Alcohol and its effects on man

how alcohol affects 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 eyes and coordination. Driving without sobriety is extremely dangerous. A person in a state of severe intoxication experiences nausea, dizziness, may lose consciousness, then, among other things, there is a 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 so fast.
  • 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 bloodstream.
  • Body weight: the heavier you are, the less effect alcohol has on you.
  • Your reaction to drinking 80 mg of alcohol may be completely different than someone else's. Generally, young people and women are more susceptible to alcohol.

The ability to consume alcohol and the effect it has on different people varies, but a safe dose (from a health perspective) is thought to be somewhere around 5 liters of medium strength BEER 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 within a week, and not 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 show that children of alcoholics are 4-6 times more likely to develop alcohol addiction than 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 at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries were widely conducted in Western Europe and North America and were conducted in different directions:

  • The prevalence and patterns of alcohol consumption among students were investigated.
  • The impact of alcohol on the body of children and adolescents has been studied.
  • The relationship between academic achievement and alcohol consumption has been established.
  • Anti-alcohol education programs were developed and tested.

A significant place among the studies of this period is occupied by works illustrating the prevalence and nature of drinking habits when children are given alcoholic beverages for:

  • "health promotion"
  • "appetite"
  • "enhanced growth"
  • "to ease teething"
  • "warm up"
  • "hunger relief"
  • "calm"

Six stages of alcoholism

Accidental drinking 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 go unnoticed.

Early alcoholism is characterized by memory lapses. Alcoholism of the younger generation is considered by most researchers to be a significant indicator of microsocial environment dysfunction. 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 students, it is customary to consume mostly weak alcoholic beverages - beer, wine, while students in rural schools are more familiar with the tastes of strong alcoholic beverages. In the 1920s and 1920s, a fairly wide use of moonlighting by schoolchildren could be found: 1. 0–32. 0% among boys and 0. 9–12% among girls. The frequency of vodka consumption increases with age.

Almost all socio-hygienic and clinical-social studies of youth alcoholism use the research method in various modifications - from correspondence questionnaires to telephone interviews and clinical interviews.

Major alcoholism– the drinker cannot stop until he reaches the stage of intoxication. 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. Alcohol tolerance decreases.

Chronic alcoholism is characterized by further moral decline, irrational thinking, vague fears, fantasies, and psychopathic behavior. Physical damage increases. The drinker no longer has an alibi and cannot take steps to get out of the situation. A person can reach this stage in 5-25 years.

Treatment is usually provided through special programs for alcoholics. Psychologically, the desire for help is revived in the alcoholic and he begins to think more rationally. Ideally, he also develops hope, moral responsibility, outside interests, self-esteem, and satisfaction from abstinence from alcohol.

End-stage alcoholism occurs if the alcoholic refuses treatment or relapses after treatment. Irreversible mental and physical disabilities usually end in death.

If you write all of this in short, this is what you get:

  • Domestic drunkenness
  • Early alcoholism
  • Major alcoholism
  • Chronic alcoholism
  • Healing
  • The last 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 factors other than 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 older the person, the more the blood is diluted by the alcohol consumed and the more it takes to have the same effect.

The speed and manner of alcohol consumption is 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 affected first - inhibitions, excitement and anxiety disappear, giving way to feelings of contentment and euphoria. As the lower levels of the brain are affected, coordination, vision and speech deteriorate. The small blood vessels in the skin dilate. Heat is emitted and the person becomes hot. This means that the blood has been diverted 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 decreases at the same time. The possible increase in sexual desire is related to the suppression of ordinary inhibitions. As blood alcohol levels rise, physical sexual activity becomes increasingly impaired. Ultimately, the toxic effects of alcohol cause nausea and possibly vomiting.


