Short And Long Term Effects Of Alcohol On The Body – To close this section on stimulants and depression, we’ll spend the rest of this chapter looking at alcohol. Alcohol is a CNS depressant, although it also has many pharmacological actions. Because of the popularity and widespread use of alcohol at the college level, this chapter will go into greater detail than usual, exploring its unique characteristics and covering the breadth of alcohol research. Stay focused and don’t forget to take breaks when you need them.
Alcohol (or more specifically, ethanol) is a drug with a long history and is widely used around the world. Before exploring the pharmacology of alcohol, let’s begin by learning more about its use, distribution, legislation, chemical composition, and measurement.
Short And Long Term Effects Of Alcohol On The Body
It is estimated that humans have been drinking alcohol for about 9000 years. Wine and beer existed in ancient Egyptian and Sumerian civilizations, with records dating back to 3200 B.C. The ancient Greeks around 800 B.C. Alcohol was used in religious ceremonies, and in 476 A.D. Roman culture included drinking that lasted until the fall of Rome. Distilled liquor first appeared around 1250 A.D., followed eventually by brandy, gin, and rum.
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Alcohol is made by fermenting sugars from various sources such as grapes (wine), grains (beer), honey (mead) and sugar cane (rum). Production methods spread throughout the world and contributed to its popularity. Alcoholic drinks were seen as more nutritious than water. Its consumption was tied to social interaction, religious ceremonies and celebrations, which increased its cultural significance.
Resistance to alcohol use is present until a documented history of alcoholism. In the United States, Dr. Benjamin Rush was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and recognized as the “Father of American Psychiatry” by the American Psychiatric Association. He recognized alcoholism as a disease and was an early temperance leader. In the 1800s the movement to prohibit alcohol began to pick up steam. After the Civil War, traction for the movement grew, largely fueled by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. The National Prohibition Act, also known as the Volstead Act, was passed in 1920 and added to the Constitution as the 18th Amendment. It prohibited the sale and distribution but prohibited the consumption of alcohol throughout the United States.
During the Prohibition era, drinking was driven to speak of the underground. At the same time, the widespread smuggling of alcohol, known as bootlegging, fueled the rise of organized crime. Support for Prohibition gradually waned, and 13 years later, it was repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933. Although this marked the end of national prohibition, some counties and cities remained “dry” and continue to prohibit the sale of alcohol to this day. Individual states were assigned responsibility for regulating alcohol and setting their own drinking ages. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act, passed in 1984, ensured that sales to anyone under the age of 21 were prohibited. Any state that did not comply with this law lost 10% of its federal highway funding. This was reinforced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Act of 1995, which required states to adopt a “zero-tolerance law” to prohibit driving under the age of 21.
Alcohol is one of the most commonly used drugs. According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than half of Americans age 12 or older reported drinking in the past month. This widespread use of alcohol contributes to risky behaviors. Binge drinking involves consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time (usually 4-5 drinks in about 2 hours) and carries a higher risk than normal drinking. About 23% of those 18 years and older reported binge drinking in the past month (SAMHSA, 2021).
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Driving while intoxicated (DWI), also known as driving under the influence (DUI), is another common consequence of alcohol consumption. In 2019, vehicle collisions caused by drunk driving accounted for 29% of all driving deaths in the United States in 2019. Like smoking, drinking alcohol poses significant health risks to the user. Alcohol is the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States, after smoking and poor diet (Moqdad et al., 2004).
Underage drinking is also common. According to the 2020 NSDUH, nearly 40% of 12-20 year olds reported drinking alcohol. Although young people drink less than adults, they also engage in risky behaviors. More than 90% of all alcohol consumption by young people involves binge drinking. Statistics show that at least 60% of undergraduates admit to drinking alcohol in the past month.
Defines 11 criteria for diagnosis, with severity of AUD (mild, moderate, or severe) depending on the number of criteria met. Approximately 15 million people have AUD, with AUD being more common among men (9.0 million) than women (5.5 million) (SAMHSA, 2021).
The scientific name of the drug is ethyl alcohol or ethanol. The ethanol molecule consists of an ethyl group (CH3−CH2−) attached to a hydroxyl (OH) group, as you can see in the images below. Because of this, the molecule is often abbreviated as EtOH.
Alcoholism Some Possible Longterm Effects Alcohol Stock Illustration 217067485
Although the terms alcohol and ethanol are often used interchangeably in this chapter, we prefer the term ethanol when talking about the drug. In chemistry, alcohol refers to a variety of compounds with molecular structures similar to ethanol. You don’t usually see this meaning of the word used in the context of medicine—ethanol is the only alcohol widely consumed by humans, so the term alcohol is used regularly in the scientific literature—but it’s worth being aware of the difference. Other alcohols include isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and methanol (wood alcohol), but these cannot be consumed safely.
Ethanol is an organic compound with various uses. It is used as a disinfectant such as hand sanitizer or medical wipes. It is a universal solvent and has many uses in the preparation of other compounds. Ethanol is a suitable fuel source and is used in alternative fuels. It is, of course, a key ingredient in alcoholic beverages.
There are several ways to measure the amount of ethanol in alcohol. A simpler approach is to describe the percentage of ethanol content. It is used as a standard measurement of alcohol by volume, abbreviated as ABV. You may also see alcohol proof used instead of ABV. A drink’s proof is defined as a percentage twice the ABV and, therefore, ranges from 0-200.
95% ethanol solution. Both of these concentrations are widely used in research, medicine and industry. Alcoholic beverages typically contain 40% ABV, with distilled spirits having concentrations of 1-20%. Refer to the table below to see the typical percentage ABV for various alcoholic beverages:
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A common shorthand for determining alcohol consumption is a standard drink or alcohol equivalent. A standard drink contains about 0.6 fluid ounces or about 14 grams of pure ethanol. This amount of alcohol is contained in a 12-ounce can of beer (about 5% ethanol), a 5-ounce glass of wine (about 12% ethanol), or a 1.5-ounce bottle of distilled spirits (over 40%). ethanol). Three standard drinks of any of these alcohols is usually over the legal limit for driving, although there is individual variation, and even one drink can cause significant impairment in some people.
The pharmacokinetics of ethanol begin with its absorption and distribution. These topics are important not only for neurology and health professional students. Understanding how alcohol is absorbed is essential to responsible drinking. Laws written to punish drunk drivers refer to the concentration of ethanol in the blood.
Ethanol is highly soluble in both water and lipids and is readily absorbed into tissues. Ethanol is usually consumed orally through alcoholic beverages. These can also be administered rectally, although this practice is unusual and not advised. Alcohol enemas result in faster absorption and higher blood concentrations because it passes through the stomach. Another procedure called vodka eyeballing involves introducing vodka into the eye sockets. Contrary to popular belief, blind vodka does not induce rapid intoxication and runs the risk of corneal abrasions and scarring.
When taken orally, only 20-25% is absorbed in the stomach, 75-80% is absorbed through the small intestine. Oral bioavailability of ethanol is poor for two reasons. First, alcohol-metabolizing enzymes are found in the stomach wall. Second, any ethanol absorbed from the digestive tract enters the hepatic portal vein, which goes directly to the liver. This will be explained further in the section on the metabolism of ethanol.
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The presence of food in the stomach delays its passage from the stomach to the small intestine. As a result, stomach enzymes take longer to oxidize ethanol before it enters the small intestine. As a result, food lowers the peak blood concentration. This is why it is advised to eat with food. See the graph below to see the effect of food on ethanol absorption:
On an empty stomach, 50% ethanol is absorbed into the blood maximally in 15 minutes