Alcohol and its effects on humans

how alcohol affects the brain

Alcoholit is a sedative, that is, a substance that slows down all the processes of the body. Small doses of alcohol give a feeling of relaxation and self-confidence. In large doses it slows down the reaction and negatively affects, for example, the eye and coordination. Driving when you are not sober is extremely dangerous. A person in a state of severe intoxication feels nausea, dizziness and may lose consciousness, in addition to everything else there is a danger of choking on his own vomit.

The level of alcohol concentration in the blood depends on a number of factors.

  • If you eat fatty foods, intoxication will not be so rapid.
  • The high content of animal and vegetable fats slows down the absorption of alcohol and the digestion of the food itself.
  • The fuller the stomach is, the longer it will take for alcohol to reach the circulatory system.
  • The denser your body fat, the slower alcohol is digested and absorbed into the blood.
  • Body weight: The heavier you are, the less alcohol will affect you.
  • Your reaction to consuming 80mg of alcohol may be completely different than someone else's. Typically, young people and women are more susceptible to alcohol.

The ability to consume alcohol and the effect it has on different people varies; however, it is believed that a safe dose (from a health point of view) is around 5 liters of medium strength BEER or 10 large glasses of wine per week. for men and 2/3 for women, provided, of course, that this amount is lost evenly over the course of a week and not in 1-2 times. If you can, try not to drink on an empty stomach.

Alcoholism: what is it?

Alcoholism– regular and compulsive consumption of large quantities of alcohol over a long period of time. It is the most serious form of drug addiction in modern times and affects between 1 and 5% of the population in most countries. An alcoholic drinks compulsively in response to a psychological or physical dependence on alcohol.

Anyone can become an alcoholic. However, studies have shown that children of alcoholics are 4-6 times more likely to become dependent on alcohol than children of non-alcoholics.

The study of alcohol consumption among young people in our country is largely based on the experience of similar studies abroad, which in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were widely conducted in Western Europe and North America and were led in various directions:

  • The prevalence and patterns of alcohol use among students were studied.
  • The effect of alcohol on the body of children and adolescents has been studied.
  • The relationship between academic performance and alcohol consumption was determined.
  • Anti-alcohol education programs have been developed and tested.

A significant place among the studies of this period was occupied by works illustrating the prevalence and nature of drinking customs, when children were given alcoholic drinks for:

  • "health promotion"
  • "appetite"
  • "growth enhancement"
  • "to relieve teething"
  • "heating"
  • "satisfy hunger"
  • "calm"

Six stages of alcoholism

Casual drunkenness can lead to alcoholism: because the drinker begins to turn to alcohol to relieve stress, or because it is so strong that the initial stages of addiction remain unnoticed.

Early alcoholism is characterized by the appearance of memory lapses. Alcoholism of the younger generation is considered by most researchers to be a significant indicator of the dysfunction of the microsocial environment. This determines the constant interest in studying the problem of the prevalence and nature of early alcoholism.

Boys drink major types of alcoholic beverages more often than girls, and as their strength increases, this difference becomes significant. Among urban schoolchildren it is common to consume predominantly weak alcoholic beverages: beer, wine, while rural school students are more familiar with the tastes of strong alcoholic beverages. In the 1920s and 1920s, fairly widespread use of moonshine by schoolchildren could be found: 1. 0–32. 0% among boys and 0. 9–12% among girls. The frequency of vodka consumption increases with age.

Almost all socio-hygienic and clinical-social studies on youth alcoholism have used the survey method in various modifications: from correspondence questionnaires to telephone interviews and clinical interviews.

Basic alcoholism– the drinker cannot stop until he reaches the poisoning stage. He encourages himself with self-justifications and pompous promises, but all his promises and intentions remain unfulfilled. He begins to avoid family and friends and neglect food, past interests, work and money. Physical deterioration of health occurs. Resistance to alcohol decreases.

Chronic alcoholism is characterized by further moral decline, irrational thinking, vague fears, fantasies, and psychopathic behavior. Physical damage is increasing. The drinker no longer has an alibi and can no longer take steps to get out of the current situation. A person can reach this stage in 5-25 years.

Treatment is usually carried out through special programs for alcoholics. Psychologically, the alcoholic's desire for help is revived and she begins to think more rationally. Ideally, she also develops hope, moral responsibility, external interests, self-esteem, and satisfaction with abstinence from alcohol.

The final stage of alcoholism occurs if the alcoholic refuses treatment or collapses again after treatment. Irreversible mental and physical damage usually ends in death.

If you write all this down briefly, this is what you get:

  • Domestic drunkenness
  • Early alcoholism
  • Basic alcoholism
  • Chronic alcoholism
  • Treatment
  • The final stage of alcoholism

What determines a person's degree of intoxication?