Hangovers are 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. First, the gastric mucosa is irritated by excess alcohol and the functioning of the stomach is impaired. Second, cell dehydration occurs if the amount of alcohol consumed exceeds the capacity of the liver, which results in alcohol remaining in the blood for a long time. Third, 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 to not drink too much (or better yet, not drink at all). But the probability of a hangover is reduced if alcohol is mixed with a snack (Havka): the intake and absorption of alcohol is prolonged for a longer period of time, and food serves as a barrier. Soft drinks taken at the same time or afterwards 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 blood circulation in the vessels of the brain, which leads to constant oxygen starvation of its cells, which leads to memory loss and slow mental degradation (or simply dullness). Early sclerotic changes in the vessels develop and the risk of cerebral hemorrhage increases. Alcohol destroys the connections between nerve cells of the brain, developing in them a 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 great excitement, mental insanity, restlessness, fever, trembling, rapid and irregular pulse, and hallucinations, which often occurs when drinking large quantities of alcohol after a few days of abstinence.

heart.Alcohol abuse causes elevated blood cholesterol levels, persistent hypertension, and myocardial dystrophy. Cardiovascular failure puts the patient on the edge of the grave. Alcoholic myopathy: muscle degeneration resulting from alcoholism. The reasons for this are the lack of use of the muscles, improper nutrition and the damage to the nervous system by alcohol. 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 the cells and they lose their ability to fully absorb nutrients and mineral components, which ends with the exhaustion of the alcoholic's body.

Diseases associated with improper nutrition and vitamin deficiency, such as scurvy, pellagra, and beriberi, caused by the neglect of food for the sake of drinking. Prolonged inflammation of the stomach and later the intestines with an increased risk of ulcers.

Liver.Considering that 95% of all alcohol that enters the body is neutralized in the liver, it becomes clear that this organ suffers the most from alcohol: an inflammatory process occurs (hepatitis), and then scars (cirrhosis). The liver ceases to perform its function of disinfection of toxic metabolic products, production of 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 is sufficiently advanced, there are almost no symptoms, then the alcoholic begins to complain of general deterioration of health, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and digestive problems. The cause of the disease is the toxic effect 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 disrupts metabolism.

Leather.A drinker 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 appearance of a peptic ulcer.

A characteristic manifestation of alcohol poisoning is repeated vomiting. Even the single consumption of small doses of alcoholic beverages is accompanied by pronounced manifestations of intoxication in adolescents, especially in the nervous system. The most severe poisonings are observed in persons with a complex history, against the background of organic cerebral insufficiency or accompanying 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 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 experience disgust. Over time, with an increase in the "experience" of drinking alcohol, the objective picture changes dramatically, however. More than 90% of the surveyed adolescents with two years or more of "experience" in drinking believe that intoxication is accompanied by a feeling of rushof energy, a sense of contentment, comfort, and elevation of mood, i. e. , of a mental state which ordinary consciousness often attributes to action, begin to appear in their utterances. alcohol.

Diseases or simply PSYCHOSES

Delirium tremens usually appears against the background of a hangover, with a sudden stop of drinking or during a period of abstinence, in cases of 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 expression and especially mood. In a short period of time, you can notice different shades of mood, while during the hangover period, the mood is monotonous, characterized by depression and anxiety. Unusual changes in mood and general vitality intensify in the evening and at night, while during the day these disturbances sharply decrease and may even disappear completely, allowing the patient to fulfill his professional duties. As the symptoms of psychosis increase, complete insomnia appears, against the background of which visual illusions first appear, and then various hallucinations and delusions.

Delirium tremens is characterized by a predominance of true visual hallucinations. They are characterized by multiple 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 with a fantastic appearance. Visions of snakes, devils, as well as deceased relatives, the so-called walking dead, are very characteristic. In some cases, visual illusions and hallucinations are single, in others they are multiple and scenic, i. e. the patient sees complex pictures. Often there are auditory, tactile, olfactory hallucinations, a feeling of a violation of the position of the body in space. The mood of patients is extremely variable. Fear, complacency, bewilderment, surprise and despair are noticeable in him for a short time. Patients usually move continuously, their facial expressions are expressive. Motor reactions correspond to the prevailing hallucinations and affect the moment - with fear and frightening visions, the patient hides, defends himself, gets excited; in periods of complacency - passively.

