Alcohol and its effects on humans

how does alcohol affect the brain

Alcoholis a depressant, that is, a substance that slows down all processes in 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 while not sober is extremely dangerous. A person in a state of severe intoxication experiences nausea, dizziness, and may lose consciousness, then on top of everything else there is the 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, then intoxication will not be as quick.
  • 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, the longer it will take for alcohol to reach the circulatory system.
  • The thicker your body fat, the slower alcohol is digested and absorbed into the blood.
  • Body weight: the heavier you are, the lesser the effects of alcohol on you.
  • Your reaction to drinking 80 mg 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 somewhere around 5 liters of BEER of medium strength or 10 large glasses of wine per week for men and 2/3 of this dose for women, provided, of course, that this amount will be 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, compulsive consumption of large amounts of alcohol over a long period of time. It is the most serious form of drug addiction in modern times, affecting 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 for children of alcoholics, the risk of becoming alcohol dependent is 4-6 times higher than for 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 carried out in Western Europe and North America and were conducted in a variety of directions:

  • The prevalence and patterns of alcohol consumption among students were studied.
  • The effect of alcohol on children's and adolescents' bodies was studied.
  • The relationship between academic performance and alcohol consumption was determined.
  • Anti-alcohol education programs were 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 beverages for:

  • "health promotion"
  • "appetite"
  • "improved growth"
  • "to relieve teething"
  • "warming up"
  • "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 marked by the appearance of memory lapses. Alcoholization of the younger generation is considered by most researchers as 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 the main 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 drinks - beer, wine, while students in rural schools are more familiar with the tastes of strong alcoholic drinks. In the 1920s and 1920s, one could find fairly widespread use of moonshine by schoolchildren: 1. 0–32. 0% among boys and 0. 9–12% among girls. The frequency of vodka consumption increased with age.

Almost all socio-hygienic and clinical-social studies of youth alcoholism 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 stage of poisoning. 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 mounting. The drinker no longer has an alibi, and he 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 desire to get help is revived in the alcoholic, and he begins to think more rationally. Ideally, he 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 breaks down again after treatment. Irreversible mental and physical damage usually ends in death.

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

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

What determines the degree of intoxication of a person?

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 several 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 larger 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 manner 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 faster effect than drinking it during or after a meal. Food acts as a buffer during absorption.

The process of intoxication.

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


A hangover is bad. . . And now in more detail:

Hangoveris physical discomfort after consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. Symptoms may include headache, upset stomach, thirst, dizziness and irritability. A hangover occurs as a result of three processes. Firstly, the gastric mucosa is irritated by excess alcohol, and the functioning of the stomach is impaired. Secondly, cell dehydration occurs if the amount of alcohol consumed exceeds the liver's capacity, 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 not to drink too much (or better yet, not to drink at all). But the likelihood of a hangover is reduced if alcohol is mixed with a snack (Havka): the intake and absorption of alcohol is extended over a longer period of time, and food serves as a barrier. Non-alcoholic drinks taken at the same time or after will dilute the alcohol. The ill 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, as well as white and red blood cells. Result: anemia, infections, bleeding

Brain. Alcohol slows down blood circulation in the vessels of the brain, leading to constant oxygen starvation of its cells, resulting in weakening of memory and slow mental degradation (or simply dullness). Early 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 lead to pneumonia, heart and kidney failure, or organic psychosis. Delirium tremens is a condition accompanied by extreme agitation, mental insanity, restlessness, fever, trembling, fast and irregular pulse and hallucinations, which often occurs when drinking large quantities 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 diet and alcohol damage 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 ends in the depletion 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 later intestines with an 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 the most from alcohol: an inflammatory process occurs (hepatitis), and then scarring (cirrhosis). The liver ceases to perform its function of disinfecting toxic metabolic products, producing 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, and then strikes, and immediately leads to death. Ten percent of chronic alcoholics have cirrhosis of the liver, 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.

Leather.A drinking person almost always looks older than his age: his skin very soon loses its elasticity and ages prematurely.

Stomach. Alcohol suppresses the production of mucin, which performs a protective function in relation to the gastric mucosa, which leads to the occurrence 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 severe poisonings are observed in persons with a complicated medical history, against the background of organic cerebral insufficiency 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 incoherent speech, and loss of orientation.