The effect of alcohol on behavior depends on the amount of alcohol that reaches the brain through the blood. This "blood alcohol level" is determined by many other factors besides how much you drink.

The size of the liver determines the rate of oxidation and elimination of alcohol.

The weight of the person himself determines the amount of blood in the body, since the volume of blood is proportional to it. The older the person, the more the blood is diluted by the alcohol consumed and the more it is needed to have the same effect.

The speed and pattern of alcohol consumption are also important. The slower a person drinks a certain amount of alcohol, the weaker its effects.

Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach has a stronger and quicker effect than drinking it during or after a meal. Food acts as a buffer during absorption.

The process of intoxication.

When you drink alcohol, the transmission of impulses in the nervous system slows down. The higher levels of the brain are the first to be affected: inhibitions, excitement and anxiety disappear, giving way to a feeling of contentment and euphoria. When the lower levels of the brain are affected, coordination, vision and speech deteriorate. The small blood vessels in the skin dilate. The heat is radiated and the person becomes hot. This means that blood has been diverted from the body's internal organs, where blood vessels have already narrowed due to alcohol's effects on the nervous system. Therefore, at the same time, the temperature of the internal organs decreases. A possible increase in sexual desire is associated with the suppression of ordinary prohibitions. As blood alcohol levels increase, physical sexual performance becomes increasingly impaired. Eventually the toxic effects of alcohol cause nausea and possibly vomiting.


Hangovers are bad. . . And now in more detail:

Hangoveris physical discomfort after consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. Symptoms may include headache, stomach upset, thirst, dizziness and irritability. Hangovers occur as a result of three processes. First, the gastric mucosa is irritated by excess alcohol and the functioning of the stomach is impaired. Secondly, cellular dehydration occurs if the amount of alcohol consumed exceeds the capacity of the liver, resulting in alcohol remaining in the blood for a long time. Thirdly, the level of alcohol has a "shock" effect on the nervous system, from which it needs time to recover.

The best way to avoid a hangover is to not drink too much (or better yet, not drink at all). But the likelihood of a hangover is reduced if alcohol is mixed with a snack (Havka): alcohol intake and absorption is prolonged for a longer period of time, and food acts as a barrier. Soft drinks taken at the same time or later will dilute the alcohol. Adverse effects are also usually reduced if alcohol is consumed in a relaxed environment and smoking is kept to a minimum.

The effect of alcohol on the body

Blood.Alcohol inhibits the production of platelets and red and white blood cells. Result: anemia, infections, bleeding

Brain. Alcohol slows blood circulation in the vessels of the brain, leading to a constant lack of oxygen in its cells, resulting in impaired memory and slow mental degradation (or simply dullness). The first sclerotic changes develop in the vessels and the risk of cerebral hemorrhage increases. Alcohol destroys the connections between the nerve cells of the brain, developing in them the need for alcohol and alcohol dependence. Destruction of brain cells and degeneration of the nervous system sometimes leads to pneumonia, heart and kidney failure, or organic psychosis. Delirium tremens is a condition accompanied by extreme agitation, mental insanity, restlessness, fever, tremors, rapid and irregular pulse, and hallucinations, which often occurs when drinking large amounts of alcohol after several days of abstinence.

Heart.Alcohol abuse causes increased blood cholesterol levels, persistent hypertension and myocardial dystrophy. Cardiovascular failure puts the patient on the brink of the grave. Alcoholic myopathy: Muscle degeneration resulting from alcoholism. The reasons for this are lack of use of muscles, poor nutrition and the damage caused by alcohol to the nervous system. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy affects the heart muscle.

Intestines.The constant effect of alcohol on the wall of the small intestine leads to a change in the structure of cells and they lose the ability to fully absorb nutrients and mineral components, which leads to exhaustion of the alcoholic's body.

Diseases associated with poor nutrition and vitamin deficiency, such as scurvy, pellagra, and beriberi, caused by neglecting food for the sake of drinking. Persistent inflammation of the stomach and subsequently of the intestine with increased risk of ulcers.

Liver.Considering that 95% of all alcohol entering the body is neutralized in the liver, it is clear that this organ suffers most from alcohol: an inflammatory process occurs (hepatitis) and then healing (cirrhosis). The liver ceases to perform its function of disinfection of toxic metabolic products, production of blood proteins and other important functions, which leads to the inevitable death of the patient. Cirrhosis is an insidious disease: it slowly creeps up on a person, then strikes and immediately leads to death. 10% of chronic alcoholics suffer from liver cirrhosis, and 75% of people with cirrhosis are or have been alcoholics. Until cirrhosis develops sufficiently, there are almost no symptoms, then the alcoholic begins to complain of a general deterioration in health, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and digestive problems. The cause of the disease is the toxic effects of alcohol.

