Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, meaning that it slows down the user’s vital functions often resulting in disturbed perceptions, unsteady movement, slurred speech and an inability to react quickly. The manner that it affects the users mind is best understood as a substance that lowers a person’s ability to think rationally and distorts his or her judgment and decision making skills. Many millions of people struggle with alcohol abuse in our country.
Even though alcohol is classified as a depressant, the amount of alcohol consumed determines the type of effect that it has on the individual. The majority of people drink for the stimulant effects of alcohol, such as a beer or glass of wine consumed to “loosen up.” But if a person consumes more than the body can handle, this is often classified as alcohol abuse and users will experience alcohol’s powerful depressant effect. They start to feel “drunk” and lose coordination and control. Alcohol overdose also known as “alcohol poisoning” causes even more severe depressant effects (inability to feel pain, toxicity where a person attempts to vomit the poison, and finally unconsciousness or, worse, coma or death from severe toxic overdose). These reactions are solely dependent upon how much alcohol is consumed and how quickly the individual’s body is able to process the alcohol.
How Alcohol Effects Those That Abuse It
When an individual drinks alcohol, the alcohol is absorbed through the lining of the stomach, enters the bloodstream, and is dispersed to all the tissues in the user’s body. The majority of effects caused by alcohol are dependent on a variety of factors, including a person’s size, age, weight, and sex as well as the amount of food and alcohol consumed. The “social effect” caused by alcohol is one of the leading reasons it is used in so many social environments.
Additional effects of moderate alcohol intake include dizziness and increased conversation; the immediate effects of a larger amount of alcohol include disturbed sleep, nausea slurred speech, and vomiting. Even in very low doses, alcohol can significantly impair the user’s coordination and judgment required to drive a car safely. Very low to moderate doses of alcohol can also increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including slurred speech and domestic violence situations. Hangovers are another negative effect that comes along with large amounts of alcohol that are consumed; a hangover often consists of dehydration, headache, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue.
The heavy, extended use and abuse of alcohol has been shown to lead to alcoholism, which is a serious form of addiction. When an individual suddenly stops drinking after long term use, extensive alcohol consumption is likely to produce painful withdrawal symptoms, including, tremors, severe anxiety, hallucinations and convulsions. Long-term effects of consuming large quantities of alcohol, most often combined with poor nutrition, often can lead to permanent and irreversible damage to the user’s vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, and brain. Many studies have also shown that mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants that suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants can possibly suffer from irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation.
Alcohol Abuse Statistics
The most recent studies have shown that:
• Approximately 51.9% of Americans age 12 and older had used alcohol at least once in the 30 days, 23.7% had binged on alcohol; and 6.8% had drank heavily
• In the 12-17 age range, 14.7% had consumed at least one drink in the 30 days, 8.8% had binged; and 2.1% drank heavily
• The NIDA-funded 2010 Monitoring the Future Study showed that 13.8% of 8th graders, 28.9% of 10th graders, and 41.2% of 12th graders had consumed at least one drink in the last 30 days, and 5.0% of 8th graders, 14.7% of 10th graders, and 26.8% of 12th graders had been intoxicated on alcohol
Generally a standard drink equals:
• 0.6 ounces of pure ethanol
• 12 ounces of beer
• 8 ounces of malt liquor
• 5 ounces of wine
• 1.5 ounces “shot” of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (vodka, rum, or whiskey)
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences has estimated that alcohol abuse and alcoholism in the U.S. cost society an average of about 40 to 60 billion dollars each year due to medical care and health cost, motor vehicle accidents, lost production, social programs that respond to alcohol problems, as well as the majority of violent crimes that are committed.
It is reported that nearly 18 million people have struggled with alcohol abuse. Many of them suffer the negative consequences of this problem without the ability to get help.
However with treatment alcohol recovery is possible. Contact Narconon today at 800-468-6933 for more information.
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National Survey on Drug Use and Health (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration Web Site).
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