• Deanne Pandey

What happens when you drink Alcohol?

We have often heard that Alcohol has quite the effect on people. But what exactly takes place in your body once you consume alcohol. Alcohol’s impact on your body starts from the moment you take your first sip. While an occasional glass of wine with dinner isn’t a cause for concern, the cumulative effects of drinking wine, beer, or spirits can take its toll. Alcohol affects your brain first, then your kidneys, lungs and liver. The effect on your body depends on your age, gender, weight and the type of alcohol. A glass a day may do little damage to your overall health. But if the habit grows or if you find yourself having a hard time stopping after just one glass, the cumulative effects can add up.

So how exactly do the effects of alcohol take form in our body?

If your weight is low, you feel the effects of alcohol more quickly because you have less tissue to absorb alcohol. Your body changes as you reach old age. You have increased body fat and decreased body water. This affects how your body processes alcohol. If you still drink the same amount of alcohol you drank in adulthood, you feel the effects more severely. Older people who drink too much alcohol are at greater risk of physical and mental health problems. Alcohol affects women more quickly than men. Women are usually smaller and weigh less than men, and have less tissue to absorb alcohol. A woman’s body has more fat and less water than a man’s body. If a man and woman are the same size and drink the same amount, the alcohol is stronger in the woman's blood than in the man’s. The woman will get drunk more quickly and feel the effects for longer. Alcohol also stays in women’s blood for longer. They have lower levels of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol.

Further, you absorb 20 per cent of alcohol into your bloodstream through your stomach and the rest into your bloodstream through your small intestine. Drinking a small amount of alcohol stimulates your appetite because it increases the flow of stomach juices. A large amount of alcohol dulls your appetite and can cause malnutrition. You can develop a stomach ulcer by drinking too much alcohol. This can happen when the stimulated gastric juices mix with the high alcohol content and irritate your stomach lining. Alcohol dulls the parts of your brain that control how your body works. This affects your actions and your ability to make decisions and stay in control. Alcohol influences your mood and can also make you feel down or aggressive.

Lastly, there is a strong link between consumption of alcohol and disruptive sleep. Alcohol consumption at almost any level can cause sleep disturbance and induce sleep disorders. Drinking alcohol can disrupt the structure and duration of sleep states, alter total sleep time, and affect the time required to fall asleep. Many people suffering from insomnia will take a drink before bedtime to help them fall asleep. After an initial stimulating effect, alcohol's sedating effects can reduce the time required to fall asleep. But alcohol's effects do not end there. Alcohol consumed within an hour of bedtime will disrupt sleep in the second half of the sleep period, causing the person to sleep fitfully, awakening from dreams and not being able to get back to sleep easily.

So, choose your drink wisely and avoid these effects of alcohol. It is perceived to be a sleep enhancer, but it really is not. Till then, Take care and steer away from alcohol.

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