Pancreas.Patients suffering from alcoholism are 10 times more likely to develop diabetes than non-drinkers: alcohol destroys the pancreas, the organ that produces insulin, and profoundly distorts metabolism.

Skin.A person who drinks almost always looks older than he is: his skin loses its elasticity very quickly and ages prematurely.

Stomach. Alcohol suppresses the production of mucin, which performs a protective function against the gastric mucosa, which leads to the appearance of peptic ulcers.

A characteristic manifestation of alcohol poisoning is repeated vomiting. Even a single consumption of small doses of alcoholic beverages is accompanied in adolescents by pronounced manifestations of intoxication, especially in the nervous system. The most serious poisonings are observed in people with a complicated medical history, against the background of organic brain failure or concomitant somatic pathology.

It is much less clear to describe the nature of the influence of alcohol on the psyche of a teenager. In general, the clinical picture of severe intoxication of a teenager in most cases looks like this: short-term excitement is then replaced by general depression, stupor, increasing drowsiness, lethargy, slow and inconsistent speech, loss of orientation.

When they drank alcohol for the first time, 53% of teenagers felt disgusted. Over time, with the increase in the "experience" of alcohol consumption, the objective picture, however, changes dramatically. More than 90% of adolescents surveyed with two years or more of "experience" in drinking believe that intoxication is accompanied by a feeling of increased energy, a feeling of contentment, comfort and an improvement in mood, i. e. those attributes of a mental state that ordinary consciousness often attributes to action begin to appear in their statements.

Illnesses or simply PSYCHOSIS

Delirium tremens usually occurs against the background of a hangover, with a sudden cessation of alcohol consumption or during a period of abstinence, in case of addition of somatic diseases, injuries (especially fractures). The initial symptoms of psychosis are the worsening of night sleep, the appearance of vegetative symptoms and tremors, as well as the patient's general liveliness, which can be found in movements, speech, facial expressions and above all in mood. In a short period of time, different shades of mood can be noticed, while during a hangover the mood is monotonous, characterized by depression and anxiety. Unusual changes in mood and general liveliness intensify in the evening and night, while during the day these disturbances sharply decrease and can even disappear completely, which allows the patient to carry out his professional duties. With increasing symptoms of psychosis, complete insomnia appears, against which first visual illusions arise, and then various hallucinations and delusions.

Delirium tremens is characterized by a predominance of true visual hallucinations. They are characterized by a multiplicity of images and mobility. Most often these are insects (bugs, cockroaches, cockroaches, flies) and small animals (cats, rats, mice). Less often, patients see large animals and people, in some cases with a fantastic appearance. Very typical are the visions of snakes, devils and even deceased relatives, the so-called wandering dead. In some cases visual illusions and hallucinations are single, in others they are multiple and scene-like, e. g. the patient sees complex images. Auditory, tactile, olfactory hallucinations, sensations of disturbance of the body's position in space often occur. The mood of patients is extremely changeable. In it, in a short time, one can notice fear, complacency, bewilderment, surprise and desperation. Patients usually move continuously, their facial expressions are expressive. The motor reactions correspond to the hallucinations and affects prevalent at the moment: with fear and frightening visions, the patient hides, defends himself, becomes excited; during periods of complacency - passive.

Patients are characterized by extreme distractibility to external events; everything around them attracts their attention. The delirium in alcoholic delirium is fragmentary and reflects hallucinatory disturbances. In terms of content, this is most often delusions of persecution. Patients are usually falsely oriented in place (while in hospital they say they are at home, at a restaurant, at work), but they are oriented in their own personality. Alcoholic delirium is characterized by the periodic temporary disappearance of a significant part of mental disorders, the so-called lucid - light intervals, as well as a naturally pronounced increase in symptoms of psychosis in the evening and at night.

Delirium tremens is constantly accompanied by a variety of somatic disorders: tremors, sudden sweating, hyperemia of the skin, especially of the face. The temperature is very often low. The pulse increased. Proteins often appear in urine; in the blood - increased bilirubin content, shift of the leukocyte formula to the left, acceleration of ROE. The course of the disease is usually short-term. Even without treatment, the symptoms of psychosis disappear within 3-5 days. Less commonly, the disease lasts for 1–1. 5 weeks. Recovery is most often observed in the form of seizures, after a deep sleep. Sometimes recovery is gradual, worse in the evening and night and better during the day. Signs indicating an unfavorable prognosis for delirium tremens are the development of symptoms of professional delirium and delirium, high fever, and states of collapse.

