The Science of Alcohol

Do you drink? Did you say Yes! Then, I am sure you would have heard of the side effects of the same. But let me remind you again, in case you have taken them too lightly…

Alcohol, the assumed solution for low confidence, bad days in the office, and social cohesion, has built-up quite the reputation. The social drinkers, indulge drinkers, occasional drinkers, and abstainers, after-all, all share an opinion on this (in)famous drug. But let me not delve into these psycho-social issues and take you on a journey of a different kind. It begins with that infamous phrase, “Fancy a drink?”

Once you pick up the goblet, the journey begins with your alcoholic drink slipping past your lips, down your throat and into your stomach. If you are drinking a carbonated drink, your alcohol will be absorbed faster as the pressure increases inside your stomach, forcing alcohol into your blood stream. This compared to the understanding consumer, who already has a stomach lined with food to decrease absorption. Soon, alcohol is absorbed into your blood stream. The portal vein, connecting your gut to your liver, acts as the super-highway transporting your alcohol, which his now neatly dissolved in your bloodstream.
At the liver, the alcohol is broken down into safe bi-products of acetate, water and carbon dioxide with brutal efficiency. Of course, there are limits. Too much alcohol can fast overwhelm your liver’s capacity to absorb your liquid, and consequently your blood alcohol level rises.

A rising level has a lot of effects – both the short and long term. Now you could argue that the alcohol in your body is relaxing, aiding social interaction, and even promoting cardiovascular disease prevention. Yes, it does that by travelling to your central nervous system where it depresses activity by interfering with signals. As your alcohol alters these, communication between your brain cells becomes increasingly impaired. We’ve all heard the phrase “I just didn’t know what I was thinking!”

But only moderated levels of alcohol promote your said relaxation which consequently improves your blood pressure – an established risk factor for diseases including heart attacks and strokes.

Alas, we are only humans. We don’t just get satisfied with only one drink. With repeated drinking, your alcohol level will go past that happy and euphoric level of 10-30 milligrams per deciliter and you will start slurring your speech, and feeling sick. Ultimately Vomiting is triggered to get rid of your toxic, poisonous level of alcohol now achieved.

Somehow you survive the day. Now fast forward 5 years, 10 years, even 30 years. Chronic, excessive alcohol consumption can affect nearly every single organ in your body – Your liver being the most affected.

Your heart can beat abnormally, your stomach can develop gastric ulcers that can rupture and cause bleeding, your pancreas can fail with diabetes ensuing, and your risk of cancer of the esophagus, tongue, and liver increase. If you have already started feeling sad, let me tell you that I have barely scratched the surface of the damaging chronic effects of alcohol excess.

Agreed, we choose to drink different amounts. But Alcohol is here to stay, ingrained on the fabric of our modern society. Yes, your body is designed to cope with it in moderation but excess leads to significant short and long term health implications. Remember too that your health is not just about physical wellbeing; Total Health comprises your physical, psychological, social, and spiritual health. I will close by saying please drink responsibly. If you are concerned about your drinking then your Doctor can help – you just have to ask.

Source: The Times of India

32 thoughts on “The Science of Alcohol

  1. Very informative post. I believe that poison, murder, theft, rape and such things cannot be done in moderation. Imagine someone says that I did not rape with a bad intention and I had very good feelings. All these are unacceptable. Smoking and drinking are nothing but suicide in installments. Many families have been destroyed due to these addictions but the society has ignored it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Drinking is a choice, and judging a person due to his drinking habits is not good. Rest assured, i agree with all the above people when they say drinking in moderation is the final step. Anything over that is never ever good for your and your close one’s well being.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Addiction of anything is bad whether it’s alcohol or some gestures. Everything has its side effects. Wisdom lies in knowing the point when to detach and move on; as Epictetus said “Freedom is not procured by full enjoyment of what is desired but controlling the desire.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed reading your post and understand that many people don’t realize the long term effects. With such high rates of diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses people should be made aware of the consequences of their choices. I enjoy a drink once a while myself but being around people who drink in excess is draining and effects their life in a multitude of ways. My coworker had a DWI. It’s costing her over $10,000. She had to have a breathalizer installed in her vehicle, attends a couple of counseling sessions each week, is only allowed to drive three personal hours per week, they track her on the GPS. Health wise she is only in her 30s and is sick on a regular basis. I ask her – is drinking worth all of this. Ill health, financial ruin, and possibly loss of her employment due to all of the appointments and restrictions. She is not deterred and feels she can still consumes alcohol. It wasn’t her fault she says. She was driving in an area she wasn’t familiar with otherwise she would never have been stopped. That is a scary thought. I pray that through the forced alcohol counseling a light may turn on for her and she will find a better way.
    Thank you for sharing this information – you may just help someone who is on the edge and thinking about getting help.
    Love and Light!


    1. This is so useful information for me also, Sandy.

      I agree with counseling and restrictions one can be controlled a bit, but finally it is on oneself to think about the ill effects and control.

      Hope your coworker improves soon.
      Thanks a lot for stopping by and welcome here!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All we can do is support and guide. It is up to others whether they are ready. We all have an area we are working on. Some of us are more aware than others. I witnessed someone who spent years – over 30 – fighting the lure of the bottle. There were good days, then good months and soon possibly a good year. It was when he was ready that the change occurred. After diabetes, heart attack, high blood pressure, poor circulation and other bodily ailments he decided enough was enough. He chose life. His blood work has improved. He is taking less medication and lost around forty pounds. Once again he is able to hike, ski and enjoy life. This is the first time since his twenties. It is like a rebirth. With support and understanding I pray that my coworker will chose life too. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Aha, what an article Alok. This should be read by every girl who caught his boyfriend red-handed with a glass of wine, thinking that it is bad. Going by the same old myth. Very useful article this is to save relationship 😀 And excellently explained as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for post..Correct! Actually Everything in excess is bad for health so even Alcohol, people must limit their intakes to a certain limit. I am too a wine lover but I know my limits being a health care coach at the same time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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