence as we shall educe in what follows, and to comprehend its true meaning.
Other substances besides alcohol act injuriously on the brain; but there is none that compares with this in the extent, variety and diabolical aspect of the mental aberrations which follow its use. We are not speaking thoughtlessly or wildly; but simply uttering a truth well-known to every man of observation, and which every man, and especially those who take this substance in any form, should, lay deeply to heart. Why it is that such awful and destructive forms of insanity should follow, as they do, the use of alcohol it is not for us to say. That they do follow it, we know, and we hold, up the fact in solemn warning.
Another consideration, which should have weight with every one, is this, that no man can tell what may be the character of the legacy he has received from his ancestors. He may have an inheritance of latent evil forces, transmitted through many generations, which only await some favoring opportunity to spring into life and action. So long as he maintains a rational self-control, and the healthy order of his life be not disturbed, they may continue quiescent; but if his brain loses its equipoise, or is hurt or impaired, then a diseased psychical condition may be induced and the latent evil forces be quickened into life.
NAILS IN HEALTH AND DISEASE
The nails are present at the end of each finger tip on the dorsal surface.The main function of nail is protection and it also helps for a firm grip for holding articles.It consists of a strong relatively flexible keratinous nail plate originating from the nail matrix. Under the nail plate there is a soft tissue called nail bed.Between the skin and nail plate there is a nail fold or cuticle.Normal healthy nail is slight pink in colour and the surface is convex from side to side.Finger nails grow 1 cm in three months and toe nails take 24 months for the same.
Importance of nails in disease diagnosis:
The colour ,appearance,shape and nature of the nails give some information about the general health and hygiene of a person . Nails are examined as a routine by all doctors to get some clues about underlying diseases.Just looking at nails we can makeout the hygiene of a person.The abnormal nail may be congenital or due to some diseases.The cause for changes in the nail extend from simple reasons to life threatening diseases.Hence the examination by a doctor is essential for diagnosis .Some abnormal findings with probable causes are discussed here for general awareness.
We can make out an unhygienic nail very easily .Deposition of dirt under the distal end of nail plate can make a chance for ingestion of pathogens while eating.If nail cutting is not done properly it can result in worm troubles in children.When the worms crawl in the anal orifice children will scratch which lodges the ova of worms under the nails and will be taken in while eating.Prominent nail can also complicate a skin disease by habitual scratching.Sharp nails in small kids cause small wounds when they do feet kicking or hand waving.
2) Colour of the nails:-
a) Nails become pale in anaemia.
b) Opaque white discolouration(leuconychia) is seen in chronic renal failure and nephrotic syndrome.
c) Whitening is also seen in hypoalbuminaemia as in cirrhosis and kidney disorders.
d) Drugs like sulpha group,anti malarial and antibiotics ect can produce discolouration in the nails.
e) Fungal infection causes black discolouration.
f) In pseudomonas infection nails become black or green.
g) Nail bed infarction occures in vasculitis especially in SLE and polyarteritis.
h) Red dots are seen in nails due to splinter haemorrhages in subacute bacterial endo carditis, rheumatoid arthritis, trauma, collagen vascular diseases.
i) Blunt injury produces haemorrhage and causes blue/black discolouration.
j) Nails become brown in kidney diseases and in decreased adrenal activity.
k) In wilsons disease blue colour in semicircle appears in the nail.
l) When the blood supply decreases nail become yellow .In jaundice and psoriasis also nail become yellowish.
m) In yellow nail syndrome all nails become yellowish with pleural effusion.
3) Shape of nails:-
a) Clubbing: Here tissues at the base of nails are thickened and the angle between the nail base and the skin is obliterated. The nail becomes more convex and the finger tip becomes bulbous and looks like an end of a drumstick. When the condition becomes worse the nail looks like a parrot beak.
Causes of clubbing:-
Severe chronic cyanosis
Lung diseases like empyema,bronchiactesis,carcinoma of bronchus and pulmonary tuberculosis.
Abdominal diseases like crohn’s disease,polyposis of colon,ulcerative colitis,liver cirrhosis ect…
Heart diseases like fallot’s tetralogy,subacute bacterial endocarditis and ect..
Here the nails become concave like a spoon.This condition is seen in iron deficiency anaemia.In this condition the nails become thin,soft and brittle.The normal convexity will be replaced by concavity.
c) Longitudinal ridging is seen in raynaud’s disease.
d) Cuticle becomes ragged in dermatomyositis.
e) Nail fold telangiectasia is a sign in dermatomyositis ,systemic sclerosis and SLE.
4) Structure and consistancy:-
a) Fungal infection of nail causes discolouration,deformity,hypertrophy and abnormal brittleness.
b) Thimble pitting of nail is charecteristic of psoriasis ,acute eczema and alopecia aereata.
c) The inflamation of cuticle or nail fold is called paronychia.
d) Onycholysis is the seperation of nail bed seen in psoriasis,infection and after taking tetracyclines.
e) Destruction of nail is seen in lichen planus,epidermolysis bullosa.
f) Missing nail is seen in nail patella syndrome.It is a hereditary disease.
g) Nails become brittle in raynauds disease and gangrene.
h) Falling of nail is seen in fungal infection,psoriasis and thyroid diseases.
Reduction in blood supply affects the growth of nails. Nail growth is also affected in severe ilness. when the disease disappears the growth starts again resulting in formation of transverse ridges.These lines are called Beau’s lines and are healpful to date the onset of illness.