When ingested, alcohol passes from the stomach into the small intestine, where it is rapidly absorbed into the blood and distributed throughout the body. Because it is distributed so quickly and thoroughly, alcohol can affect the central nervous system even in small concentrations.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which acts at many sites in the nervous system. Quiet people become talkative as they experience an increased sense of self-confidence and feel that they can express their thoughts more frankly to others. Sooner or later, those people will lose judgment control and also become unable to control their body movement. Actually, some people drink in order to reach this state! However, with increasing amounts of alcohol, the effects can be devastating. You can lose complete control over your senses and movement, become unconscious, and possibly die.
What happens in other body parts? Since alcohol is a toxic material, your body will try to eliminate it. Once absorbed by the bloodstream, the alcohol leaves the body in three ways: The kidneys eliminate five percent of alcohol in the urine; which makes you want to go to the bathroom frequently. The lungs exhale five percent of alcohol, which makes your breath smell like alcohol and can be measured to detect drunk driving. And the liver breaks down the remainder into acetic acid.
Understanding the metabolism of alcohol is critical to understanding its effect. In general, the liver can process one standard drink, which is equivalent to one can of beer, one shot of hard liquor or one glass of wine, in one hour. If you consume more than this, your system becomes saturated, and the additional alcohol will accumulate in the blood and body tissues until it can be metabolized.
Now let's move on to hangovers. Hangovers begin 8 to 12 hours after the last drink and symptoms include fatigue, depression, headache, thirst, nausea, and vomiting. The only way to prevent a hangover is to drink in moderation: 1.Eat a good dinner and continue to snack throughout the night. 2. Alternate one alcoholic drink with one non-alcoholic drink. 3. Avoid drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short amount of time so that you will not become dangerously intoxicated.
Now that you know how alcohol affects your body, you should remember this quote by Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, author of "The Great Gatsby." "First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you."