How Does Alcohol Make You Drunk?

Understand the negative consequences of consuming alcohol

Find it Out

If you have ever been in downtown Athens, GA on a Thursday night, you have seen first hand what happens when people drink too much alcohol. While alcohol isn't all bad—it can give you the courage to talk to your crush or the strength to make it through family functions—it also has some SERIOUS effects that any alcohol drinker should understand.

Chances are you know someone who has been seriously effected by alcohol. Too many of my friends and friends of friends have lost their life or become seriously impaired from consuming too much alcohol. It is so important that people understand what this substance they are putting into their body is, and why they should manage the amount they put into their body. Being more informed can help save your life or someone close to you.

Alcohol contains ethanol. When you consume alcohol, you allow this substance into your body. It literally goes all throughout your body- through your digestive system and into your bloodstream. In addition, it enters your brain becoming a central nervous system depressant. While in the brain, It releases a dopamine that links up with nerve receptors to create a feel-good sensation.

Ethanol attaches itself to a a receptor called glutamate that is responsible for exciting the neurons in the body and controlling memory function. When the ethanol attaches itself to glutamate, it suppresses the receptor and in the process, prevents it from becoming active. This causes the brain to respond slower to stimuli, making us feel more sluggish and causing the memory loss people experience when they drink too much. Ethanol also binds to and activates gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). This type of receptor causes a person to feel calm and sleepy, slowing the brain even more. This is what causes people to be more talkative and less stressed when they consume alcohol.

These factors are not the only things affecting the severity of one’s drunkenness. It is also determined by gender, age, weight, and other factors such as how often you drink and even what you had to dinner that night or how much sleep you have received. The more alcohol that you consume, the more your nervous system becomes depressed, which can be extremely dangerous to your body. In the majority of people, a blood-alcohol content of 0.1% causes speech impairment and memory loss. At double this content, unconsciousness is common. Blood-alcohol content of 0.4-0.5% causes brain activity to become so depressed that the nervous system can no longer keep the lungs working or the heart beating. This is life- threatening.

Please consider these extremely serious effects of alcohol on your body and keep that in mind the next time you consume alcohol. Drinking too much not only impacts you, but it can also impact those close to you. Be responsible with your alcohol!

Try it Out

Do NOT take this section literally, and please do not try and see where your limits are by drinking alcohol. In this case, it is NOT better to find out the hard way!

There are some things you can do that can help you see how alcohol really does affect you. Try only drinking water for an extended period of time. Nothing can help you understand how you are impacting your body better than being the best version of yourself and how you can do that. In addition to making you feel hungover the next day (something no one likes), alcohol can have many long term effects that are not immediately noticeable. One man tried this out for one month- only drinking water- and his report on it will want to make you do the same. We do not understand what we are putting into our bodies to the full extent when we drink. Please consider doing this, even for a short period of time. Challenge yourself to look into the substances you are putting into your body.

However, if you do drink too much alcohol and find yourself feeling extremely sick that night or the next morning, here are some tips on how to combat that. It is important to remember, however, that time is really the only thing that can help the alcohol out of your system- so please keep that in mind before operating a vehicle or making any other decisions. Alternating your alcoholic drinks with water can greatly prevent you from taking in the full effects of alcohol. It is important to stick with easy to digest foods, such as toast or cereal the next morning. There is no evidence that eating greasy foods will cure your hangover, even though some people swear by it. There is also no evidence that the old "hair of the dog" trick (or drinking whatever you drank the previous night to cure your hangover) will work. Alcohol is toxic and it will only provide temporary relief, if any. This link gives various other examples of how to cure your hangover, but the best way to do it is to monitor what you consume and how much you consume. Alcohol can have very serious effects on the body, so it is important that we pay attention to it.,,20452426,00.html

Lastly, if you are struggling with alcohol consumption and its negative side-effects, there are MANY ways you can work to fix it. Even if you do not think you have an addiction, but find yourself drinking way too much too often, follow these steps to help you keep control of your body.

  1. Set a drinking goal. Choose a limit for how much you will drink (or how long you need to remain sober) and stick to that limit
  2. Keep a log of your drinking (if applicable)
  3. Avoid bad influences
  4. Learn from the past
  5. Get rid of temptations
  6. Announce your goal
  7. Be open and honest with your family and friends

You know yourself and your limit better than anyone. Take care of your body and make sure you understand that just because you may not see any effects currently, there are long term effects that can come back to harm you later in life.