What is its effect on the body?
Alcohol is a drug that is absorbed into the bloodstream from the stomach and small intestine. It is broken down by the liver and then eliminated from the body.
There are limits to how fast the liver can break down alcohol and this process cannot be sped up. Until the liver has time to break down all of the alcohol, the alcohol continues to circulate in the bloodstream, affecting all of the body's organs, including the brain. In general, the liver can break down the equivalent of about one drink per hour and nothing can speed this up -- including black coffee.
As alcohol reaches the brain, you'll start to "feel" drunk. This feeling varies from one person to the next, and one situation to the next. In all situations, alcohol depresses the brain and slows down its ability to control the body and the mind. This is one reason why alcohol is so dangerous. Alcohol acts like a sedative and slows down muscle coordination, reflexes, movement and speech. If you drink too much alcohol, your breathing or heart rate can reach dangerously low levels or even stop.
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Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
Alcohol. Health Promotion Services, Vaden Health Center, Stanford University.
What is Social Drinking? Health Promotion Services, Vaden Health Center, Stanford University.
Jaccard, James. (1997). A Parent Handbook for Talking with Adolescents About Drunk Driving . Unpublished manuscript, University at Albany, State University of New York.