Alcohol - The Facts
Alcohol - The Facts
VideoJug present a short video giving you information on Alcohol. Showing the affects alcohol has on you physically and mentally, this film is truly useful in making you aware of all the effects that drinking alcohol has.
Step 1: What is Alcohol?
Alcohol is a compound of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, that is produced as a bi-product when yeast consumes sugar. Once ingested, alcohol has an immediate effect on the body, altering a persons personality and affecting their physical coordination. The more alcohol consumed, the greater the effect.
Step 2: How alcohol enters the body
Everybody reacts differently to the intake of alcohol, but generally 20% of the alcohol ingested is absorbed into the blood through the stomach, whilst the other 80% is absorbed in the small intestine. However, when the stomach is full the passageway between the two organs narrows, trapping the alcohol in the stomach where it is absorbed more slowly.
Step 3: Short term effects of Alcohol
Alcohol affects various centres in the brain, interfering with communication between nerve cells and all other cells.
The Cerebral Cortex normally controls behaviour inhibition, but alcohol makes the person become more talkative, self-confident and less socially inhibited. It also affects the processing of information from the senses causing problems with seeing, hearing and smelling, and impairing the ability to make sensible judgements.
The Limbic system controls emotions and memories, but alcohol distorts this causing the person to experience exaggerated states of emotion and memory loss.
The Cerebellum is the part of the brain that coordinates the movement of muscles, so increased alcohol levels in the cerebellum can lead to uncoordinated movements and a loss of balance
Alcohol also decreases the pituitary gland's secretion of anti-diuretic hormone, which in turn causes the kidney's to reabsorb less water and produce more urine.
The Medulla controls automatic bodily functions like breathing, heart rate and temperature regulation, so alcohol's effect on this region can be fatal, as it causes these vital functions to drop, or even stop completely.
Alcohol affects other body tissues and organs as well as the brain, irritating the linings of the stomach and small intestine, interfering with the nerve endings that control errections, and reduced blood flow to muscles leading to muscle aches and pains.
Step 4: Long term effects
The biggest victim of long term alcohol abuse is the liver, which starts to produce more of the protein that breaks alcohol down. This increases the body's tolerance to alcohol, meaning more drink is needed to get drunk, which in turn feeds more addictive behaviour. Long term drinking causes the liver tissue to harden and develop the condition cirrhosis, whilst also increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia, myopathy and decreased bone mass.
Step 5: How is it addictive?
Alcohol affects different people in different ways, some become more happy and talkative, whilst others feel down and depressed. For many it is followed by discomfort and anxiety, which they feel can only be alleviated by another drink. It is this dependence that can unwittingly trap people in an addictive cycle.
Step 6: Alcoholism - Signs and Symptoms
There is no set pattern of behaviour that characterizes an Alcoholic but common signs include the effort to drink more than others, hiding how much they've been drinking and an increased difficulty to function in social settings without alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms are usually experienced within several hours to a few days of reduction in those who drink heavily, these are manifested by increased sweating, hand tremor's and shaking, insomnia, nausea and anxiety.
Step 7: Getting Help
There are a number of support networks and groups who can help if you are suffering from Alcoholism such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Alcohol Concern. For more