How Alcohol Reacts in the Body

How Alcohol Reacts in the Body

Alcohol is something so many adults partake in. This drinking is usually a way to have fun, to reduce stress and anxiety from the week, and it may even loosen some people up so they can talk to others. When it is ingested, many reactions occur all at once, without the person knowing it. These reactions are the body’s way of trying to rid this substance from the system.

Alcohol is toxic and a poison to the system, which then turns into a reaction in the body that many people enjoy. This is why they continue to drink alcohol or even do drugs, because they have these positive feelings and effects.

When the body is in this state of feeling great, not feeling much pain, and being able to live in the moment without anxiety or worrying about what is happening around them; they may turn to this substance to numb the way they feel on a daily basis. This is why many people may turn into alcoholics. Not only is it easily accessible, but it is legal to drink when you are of age and it is an easy way to feel good without having to worry about where you’re going to get it.

Learning more about alcohol and your body can help you determine if it is something you want to continue to drink or perhaps you should drink less of it if you do so often.

How the Body Responds to Alcohol

The way that the body processes alcohol is the same in every person, but each person may have a different tolerance level. This is why some people can drink much more than others. By understanding how the body reacts to this type of substance, you can have a better idea of why people choose to do this and why people may have an abuse situation involving it.

When you consume alcohol it will go to the stomach and then into the small intestine. Your blood vessels work to carry this liquid to your bloodstream, which is why you get the effects that you do when you drink alcohol.

Only around 20% of the alcohol that you ingest is absorbed through the stomach. The other 80% is through the small intestine.

The liver is what filters the alcohol through the system, just like it filters every other substance that you take. Usually, medications have warning labels on them if they are going to be tough for the liver to break down and filter.

When the vessels get a hold of the alcohol, it is sent throughout the body including to the brain. This is what causes the nervous system to slow down. Being a depressant of this area of the body, it can cause slower than normal reaction times, and it can even cause a lightheaded-like feeling.

Any additional alcohol that is in your system on top of what your body can filter through your body is stored in the blood and fat cells of the body. This is why it can seem like you are feeling the alcohol for a longer period. Your body needs the extra time to get to the point where it can filter the alcohol out of the system. Drinking shots quickly, or downing beers can cause the blood alcohol levels in the body to be much higher than casual, slow drinking.

Counting Standard Drink Amounts

The standard drink amount and how much you should be able to drink within what time frame is important to know for drinking responsibly.

One 12 ounce beer is one drink, but malt and specialty, or micro brews may have different alcohol content in them. A regular beer only has about 4%.

1.5 ounces of liquor that is about 80 proof. This is usually the standard shot size for hard liquor. Keep in mind, mixed drinks have around this plus some if multiple alcohol types are in it.

5 ounces of standard wine is one drink. These are table wines that are simple, and normally easy to find.

3 ounces of fortified wines are labeled as one drink. This is generally wine that is more than 13%, brandy and sherry are both fortified wines.

Your blood alcohol content or BAC is also something that is going to be shown depending on how many of the above drinks you have had.

It is calculated by a BAC level of .10 being 1000 parts of blood. The levels effect men and women differently, as well as different weights. Other factors go into this, as well as how often the person drinks, their specific health conditions, and more.

The number factors in how many drinks the person had in an hour based on the above information.

It is important to note that having a BAC of .08 or higher is legally intoxicated. You may be impaired if you are below this level. Anything over .27 means that death is possible because too much was ingested.

Alcohol Poisoning is a Real Thing

If someone tells you that alcohol poisoning is not something that can happen, do not listen to them. Alcohol poisoning can happen.

When the person drinks too much alcohol, or too much too fast, this can lead to alcohol poisoning. When this happens, this can slow down your breathing and heart rate, it can cause you to throw up, or not be aware of what you are doing. This can cause the person to choke or aspirate their vomit or potentially die.

When a person has been drinking too much or may have had too much to drink, it is important to know the signs of alcohol poisoning so that they can get the help they need. The signs can include:

  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Extreme Vomiting
  • Slow or Irregular Breathing
  • Blue or Very Pale Skin
  • Unconsciousness
  • Low Body Temperature

Any of these signs mean the person is in distress and help should be something that others around them should reach out for. Alcohol poisoning is a real thing and it can be deadly if it is not caught right away.

Teenagers often find themselves in situations where a friend that they are by drinks too much. Usually, in these situations, if the friend has any of the above symptoms, it is best to contact an ambulance and then the friend’s parents. This ensures that the teen gets the medical attention they need. 

Kids are often afraid that they will get into trouble if they call an ambulance and parents, but at the same time, it’s better than having a friend who suffers long-term health complications, and in some cases, even death because of the fear of getting into trouble for drinking. 

Making Healthier Choices

It is important that those who do drink alcohol make healthier, more responsible choices when they do so. Drinking is legal to do in many areas if you’re over a certain age, usually 21, but that does not mean that it is safe to consume all the alcohol that you want. It also does not mean that it is safe to do the regular things you would normally do while not drinking, such as driving. The choices you make while drinking can affect not only you, but those around you, as well.

Drinking, especially regularly is something that can damage the organs of the body. Periods of drinking, in smaller amounts, is okay to do, but it is important that you know your limit and that you do not drink too much. This can cause problems.

It is also recommended that you eat a full meal before drinking, as this is going to help soak up the alcohol, providing you with a way to enjoy drinking without feeling sick. It also reduces the chances of becoming too drunk too soon, allowing the body to consume slowly and then rid itself of the alcohol.

Alcohol Addiction and Finding Help

If you or someone you know may be addicted to alcohol, it is important to reach out to the right place for help. While alcohol is a legal substance, it is still one that can be abused if it is not consumed responsibly.

Some that drink alcohol every single day may not be alcoholics, or classified as such. However, when the drinking becomes more so apparent and a problem for the person to maintain the normal functions of their life, then it may be classified as an addiction.

Just like with substance abuse with other street and prescription drugs, alcohol abuse can be treated through rehab facilities or in an out- or in-patient facility that offers different help and advice. Which you use depends on your level of alcohol abuse and the type of help you feel would work the best for your particular situation. Help is always just a phone call away at one of the many centers located around you.

It is always good to seek out help when someone is struggling with alcohol addiction and may not know how to work through it or find the help they need to get over it. It can become a deadly situation if it is not something that is cleared up, as the body is not able to live off of alcohol for an extended period and can do much more harm than you think.