In this post, we go over what effects does alcohol have on the brain and other organs.
What Effects Does Alcohol Have On The Brain and Other Organs
Alcohol harms the brain, kidneys, the liver, blood vessels, the heart and the stomach’s lining, various hormones, and regulatory systems. The term “intoxicated” signifies alcohol’s true nature: it is a poisonous substance.
The first signs of ethanol intoxication on your brain are enjoyable for most people. You feel calm and relaxed. After a drink or two, you are incredibly enthusiastic and the center of attention. However, when you drink more alcohol, the vision blurs, your reaction time slows, your perceptions don’t seem reliable, and you begin feeling unsteady and uncoordinated. You begin to lose your inhibitions, resulting in another repercussion of alcohol consumption: poor judgment. Speech starts to blur, and concentrating and “thinking straight” is problematic. In higher blood levels, nausea, hiccups, anxiety, confusion and mental “blackouts,” vomiting, stupor, coma or slow breathing, and even death could be the outcome.
There is no way to know the mechanism behind ethanol’s diverse effects, but when it is taken in from the stomach and into the bloodstream, it can easily cross over the bloodstream and enter the brain’s nerve cells. In the brain, it triggers an endocrine release that leads to pleasant feelings. Additionally, it reduces inhibitions by depressing certain frontal lobe activities. Motor pathways become hyperactive, meaning blood sugars are not processed as efficiently within the brain. As more significant amounts of ethanol molecules pass through the membranes of nerve cells, sedative effects begin to develop. The effects of alcohol-induced intoxication are pretty predictable based on blood alcohol levels.
These symptoms result from ethanol and the more toxic product of its metabolism, Acetaldehyde. This chemical accumulates in the bloodstream because the liver can break down alcohol into a form that can be removed from the human body.
The impact on different body systems is significant in the symptoms of alcohol-related impairment. The kidneys are known to increase the amount of urine, leading to water loss. Skin blood vessels expand, which causes flushing and increased cardiac output. The liver is in a constant process of cleansing the blood of ethanol as well as Acetaldehyde. However, it is not able to regulate blood sugar properly.
Consuming alcohol regularly can cause scarring in the liver, which is called cirrhosis. Certain chemicals that cause inflammation increase blood levels and alter different hormonal pathways. The stomach’s lining could become inflamed, which can lead to nausea and the risk of bleeding. The calories that are consumed transform into fat.
Many of these issues with your body’s physiological physiology continue for a day after the alcohol has been eliminated. Dehydration is a significant factor in this, as is Acetaldehyde. Influences on blood chemistry, hormones, and the sleep-wake cycle inflammation chemicals are also crucial for the awful feeling we call a hangover.
Most people are aware of malaise, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, loss of appetite, and sensitivities to sound, light and motion on the day following a drink. However, what may not be known is that dexterity memory and reaction time, as well as the ability to focus and visual perception, are all affected even after the alcohol level is zero.
What is the minimum amount needed to impact the following day?
As with many other solutions to science issues, “it depends.” Body size and gender can be both significant factors. Although five to eight drinks for a man and between three and five drinks for women can induce a certain amount of hangover, the effects differ significantly among individuals. In addition, some ethnic groups (Japanese, for instance) have a genetically diminished capacity to break down Acetaldehyde, the principal alcohol-related byproduct since the liver first processes it. This causes more significant redness of the face (“Asian flush”) and hangovers with lower levels of alcohol.
Migraine-prone people tend to be more prone to hangovers. Drinkers who regularly drink alcohol or take certain medications that alter liver enzymes could be more likely to process alcohol faster and experience fewer problems with alcohol intoxication and hangovers. In addition, some drugs hinder breaking down alcohol and Acetaldehyde, which can exacerbate the effects of drinking. The thin Japanese drinking many teetotalers taking prescribed painkillers is bound to suffer more issues with drinking a couple of drinks than a 250-pound linebacker who is regularly drinking four drinks a night.
The speed at which you drink is equally important. We can all consume about a drink’s worth of alcohol every hour. The type of drink you consume is less critical than the amount; however, there is some evidence to suggest that darker drinks -whiskey, brandy, Tequila, and red wine can cause more harm than clear drinks, like vodka and gin. This is because they’re thought to contain congeners, chemicals that contribute to the harmful effects of ethanol.
Are there any treatments that work?
What should you do if you’ve drunk too much alcohol and are required to be at work the next day? In the end, you’re suffering, and so will your work performance. Are you thinking of taking a sick day? There’s plenty of support. Estimates of revenue loss because of lower productivity at work and absence from work due to alcohol are up to $148 billion annually within the U.S. alone. Hangovers cause a large portion of these costs among moderate to light drinkers.
A simple Google lookup of “hangover remedy OR treatment OR treatment OR prevention” will yield more than 2 million pages. There are numerous commercial products (Cheerz and Chaser) as well as homemade recipes that carry absurdly unsubstantiated claims of health benefits. It is crucial to remember that a study conducted by The British Medical Journal concluded that there is not any evidence from a scientifically rigorous source that any ingredient has shown effectiveness in treating or preventing hangovers. However, the authors admit that only a handful of well-designed research has been conducted on this topic, so some untested remedies could likely be effective.
Some evidence suggests that vitamin B6 consumed before drinking may be helpful. An anti-inflammatory drug known as tolfenamic acid has been proven to be helpfully consumed before drinking alcohol. Although this medication isn’t readily available in the U.S., other related drugs, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), could provide similar benefits. But, when combined with alcohol, they can raise the chance of bleeding from the stomach. Drinking plenty of fluids is essential. Gatorade or other sports drinks might be better than water by itself. However, there isn’t any scientific evidence to support it. An N-acetyl-cysteine chemical could help clean the body from the buildup of acetaldehyde. However, this is not a proven method. A moderate exercise routine can be beneficial if you’re well-hydrated.
Here are some suggestions for what to do following the evening’s “overdoing doing it”:
- Beware of drinking excessive drinks (“hair that of the pet”), as this only increases your suffering.
- Keep yourself hydrated by drinking fluids (other than alcohol!) such as water soup, chicken soup, Gatorade, or whatever is best for you.
- Beware of Acetaminophen (Tylenol) at all costs because it can strain your liver’s already hard work, leading to the risk of liver failure.
- Beware of unappetizing “recipes” that mix ingredients like eggs, raw fish, eggs, Tabasco, and sausage. You wouldn’t be eating that way when you’re at your most optimum. So what’s the reason you think that you’ll be able to eat it when you’re drunk?
Here are some resources I recommend:
120 Alcoholic Drinks for Connoisseurs shows you over one hundred unique alcoholic drinks to make and show off to your friends and have a night you won’t forget.
Professional Bartender Kit is a must-have collection for anyone interested in bartending, mixology, or someone who loves to make drinks.
RUBY Decanter w/ Built-in Aerator is easily the best on the market that we recommend.
8oz Premium Flask for when you’re going out and don’t want to blow all your money on drinks.
Stainless Steel Cooling Stones for keeping your drinks cold and classy.
Bartending & Mixology Masterclass teaches you everything you need to know about mixing drinks and alcoholic beverages like a professional.