How Alcohol affects in our Body
Effects of alcohol
Within five minutes of consuming alcohol, it enters the blood stream via the stomach. The effects can last for several hours. Alcohol is a nervous system depressant and after three units, makes people less socially inhibited and generally more relaxed. A unit contains eight grams of alcohol and consists of one large beer, one glass of wine or one pub measure of spirits.
After eight units, most people will slur their speech and become clumsy, uncoordinated and sometimes very emotional – generally known in South Africa as ‘dronkverdriet’. If more alcohol is consumed, double vision, nausea, loss of balance and vomiting can occur. Further drinking may lead to unconsciousness and memory loss.
Many things influence the effects alcohol has on particular people: their body weight, the speed with which the alcohol was consumed, how full or empty the stomach of the drinker was, their emotional state, their drinking habits and their personality or surroundings.
Alcohol is often used in conjunction with other drugs and this can greatly increase the effects of both substances.
Alcohol is metabolized very quickly by the body. Alcohol needs no digestion and is quickly absorbed. It affects every organ of the body, but its most dramatic impact is on the liver. Alcohol metabolism permanently changes liver cell structure, which impairs the liver’s ability to metabolise fats. This is why alcoholics develop fatty livers.
The liver can metabolise about one unit of alcohol per hour. If more arrives, it continues to circulate in the body until the liver can accommodate it. This is how it affects all other parts of the body.
The impact excessive alcoholic intake has on the body, is huge. The following are only some of the physical effects alcoholics can experience: Gouty arthritis, cirrhosis of the liver, increased cancer risk, heart disease, kidney failure, malnutrition, dementia, obesity and depression.
There are also many psychological symptoms associated with excessive alcoholic intake, many of which become apparent in someone’s workplace or personal life. These include a deterioration of personal hygiene, constant bouts of colds or flu, poor eating and sleeping habits, inappropriate behaviour in social situations, mood swings, poor concentration, irritibility, irregular work performance, constant lies to cover up the drinking, financial problems and frequent job changes.