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

Diseases or simply PSYCHOSIS

Delirium tremens usually occurs against the background of a hangover, with a sudden cessation of drinking or during a period of abstinence, in cases of the addition of somatic diseases, injuries (especially fractures). The initial symptoms of psychosis are worsening night sleep, the appearance of vegetative symptoms and tremors, as well as the general liveliness of the patient, noted in his movements, speech, facial expressions and especially mood. Over a short period of time, one can notice a variety of shades of mood, while during the period of a hangover the mood is monotonous, characterized by depression and anxiety. Unusual changes in mood and general liveliness intensify in the evening and at night, while during the day these disorders decrease sharply and may even disappear completely, which allows the patient to carry out his professional duties. As the symptoms of psychosis increase, complete insomnia appears, against which visual illusions first 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, beetles, flies) and small animals (cats, rats, mice). Less often, patients see large animals and people, in some cases having a fantastic appearance. Visions of snakes, devils, as well as deceased relatives, the so-called wandering dead, are very typical. In some cases, visual illusions and hallucinations are single, in others they are multiple and scene-like, i. e. the patient sees complex pictures. Often there are auditory, tactile, olfactory hallucinations, sensations of disturbance of the body position in space. The mood of patients is extremely changeable. In it, within a short time, one can note fear, complacency, bewilderment, surprise, and despair. Patients usually move continuously, their facial expressions are expressive. Motor reactions correspond to the prevailing hallucinations and affect at the moment - with fear and frightening visions, the patient hides, defends himself, is excited; during periods of complacency - passive.

Patients are characterized by extreme distractibility to external events; everything around them attracts their attention. Delirium in alcoholic delirium is fragmentary and reflects hallucinatory disorders. In terms of content, this is most often delirium of persecution. Patients are usually falsely oriented in place (while in the hospital, they say that they are at home, in a restaurant, at work), but are oriented in their own personality. Alcoholic delirium is characterized by 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 - trembling, sudden sweating, hyperemia of the skin, especially the face. The temperature is most often low-grade. The pulse is increased. Protein often appears in the urine; in the blood - increased bilirubin content, a shift in the leukocyte formula to the left, acceleration of ROE. The course of the disease is usually short-term. Even without treatment, symptoms of psychosis disappear within 3–5 days. Less commonly, the disease drags on for 1–1. 5 weeks. Recovery is more often observed in the form of a crisis - after deep sleep. Sometimes recovery is gradual, worsening in the evening and at night and improving during the day. Signs indicating an unfavorable prognosis for delirium tremens are the development of symptoms of occupational and delirium delirium, high fever, and collapsed states.

Alcoholic hallucination develops either during a hangover or at the height of binge drinking. The main disorder is abundant auditory hallucinations combined with delusions of persecution. Verbal auditory hallucinations predominate, and the patient usually hears words "uttered" by a large number of people - a "chorus of voices, " as patients often define it. Most often, the "voices" talk among themselves about the patient, less often they are addressed to the patient himself. The content of verbal hallucinations is threats, accusing discussions of the patient’s past actions, cynical abuse, insults. Often hallucinations are mocking and teasing in nature. The voices either intensify to a scream or weaken to a whisper. Delusional ideas in content are closely related to auditory hallucinations - the so-called. hallucinatory delusion. They are fragmentary and unsystematic. The predominant affect is intense anxiety and fear. At the beginning of psychosis, patients are motorically excited, but soon some retardation appears or very orderly behavior is observed, masking the psychosis. The latter creates a false and dangerous idea of improvement. As a rule, symptoms of psychosis intensify in the evening and at night. Somatic disorders, usual for hangover syndrome, are constant. The duration of alcoholic hallucinosis is from 2-3 days to several weeks; in rare cases, the disease drags on for up to several months.

Alcohol depression always appears against the background of a hangover syndrome. Characterized by a depressed-anxious mood, ideas of self-deprecation, tearfulness, as well as individual ideas of relationship 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. Seizures most often occur at the height of intoxication during a hangover or during alcoholic delirium. As a rule, epileptiform seizures are observed. Minor seizures, twilight stupefactions, and auras do not occur in alcoholic epilepsy. With the cessation of alcohol abuse, seizures disappear.

Alcoholic paranoid is an alcoholic psychosis, the main symptom of which is delusion. 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, often giving way to fear. The actions of patients are impulsive - they jump off 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 individual delirious 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, developing 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, impaired absorption in the intestine. Alcoholic encephalopathies develop mainly in those individuals who drink a lot but eat very little. Most often, alcoholic encephalopathies occur in the spring and early summer months. Autonomic symptoms usually include heart rhythm disturbances, fever of central origin, breathing 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 in color.

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

Treatment of alcoholic psychoses. Patients with alcoholic psychosis must be urgently admitted to a special hospital. Some patients with hangover syndrome 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, especially acute, encephalonitis 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 poisoning.

People who abuse alcohol sometimes fall into a state of stupor, leading to 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 overdose of certain 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 patent.

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 a lot and often! And if you drink, then drink BEER! ! ! : )