We all know about alcohol and the general effects they can have on our body. But do you know the facts that are essential to keeping you alive and safe? Keep reading below to learn about some unknown but vital statistics from the book Buzzed. Authors Cynthia Kuhn, PhD., Scott Swartzwelder, PhD., and Wilkie Wilson, PhD., of Duke University and Duke University School of Medicine have provided an extensive amount of knowledge on abused drugs and alcohol. Luckily for us, by investing and a short amount of time and reading these statements regarding alcohol, we have the potential to one day save someone's life, maybe even our own.
Nine critical and fascinating facts regarding America’s favorite drink of choice; alcohol:
“When people drink alcohol, they feel pleasure and relaxation during the first half hour or so, often becoming talkative and socially outgoing. But these feelings are usually replaced by sedation (drowsiness) as the alcohol is eliminated from the body, so drinkers may become quiet and withdrawn later. This pattern often motivates them to drink more to keep the initial pleasant buzz going.”
It is so easy to be distracted by “the feelgood feeling.” Although drinking can result in elevated dopamine levels increasing our happiness, it can turn the corner quite quick. As consumers of alcohol, we need to monitor consumption to make sure we are drinking appropriately and not putting yourself in danger to maintain the overhyped “buzz.”
“Under most circumstances, the chances of life-threatening overdose are low.”
Although some statistics fail to be reported, it does not mean that the facts are irrelevant. One of those facts is the fact that alcohol overdoses are low. Even though they are low, they still occur. The risks of alcohol overdose need to be discussed in today's society. It is critical to bring the issue to light and talk about the risks with individuals at a young age since teenagers tend to be an unfortunate portion of people who suffer from alcohol-related problems.
“When drunk people pass out, their bodies continue to absorb the alcohol they just drank. The amount of alcohol in their blood can then reach dangerous levels and they can die in their sleep. Keep checking someone who has gone to sleep drunk. Do not leave him or her alone.”
When we or someone we know drinks too much, we typically put them to bed and let them sleep. Although sleep will help the intoxicated individual, they still need to be monitored. Taking the extra time to check on the person you are watching can be the difference between life and death if their body reacts while they are sleeping. We have all had a friend that drank too much while we were in college, or may take care of someone who does, and knowing that they are still at risk falling asleep while drunk can help keep them safe in their time of need.
“It looks like alcohol may impair learning more in adolescents but be less potent at making them sleepy. The newest studies indicate that adolescents may be at greater risk than adults for long-lasting effects of alcohol on the brain--even down to the cellular level.”
Adolescents are still developing physically and mentally within the teenage years. Alcohol does not only affect their decisions but their brain as it is still going through the process of neural development. Hormones and emotions are already going crazy during the teenage years, so avoiding alcohol will help keep the neurotransmitters in the brain and hormones in line.
“The use of chemicals to alter thinking and feeling is as old as humanity itself, and alcohol was probably one of the first substances used.”
Drugs aren't the only substances used to alter our brain chemistry and emotional regulation. Alcohol has been around for as long as humans can cognitively remember, and drinking alcohol to change our emotional state is one thing that will most likely always occur among individuals.
“In pregnant women, alcohol is freely distributed to the fetus. It is important to recognize that when alcohol is distributed in the body, it does not discriminate between the tissues of the mother and those of the fetus.”
We’ve all heard that pregnant women shouldn't drink. What is shocking is that the alcohol goes wherever it wants. By ingesting alcohol while pregnant, the risk to the baby is incredibly high. It is a dangerous game where the odds are 50/50, both resulting in an adverse outcome.
“The alcohol that is used in beverages is called ethanol. It is actually only one of many different types. The chemical structures of most alcohols make them quite toxic to the human body. Ethanol is the only one that should ever be consumed, but people regularly poison themselves with other alcohols.”
Many forms of alcohol can hurt our bodies. It can be toxic by drinking too much or drinking the wrong type of alcohol. It is so important that we monitor the consumption of alcohol, as well as the alcohol being ingested because that is the sort of detrimental mistake that can lead to a hospital visit or death.
“The rapid absorption of high concentrations of alcohol can suppress the centers of the brain that control breathing and cause a person to pass out or even die.”
Many people drink, and while there are many factors to consider, the time between drinks is vital. The shorter the time between drinks means that the alcohol absorbs that much quicker so it is ideal to resist slamming back drinks too fast as it can cause immense harm. Besides the chance of a wicked hangover or chance of getting sick, there is irreversible damage that can occur as well, just because we drank too quick.
“For most people alcohol is not a terribly dangerous drug-but it is a powerful drug and must be treated accordingly.”
Alcohol is a widely accepted part of our nation and culture. Even though we popularize alcohol and the consumption of it, we tend to forget about the harm and defective side effects. It is a sad reality that individuals do not focus on the consequences until they are in harm or it is too late. Fortunately, there are options to help people avoid this detrimental path and turn the corner to lead to a better life. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or is curious about the best alcohol rehab, you came to the right place.
Kuhn, Cynthia, et al. “1: Alcohol.” Buzzed: the Straight Facts about the Most Used and Abused Drugs from Alcohol to Ecstasy, W.W. Norton & Company, 2014, pp. 33-67.