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Home » Drugs Index » Alcohol. Alcohol is the common name for ethyl alcohol. Alcoholic drinks consist mainly of various strength mixtures of water and ethyl alcohol. Alcohol depresses parts of the central nervous system — it slows down some of our brain functions. Various parts of the central nervous system are depressed by alcohol, with all sorts of consequences. The strong depressant effect of alcohol lasts for a few hours after drinking, but alcohol also produces a weaker agitation or irritation of the nervous system that lasts much longer. This effect often le heavy evening drinkers to drink again the next morning, as the very uncomfortable agitation can be temporarily overcome by drinking more alcohol.
Thus, a vicious circle is set in motion, which can play a large part in alcoholic drinking patterns. The impact of drinking alcohol depends on the state of the brain at the time, and this in turn depends on the drinking environment. In a quiet environment little brain activityperhaps at home in an armchair, an alcohol user will experience relaxation or drowsiness at low to moderate doses.
In a social setting, with lots of sights, sounds and social interaction lots of brain activity low doses of alcohol may feel stimulating. This is caused by depression of the higher brain 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in units, which produces apparent stimulation by reducing anxiety and self-consciousness. A drinker may become more talkative than normal and demonstrate increased self-confidence and loss of self restraint. As the alcohol dose is increased, ificant depression of brain activity can result in slurred speech, loss of limb co-ordination and loss of emotional control.
High doses of alcohol can inhibit vital brain functions — this can produce deep sedation and slow down the breathing rate, which can result in coma or death. Alcohol Alcohol intake is measured in units. The list below shows the effect of drinking various amounts of alcohol and also indicates blood alcohol concentration as mg alcohol per ml bloodas this determines whether an offence is committed by driving a motor vehicle. Alcohol has its strongest effect on women. Most people will have some experience with alcohol.
Many will experiment and stop, 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in units continue to drink casually without ificant adverse effects. Some people will use alcohol regularly, with varying degrees of physical, emotional and social problems. Some will develop a dependency and be destructive to themselves and others for many years. Some will die — and some will cause others to die. As there is no certain way to predict which alcohol drinkers will develop serious problems, all alcohol use must be considered as potentially dangerous.
Alcohol drinkers may develop a physical or psychological dependence on alcohol. This can cause great harm to the drinker, in terms of physical and mental health, financial problems, employment difficulties etc. In addition, alcohol dependence is likely to cause great distress to partners, children or other family members, who may be directly or indirectly exposed to the consequences arising from compulsive alcohol consumption. Physical dependence is often related to consistently heavy drinking. People who drink on a regular basis become tolerant to many of the unpleasant effects of alcohol and are able to drink more before suffering these effects.
Many heavy drinkers may not appear to be drunk. Because they continue to work and socialize reasonably well, harm to their physical health can go unrecognized until severe damage develops — or until they are unable to drink for some reason and suddenly experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Deaths from suicide, accident and cirrhosis of the liver are very common among heavy drinkers. Psychological dependence upon alcohol may occur with regular use of even quite small daily amounts, such as a glass or two of sherry. It can also occur in people who drink alcohol only under certain conditions, such as before and during social occasions.
For psychologically dependent drinkers, lack of alcohol tends to make them anxious and prone to panic attacks. The UK Government-recommended alcohol limits are presently 21 units per week for men Sustained drinking in excess of this level increases the chance of damaging our health. This can take the form of liver disease, stomach ulcers, heart and circulation disorders — and in extreme cases brain damage. Excessive consumption of alcohol is commonly sited as a reason for difficulties within a family or within a marriage. These may range from drunken violence directed toward a spouse or children, to financial problems caused by compulsive purchase of alcohol or otherwise related to that.
It is difficult to over-emphasise just how much stress a person who abuses alcohol may cause within his or her immediate family. If a person continues to abuse alcohol over a period of time, his or her behaviour is likely to cause bitterness and resentment among relatives. While family members may love the alcohol abuser, they are likely to hate his or her behaviour.
Eventually — the love dies. While a person is under the influence of alcohol he or she is far more likely to have an accident than while sober because alcohol adversely affects judgement and perception. Thirty percent of vehicle drivers killed in road accidents within the UK were found to have been drinking alcohol beforehand.
Many of those who died in such a manner may well have caused the death or injury of other road users. What a waste. What is it? Medicinal uses Alcohol is sometimes used as an external local anaesthetic and sterilising agent. How does it work? What effect does it have? After 1 to 2 units 0. After 3 to 4 units 1. There may be a slight impairment of steady movement.
After 5 to 6 units 2. Judgement and memory may be affected, particularly the ability to concentrate. After 7 to 8 units 3. This level of intoxication can result in irresponsible behaviour and euphoria. Consequences of alcohol abuse Most people will have some experience with alcohol. Alcohol Dependence Alcohol drinkers may develop a physical or psychological dependence on alcohol. Damage to health The UK Government-recommended alcohol limits are presently 21 units per week for men Family abuse Excessive consumption of alcohol is commonly sited as a reason for difficulties within a family or within a marriage.
Accidents While a person is under the influence of alcohol he or she is far more likely to have an accident than while sober because alcohol adversely affects judgement and perception.80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in units
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Blood Alcohol Content