Alcohol is a limpid, volatile, flammable, water-miscible liquid, having an etherlike odor and pungent, burning taste, the intoxicating principle of fermented liquors, produced by yeast fermentation of certain carbohydrates, as grains, molasses, starch, or sugar, or obtained synthetically by hydration of ethylene or as a by-product of certain hydrocarbon syntheses: used chiefly as a solvent in the extraction of specific substances, in beverages, medicines, organic synthesis, lotions, tonics, colognes, rubbing compounds, as an automobile radiator antifreeze, and as rocket fuel.
Alcohol is a poison that negatively effects everything that ingests it. Many people that drink alcohol tend to think it is cool and has a positive impact on themselves. Many people think when they have been drinking they feel better than ever. Drinking alcohol impairs a person to a point where they can’t drive, see, speak, or maybe even hear correctly. Their mind has the inability to focus on such things so the person is considered impaired. It is classified as a depressant, meaning that it slows down vital functions resulting in slurred speech, unsteady movement, disturbed perceptions, and an inability to react quickly. Although classified as a depressant, the amount of alcohol consumed determines the type of effect. Most people drink for the stimulant effect, such as a beer or glass of wine taken to “loosen up.” But if a person consumes more than the body can handle, they then experience alcohol’s depressant effect. They start to feel “stupid” or lose coordination and control.
Many people think it is 100% impossible to overdose on alcohol. This is extremely untrue. Alcohol is basically a drug; once a certain amount is consumed the person will start feeling disoriented and will start acting as if they are a completely different person. Most times the actions of this person will negatively impact everyone in their surroundings. This is considered an alcohol overdose. This overdose is unlike a street drug overdose. The difference is a street drug overdose is very deadly and kills people all the time; an alcohol overdose impairs someone to a point they could get themselves killed by doing something they would not normally do, but 9 times out of ten the alcohol itself never kills the person. Although the exact mechanisms behind how alcohol impacts the body are not fully understood, the effects of alcohol are extremely well documented.
Alcohol is generally consumed orally. It then travels down the esophagus into the stomach and then the small intestine. The vast majority of alcohol is absorbed in the small intestine and to a lesser extent the stomach. Blood vessels near these organs then rapidly transport alcohol in the bloodstream throughout the body. Alcohol interacts with and disrupts the normal functioning of many-body systems, and does so rapidly. When alcohol enters the brain, it interacts with neurotransmitters, a series of electrical connections in the brain that send messages to the body. This impacts mood, awareness, perception, and much more. Most of the alcohol that enters the body is processed, or metabolized, with less than 10% being excreted through urine, sweat, and other mechanisms. Essentially all alcohol is broken down in the liver, which can put a tremendous strain on that organ over time. Generally, the body processes the equivalent of one standard drink (one glass of beer, one glass of wine, or one shot of liquor) every hour.
Every kind of alcohol affects everyone differently. Why is this you may wonder? Every little bit of alcohol has a different percentage of alcohol. Fermented drinks, such as beer and wine, contain from 2% alcohol to 20% alcohol. Distilled drinks, or liquor, contain from 40% to 50% or more alcohol. The usual alcohol content for each is Beer 2–6% alcohol, Cider 4–8% alcohol, Wine 8–20% alcohol, Tequila 40% alcohol, Rum 40% or more alcohol, Brandy 40% or more alcohol, Gin 40–47% alcohol, Whiskey 40–50% alcohol, Vodka 40–50% alcohol, and Liqueurs 15–60% alcohol. So basically, it depends on what type of alcohol is being drunk as to how fast the person becomes intoxicated. Other factors that contribute to this are age, weight, and gender. So if a 160-pound male has 4 drinks he is considered legally intoxicated as a female at 150 pounds is considered legally intoxicated at 3 drinks. Most males have a higher tolerance and don’t tend to get drunk as fast as the average female. One drink is considered to be 1.25 oz. of 80 proof liquor, 12 oz. of beer, or 5 oz. of table wine. So on average it takes more alcohol for a bigger male to get intoxicated rather than a bigger female. The same goes for a smaller female and a smaller male. Women have a lower tolerance for alcohol than the average male does. So to sum this all up the average female will become legally intoxicated faster than the average male with the same exact amount of drinks consumed. Drinking in general has effects.
Short-term effects happen basically every time someone drinks but the effects go away within the day.
Long-term effects tend to happen when someone binge drinks meaning they drink every single day they are basically always intoxicated. Short-term effects consist of Slurred speech, Drowsiness, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Upset stomach, Headaches, Breathing difficulties, Distorted vision and hearing, Impaired judgment, Decreased perception and coordination, Unconsciousness, Anemia (loss of red blood cells), Coma, and Blackouts (memory lapses, where the drinker cannot remember events that occurred while under the influence).
Binge drinking and continued alcohol use in large amounts are associated with many health problems, including: Unintentional injuries such as car crash, falls, burns, drowning; Intentional injuries such as firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence; Increased on-the-job injuries and loss of productivity; Increased family problems, broken relationships; Alcohol poisoning, High blood pressure, stroke, and other heart-related diseases, Liver disease, Nerve damage, Sexual problems, Permanent damage to the brain, Vitamin B1 deficiency, which can lead to a disorder characterized by amnesia, apathy and disorientation; Ulcers, Gastritis (inflammation of stomach walls), Malnutrition, and Cancer of the mouth and throat. As you can see the long-term effects of binge drinking more serious and even deadly.
Sometimes the short-term effects bring people to the point where they never want to drink again so they never have to reach the long terms effects. When someone has drunk so much they reach the long-term effects they have become addicted and don’t know how or when to stop. This is alcohol abuse. When someone reaches the long terms effect they may reach the point where they want to stop drinking. When they stop drinking they may get withdrawals because they have been drinking for so long that is what their body is accustomed too. Symptoms that occur when someone stops using alcohol after a period of heavy drinking. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can vary widely in severity. In severe cases, the condition can be life-threatening. Symptoms may occur from two hours to four days after stopping alcohol. They may include headaches, nausea, tremors, anxiety, hallucinations, and seizures. In many cases, alcohol withdrawal requires medical treatment and hospital admissions.
Medications may be used to treat physical symptoms while counseling and support groups help with controlling drinking behavior, such as sedatives and vitamins. Alcohol addiction can ruin a person’s life, and yet many continue to abuse the drug knowingly in order to avoid alcohol withdrawal. Detox and withdrawal are infamous in the addiction community for being physically and psychologically uncomfortable experiences. If done at home without medical attention, alcohol withdrawal can even turn deadly. However, this time of bodily cleansing is the first step to putting your life back on track. Following detox, you will be ready to enter rehab and learn the sober living skills that will help you during the lifelong process of recovery. Rehab is next step after detox. Getting into rehab will help with counseling and teaching a person how to live without alcohol.
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