What is alcohol?
Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is an intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor. Alcohol is produced by the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches.
How does alcohol affect a person?
Alcohol affects every organ in the body. It is a central nervous system depressant that is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver by enzymes; however, the liver can only metabolize a small amount of alcohol at a time, leaving the excess alcohol to circulate throughout the body. The intensity of the effect of alcohol on the body is directly related to the amount consumed.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Use
The most common signs of alcohol intoxication are:
slurred speech or difficulty expressing a thought intelligibly
lack of coordination
inability walk a straight line or focus
red eyes or flushed face
sweatiness or odor of alcohol on breath or in sweat.
Do you have a drinking problem?
You may have a drinking problem if you…
- Feel guilty or ashamed about your drinking.
- Lie to others or hide your drinking habits.
- Have friends or family members who are worried about your drinking.
- Need to drink in order to relax or feel better.
- “Black out” or forget what you did while you were drinking.
- Regularly drink more than you intended to.
Excessive alcohol consumption can affect a person’s life in many ways. Alcohol can be destructive to one’s physical, mental and emotional health. Alcohol can even adversely affect a person’s relationships. Alcohol is addictive and can lead a person down a dangerous path.
In spite of society’s approval, alcohol is a dangerous drug. It is possible to overdose and die from excessive alcohol use. Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the gag reflex (which prevents choking). A fatal dose of alcohol will eventually stop these functions. It is common for someone who drank excessive alcohol to vomit since alcohol is an irritant to the stomach. There is then the danger of choking on vomit, which could cause death by asphyxiation in a person who is not conscious because of intoxication.
Withdrawal from alcohol can be extremely dangerous or even fatal.
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawals can include:
Loss of appetite
About 25% of those withdrawing form alcohol can experience mild to true hallucinations, both auditory and visual. Seizures can occur, mild and grand mal. It is advisable to seek medical aid for withdrawal or detoxification from alcohol.
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal vary greatly depending on the amount the individual has been drinking and the regularity.