Alcoholic hallucination develops during a hangover or at the height of the binge. The main complaint is abundant auditory hallucinations combined with delusions of persecution. Verbal auditory hallucinations predominate, and the patient usually hears words "spoken" by a large number of people - a "choir of voices", as patients often call it. Very often the "voices" talk to each other about the patient, less often they address the patient himself. The content of verbal hallucinations is threats, accusatory discussions about the patient's past actions, cynical abuse, insults. Often the hallucinations are mocking and teasing in nature. Voices intensify to a scream or weaken to a whisper. Delusional ideas in content are closely related to auditory hallucinations, the so-called. hallucinatory delirium. They are piecemeal and unsystematic. The predominant affect is intense anxiety and fear. At the beginning of psychosis, patients are motor excited, but soon some delay appears or very orderly behavior is observed, which masks the psychosis. The latter creates a false and dangerous idea of improvement. As a rule, the symptoms of psychosis intensify in the evening and at night. Somatic complaints, typical of hangover syndrome, are constant. The duration of alcoholic hallucinosis is from 2-3 days to several weeks; in rare cases, the disease lasts up to several months.

Alcoholic depression always appears against the background of a hangover syndrome. Characterized by a depressed-anxious mood, ideas of self-deprecation, tears, as well as individual ideas of relationships and persecution. Duration – from several days to 1–2 weeks. It is in a state of alcoholic depression that alcoholics most often commit suicide.

Alcoholic epilepsy is symptomatic and associated with toxicosis. Convulsions most often occur at the height of intoxication during a hangover or during alcoholic delirium. Epileptiform convulsions are usually observed. Minor seizures, twilight stupors, and auras do not occur in alcoholic epilepsy. With the cessation of alcohol abuse, the seizures disappear.

Alcoholic paranoid is an alcoholic psychosis, the main symptom of which is delusion. It occurs in a state of hangover syndrome and at the height of binge drinking. The content of delusional ideas is limited to persecution or jealousy (ideas of adultery). In the first case, patients believe that there is a group of people who want to rob or kill them. They see confirmation of their thoughts in the gestures, actions and words of others. Characterized by confusion, intense anxiety, which often gives way to fear. Patients' actions are impulsive: they jump out of vehicles while moving, suddenly run away, turn to government authorities for help, and sometimes attack imaginary enemies. In some cases, delirium is accompanied by mild verbal illusions and hallucinations and by individual delusional symptoms that occur in the evening and at night. The course of this form of paranoid is usually short-term, from several days to several weeks. Occasionally, psychosis lasts for months.

Alcoholic encephalopathies– alcoholic psychoses, which develop in connection with metabolic disorders and, first of all, vitamins B and PP. Alcoholic encephalopathy occurs as a result of many years of alcoholism, accompanied by chronic gastritis or enteritis and, as a consequence of the latter, reduced absorption in the intestine. Alcoholic encephalopathies develop especially in those individuals who drink a lot but eat little. Most often, alcoholic encephalopathies occur in the spring and early summer months. Autonomic symptoms usually include heart rhythm disturbances, central fever, respiratory problems, and sphincter weakness. You can constantly observe an increase in muscle tone. The general physical condition of patients is characterized by progressive weight loss up to severe cachexia. The skin is pale or dark brown.

Chronic forms of alcoholic encephalopathy include Korsakoff psychosis and alcoholic pseudoparalysis. In some cases, they develop gradually, over several months, and therefore the nature of the onset corresponds to Gaye-Vorik encephalopathy, in others - acutely, after alcoholic psychosis, usually after delirium tremens.

Treatment of alcoholic psychosis. Patients with alcoholic psychosis must be urgently hospitalized in a special hospital. Some hangover syndrome patients are also subject to hospitalization in cases where mental disorders, especially mood changes, are intense. Treatment of alcoholic psychosis in the hospital should be comprehensive: the use of multivitamins (B1, C, PP), cardiac and hypnotics with hypoglycemic and comatose doses of insulin or psychotronic drugs. The only effective treatment for alcoholic encephalonitis, especially acute, is therapy with large doses of vitamins: B1 - up to 600 mg, C - up to 1000 mg, PP - up to 300-400 mg per day for 2- 4 weeks.

Alcohol intoxication.

People who abuse alcohol sometimes fall into a stupor that leads to a coma. In extremely severe cases, breathing may stop.

However, do not assume that a person who appears intoxicated has necessarily consumed alcohol. Similar symptoms are observed in other conditions (head injuries, stroke and diabetes, as well as overdoses of some drugs).

First aid.

If the victim is unconscious but still breathing, remove anything obstructing breathing (pieces of snacks, breakfast) from the mouth and pharynx with your finger, do not try to induce vomiting. Place the victim in the resuscitation position, free the neck and waist from tight clothing and ensure that the airway remains open.

If the victim does not regain consciousness, call an ambulance.


Alcoholism is a serious disease that in some cases develops over many years. So it's better not to drink too much or often! And if you drink, then drink BEER! ! ! : )