Patients are characterized by extreme distraction to external events, everything around them attracts their attention. Delirium in alcoholic delirium is fragmentary and reflects hallucinatory disorders. In terms of content, it is most often a delusion of persecution. Patients are usually falsely oriented in place (while in the hospital they say they are at home, in a restaurant, at work), but they are oriented in their own personality. Alcoholic delirium is characterized by periodic temporary disappearance of a significant part of mental disorders, the so-called clear - light - intervals, as well as a naturally pronounced increase in psychotic symptoms in the evening and at night.

Delirium tremens is constantly accompanied by various somatic disorders - trembling, sudden sweating, hyperemia of the skin, especially on the face. The temperature is most often subfebrile. The pulse is increased. Protein in the urine often appears; in the blood - increased content of bilirubin, shift of the leukocyte formula to the left, acceleration of ROE. The course of the disease is usually short-lived. Even without treatment, the symptoms of psychosis disappear within 3-5 days. Less often, the disease lasts 1-1. 5 weeks. Recovery is more often observed in the form of a crisis - after a deep sleep. Sometimes recovery is gradual, getting worse in the evening and at night and getting better during the day. Signs indicating an unfavorable prognosis for delirium tremens are the development of symptoms of professional and delirium delirium, high fever and collapse.

Alcoholic hallucinations develop either during a hangover or in the midst of a binge. The main disorder is profuse auditory hallucinations combined with persecutory delusions. Verbal auditory hallucinations predominate, and the patient usually hears words "spoken" by a large number of people—a "chorus of voices, " as patients often describe it. Most often, the "voices" talk to each other about the patient, less often they are addressed to the patient himself. The content of verbal hallucinations is threats, accusatory discussions about the patient's past actions, cynical abuse, insults. Often the hallucinations have a mocking and irritating character. The voiceseither 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 motorexcited, but soon some retardation appears, or very normal behavior is observed, masking the psychosis. The latter creates a false and dangerous idea of improvement. As a rule, the symptoms of psychosis intensify in the evening and at night. The somatic disturbances characteristic of the hangover syndrome are constantThe duration of alcoholic hallucinosis is from 2-3 days to several weeks, in rare cases the disease lasts up to several months.

Alcoholic depression always occurs against the background of a hangover syndrome. It is characterized by depressed-anxious mood, ideas of self-deprecation, tearfulness, as well as individual ideas about 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 peak of intoxication during a hangover or during alcoholic delirium. As a rule, epileptiform seizures are observed. Mild seizures, twilight stupor, and aura are not observed in alcoholic epilepsy. With the cessation of alcohol abuse, the seizures disappear.

An alcoholic paranoid is an alcoholic psychosis whose main symptom is delusion. It occurs in a state of hangover syndrome and in the midst of drunkenness. The content of delusions is limited to persecution or jealousy (ideas of infidelity). 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. It is characterized by confusion, severe anxiety, often giving way to fear. The patients' actions are impulsive - they jump out of vehicles during traffic, suddenly run away, turn to government authorities for help, sometimes attack imaginary enemies. In some cases, delirium is accompanied by mild verbal illusions and hallucinations and separate delirious symptoms that occur in the evening and at night. The course of this form of paranoia is usually short-term - from a few days to a few weeks. Sometimes the psychosis lasts for months.

Alcoholic encephalopathies- alcoholic psychoses, developing in connection with metabolic disorders and primarily vitamins B and PP. Alcoholic encephalopathy occurs as a result of long-term alcoholism, accompanied by chronic gastritis or enteritis and, as a consequence of the latter, impaired absorption in the intestine. Alcoholic encephalopathies develop mainly in people 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, respiratory 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 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 several months, after which 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 should 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 of 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 a coma. In extremely severe cases, breathing may stop.

However, do not assume that a person who appears intoxicated necessarily has consumed alcohol. Similar symptoms are also 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 with a finger anything that interferes with breathing (pieces of snacks, snacks) from the mouth and pharynx, do not try to induce vomiting. Place the victim in the resuscitation position, free the neck and lower back from tight clothing, and ensure that the airway remains clear.

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 is better not to drink much and often! And if you drink, then drink BEER! ! ! : )