Facts About Alcohol
Alcohol depresses the central nervous system slowing heart rate, respiration, and altering emotions, and cognition.
Alcohol not only can cause intoxication, but in larger does can also cause death.
A general rule is that one drink is metabolized every hour and a half. When the blood alcohol concentration increases faster than the body can remove the alcohol from the system, intoxication occurs.
It has been suggested that pregnant women abstain from all use of alcohol, as this substance can severely harm the developing fetus.
Alcohol is absorbed directly into the bloodstream from the stomach and small intestine. Several things will affect the rate of absorption including the concentration of alcohol in the drink, rate of consumption, the amount of food in the stomach, and the emotional state of the drinker. After it is absorbed into the bloodstream, alcohol disperses throughout the body. The body starts to eliminate alcohol on ingestion this is why drinkers have to use the bathroom very often. Most of the alcohol ingested must be eliminated by the processes of detoxification, and oxidation. Detoxification occurs only in the liver, where the alcohol is broken down into acetaldehyde. The acetaldehyde is then broken down to acetic acid which can be burned off by any organ with a dense blood supply.
Health and Behaviors
After 3 drinks—BAC of 0.08%-0.09% the motor functions show impairment, and reaction time slowed. The ability to concentrate on more than one task at a time is affected.
After 5 drinks (BAC of .14-.15%), vision and hearing are affected, with blurred vision, and lessened ability to distinguish sounds.
After 7 drinks (BAC of .20%) mental confusion occurs, and the drinker may find it difficult to move around without aid. The ability to tolerate alcohol at this level is an indicator of alcoholism. This stage is usually not passed unless alcohol is consumed very quickly.
After 10 or more drinks (BAC of .40% and up) results in the loss of consciousness and death from respiratory failure.
A brief assessment tool commonly used to help determine if an individual might be suffering from an alcohol problem:
- Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
- Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
- Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
- Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover (eye opener)?
- Students can join the SADD (Students against Destructive Decisions) club at their school.
- Wear red during the month to stand for alcohol awareness.
- Host an alcohol-free community block party.