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Alcoholism is a wide-ranging and complex disease that heavily plagues society. Drinking is defined as the consumption of a liquid, and/or the act of drinking alcoholic beverages especially to excess. Every year alcohol is responsible for 1/2 of all murders, accidental deaths, and suicides; 1/3 of all drowning, boating, and aviation deaths; 1/2 of all crimes; and almost 1/2 of all fatal automobile accidents (Overview 1). Alcohol is a potent nonprescription drug sold to anyone over the national legal drinking age, 21. Unlike carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which can be manufactured by the body, alcohol is a substance that is not made within the body. It is a food, because it supplies a concentrated number of calories, but is not nourishing and does not supply a significant amount of needed nutrients, vitamins, or minerals. These are empty calories that result in an unattractive “beer belly.” Most foods are prepared for digestion by the stomach so that their nutrients can be absorbed by the large intestine. However, 95% of alcohol is absorbed directly through the stomach walls or the walls of the duodenum (part of the small intestine nearest the stomach)and small intestine (Overview 2). Various factors effect the speed of alcohol’s absorption into the body. – Watery drinks such as beer is absorbed more slowly. – Foods (especially fatty foods) delay absorption – Carbonated beverages speed up the emptying of the stomach into the small intestine where alcohol is absorbed more quickly. – The drinker’s physical and emotional state (fatigue, stress), and individual body chemistry affect absorption. – Gender: Women have less dehydrogenates (a chemical that breaks down alcohol in the stomach, so more alcohol is absorbed in the bloodstream. Within moments of ingestion, alcohol moves from the blood stream into every part of the body that contains water, including major organs like the brain, lungs, kidneys, and heart. Alcohol stimulates and agitates, depresses and sedates, produces calmness and tranquility, and begins a hypnotic state of drowsiness and sleep. Alcohol impairs your judgement, and strongly affects motor skills, muscle function, reaction time, eyesight, depth perception, and night vision. As a drinker continues to drink, alcohol depresses lung and heart function, slowing breathing and circulation. Death can occur if alcohol completely paralyzes breathing. However, this state is seldom reached because the body rejects alcohol by vomiting. Acute alcohol overdose leading to death occurs in colleges where individuals are encouraged to drink large amounts of alcohol rapidly. Relatively speaking, the twelve million U.S. College students drink over 430 million gallons of alcohol a year- that is 3,500 Olympic sized swimming pools filled with alcohol. Binge drinking is the number one public health hazard for more than six million college students in America (MADD 2). Only five percent of alcohol is eliminated from the body through the breath, urine, or sweat; the rest is broken down in the liver. In the Liver: -Alcohol is broken down in steps by enzymes until only carbon dioxide remain as by-products. -Alcohol is processed at the rate of three tenths of an ounce of pure ethanol per hour (less than one ounce of whiskey) and unprocessed alcohol circulates in the body. (The alcohol from two cocktails, each about 1.5 ounces, drank before dinner is still present in the body three to four hours later) (Overview 2). The liver’s fixed rate of alcohol breakdown means that drinking coffee or taking a cold shower does not speed the sobering process. Therefore, giving coffee to a person who is drunk may make a wide-awake drunk, who thinks he/she is sober enough to drive a car. Occasional users of alcohol, who are healthy, do not appear to suffer negative affects from use of alcohol. In moderate doses, alcohol has beneficial effects: relaxation, appetite stimulation. However, consumed in large amounts, alcohol is a toxin. The short-term result of the toxin is a hangover. A hangover has a combination of physical symptoms: -Headache: Blood vessels in the head, dilated by alcohol, painfully stretch as they return to their normal state. -Upset stomach: Alcohol irritates gastric lining. -Dehydration: Alcohol stimulates the kidneys to process and pass more water than is ingested. A hangover is a withdrawal state. The best hangover cure is aspirin, liquids, sleep, and time. Bland foods, especially liquids, may also help. The best prevention for hangover is moderation or abstinence from alcohol at all. The long-term results may develop into alcoholism and alcohol-related diseases. Alcohol has a direct toxic as well as sedative affects on the body, and failure to take care of nutritional and other physical needs during prolonged periods of excessive drinking may further complicate matters. Advanced cases often require hospitalization. The physical effects of alcohol abuse are wide ranging and complex. They include a wide

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Year Alcohol And Speed Of Alcohol. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from