What alcohol does to your brain

By Drum Digital
08 December 2010

It’s the time of year for parties and for many that means relaxing with a drink or two. You have one drink and the conversation starts flowing. Another one and you start relaxing, and by the third you’re ready to dance the night away. But by the time you get into bed you can’t see straight any more; and in the morning you will have a headache from hell. that’s what alcohol does to your brain. In fact, a recent study found alcohol’s the most powerful drug people use and has the most extreme consequences.

Here’s a step-by-step look at what alcohol does to your brain.

1. The fun phase Drinking less than half a glass of alcohol an hour is enough to affect the part of your brain that controls your inhibitions, selfcontrol, willpower, judgment and concentration. You’re more likely to act on impulse, your self-confidence gets a lift, you laugh, joke and talk more and are also more daring. All of this explains why alcohol is considered an excellent social “lubricant”. At this stage, your ability to judge a situation accurately is already affected and you have an increased risk of dying (as a result of an accident or fight, for example).

2. The slurring phase When your blood alcohol level is 0,10 g/100 ml (after two to three drinks an hour) your motor skills become impaired and your speech may be slurred, but you don’t notice. Complicated movements such as buttoning your shirt or fastening a necklace will be difficult and your hands may tremble slightly.

3. The blurring phase You’ve had four to five drinks (or two to three doubles) in an hour. You’re seriously intoxicated even if you don’t think so. Your blood alcohol level will be about 0,15 g/100 ml. Your vision’s blurring, it’s becoming difficult to judge movement and distance, and your peripheral vision is poor. If driving at sunset you’ll have trouble seeing pedestrians.

4. The falling over phase When your alcohol level reaches 0,2 g/100 ml (after four to six drinks or three doubles in an hour) your balance will be severely affected and you’ll have trouble standing.

5. The legless phase If you’re not in bed by now you’ll be passed out somewhere. Your blood alcohol level is about 0,25 g/100 ml and you could feel jittery and sick. Your reflexes will be badly impaired. You may lose consciousness.

6. The deadly phase Drink four doubles an hour and your blood alcohol will exceed 0,35 to 0,4 g/100 ml. the alcohol hits your brain hard and affects the area that controls breathing and blood circulation. You could go into a coma and die.

Read the full article in DRUM of 16 December 2010

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