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Why does alcohol cause drunkenness?

BY: Arkady Leokum

Alcohol is present in our body at all times. After every meal we eat, the carbohydrates, starch and sugar, form alcohol and enter the bloodstream. So there is always about a gramme of alcohol circulating in our body.

But what happens if we take in additional alcohol?

Alcohol is narcotic, which is how we describe a substance which enters the nerve cells quickly and tends to paralyze them.

But before any narcotic paralyzes, it stimulates nerve cells, putting them in a state of excitement.

So alcohol first acts as a stimulant. And in order for alcohol to continue to act as a stimulant rather than as a narcotic, it must be taken into the body in weak solution.

The first thing alcohol does to the system is to stimulate the gastric and salivary glands to produce their juices.

That’s why many European people take aperitifs made of spicy wines to stimulate the appetite.

The body absorbs warm alcohol solutions very quickly, and sugar and carbon dioxide speed up absorption, too. Champagne, for instance, contains both sugar and carbon dioxide, which is why it acts so quickly and produce such a stimulating effect.

How does alcohol affect the brain?- The first effect is a feeling of stimulation. Actions and speech seem to be speeded up. The skin gets redder, blood pressure rises, the heart beat faster, and breathing is quickened.

But alcohol soon exerts a depressing effect on the brain. Our ability to observe, think and pay attention is affected. As the higher functions of the brains are paralyzed, the power to control moods is lost.

Another serious effect is that inhibitions are relaxed. In our body, there are nerve fibres called inhibitory fibres which act as brakes in the nervous system.

They are developed as the result of education and training, and makes us disciplined, restrained people.
Under the influence of alcohol, these inhibitory fibres are paralyzed, our controls are relaxed, our judgement is unclear, and we are ready to say and do things we would never do if our mind were normal.

Alcohol has produced a state of drunkenness!

Source: Culled from the book titled “More, Tell me Why”  by Arkady Leokum