What are the Positive and Negative Effects of Alcohol?

Topics: Alcoholic beverage, Alcohol, Blood alcohol content Pages: 7 (2219 words) Published: May 9, 2006
There are several positive and negative effects of alcohol. Most of the negative effects come from over consumption of alcohol. How much effect alcohol has on someone depends on a lot of factors. Different people react differently to alcoholic beverages. Some people have higher tolerances for different types of alcohol than others. For example, one person might be able to drink a lot of hard liquor but might feel the same effect of being drunk from only a few beers, while others may have the opposite effect. In any case over consumption of alcohol has many negative effects, both long term and short term.

Negative effects generally only occur when over consumption has taken place. Negative effects tend to take place after the consumption of more than 2-3 drink over a short period of time. After having 3-4 drinks, depending on your blood-alcohol level, you are legally considered drunk and are forbidden from operating a motor vehicle. Also, judgment and reaction time will start to be affected, along with exaggerated behaviors. After having 5-7 drinks one becomes more verbally aggressive, their perception and vision are affected, they are emotionally irrational, and judgment and reaction time are becoming still worse as more alcohol enters the body. After 8-10 drinks, one will start slurring speech, stagger, have blurred vision, motor skills are significantly affected, and some vomiting may take place. After having more than 10 drinks respiration may be affected, and the intoxicated may be unconscious (if conscious may be unaware of surroundings). If blood-alcohol level reaches more than 0.40, then the person intoxicated will most likely die. The effect that a certain amount of drinks will have on a person depends on a lot of variables, (food, weight, tolerance, etc) and there are many things that someone can do before drinking to reduce the effect of alcohol and to reduce the effect of a hangover. Hangovers occur because your body still has alcohol in it and has not had enough to metabolize the alcohol. If someone has a hangover, it means that they are essentially still feeling the effects of alcohol because their body could not get rid of all of it the night before, but there are things someone can do to help minimize the effects of a hangover.

When the body metabolizes alcohol it takes about one hour to digest one drink. If more than that is consumed than the body stores the alcohol in the blood stream until the liver is able to handle more alcohol. Other means of extracting alcohol from the body are: through breathing, sweating, urine excretion, and saliva. The rate at which your body metabolizes in general (with food) affects how fast and how much alcohol your body can handle. There are two main ways that the body gets rid of alcohol. The first way is through elimination. Elimination includes getting rid of alcohol through urination, through exhalation and the lungs, and sweating. The second main way that alcohol leaves the body is through oxidation. Oxidation is when the body joins the unwanted substances (alcohol) with oxygen molecules and essentially burns of the alcohol. Oxidation also occurs in the liver whereas elimination does not. Oxidation is how most of the alcohol leaves the body. These two mechanisms are the only way that alcohol is pumped out of the body and both of them take a significant amount of time (1-2 hours per drink).

Some people, many of Asian decent experience something called flushing. This is a reaction to alcohol and can cause people to become dizzy, nauseous, and start to vomit in many cases. Also flushing is know to make people very red and irritated around the neck and face. Flushing is caused because the body is unable to produce enough acetaldehyde enzymes which help the breakdown of alcohol in the body. This is a negative effect of alcohol.

The rate at which people absorb and metabolize alcohol varies for certain reasons. Men are able to tolerate, or absorb more alcohol, than...

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