For over 10 years, teens have been asking us questions on every topic imaginable. While we are no longer taking new questions, we have a wealth of information we would like to share with teenagers.
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Navigate: FAQ Home Page > Drinking > Excessive alcohol
Alcohol has a tremendous effect on the brain. The more alcohol the more the effect, just like one donut is good but six makes you feel sick.
Alcohol is absorbed through the small intestine and then metabolized or changed through the liver. The liver is like a big filter but it can only handle ONE drink an hour. So if you have 2 beers in 30 minutes it is more than the body can handle and the level of alcohol in your blood goes up and has an effect on your brain.
One drink of liquor or a beer often relaxes you and reduces shyness. Two drinks and your judgment is impaired and you think the guy or gal talking to you is sexy and attractive and smart and that your own conversation is really clever and brilliant; three drinks and you start making poor choices like having more drinks or trying to drive or going home with the now really attractive guy or gal; four or more drinks and you start to have trouble remembering what you did, and can black out because of the impact of the alcohol on your brain. Think of a big hammer and a tomato, same as too much alcohol and your brain.
It has nothing to do with the body conserving energy, it is really that too much alcohol acts as a poison to your brain which affects your ability to reason, think and make choices. When your brain shuts off or is sedated then normal impulses that protect your from vomiting and inhaling it stop, and your impulse to breath is reduced. In a sense you go into a coma where you can die, forget what you did or worse have sex without protection, be raped or try to drive and kill yourself or others.
If you read the newspaper you will see that most colleges and universities are very worried about young men and woman drinking to the point of dying. It happens every year and is of grave concern. Also, think about drunk driving, too many drinks and the brain is damaged to the point that you can't safely drive a car.
Sorry for the long answer but this is really an important issue. Alcohol is a legal product and kills many, many men and woman a year. So, again, think of your precious brain as a soft ripe tomato and alcohol as a great big hard hammer. SPLAT. Why do you think they refer to being drunk as being "hammered"?
There are a number of good web sites that talk about alcohol poisoning. Try the US Department of Health and Human Services at http://ncadi.samhsa.gov/govpubs/prevalert/v5/2.aspx.
Hope this clears up the issue.
Steve Johnson , PA-C