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Absorption of alcohol

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Carleton University
BIOL 1010
Amanda Helleman

 Absorption of alcohol is rapid but removal is always slow  The effects of the drug vary with the level of concentration of the drug in the bloodstream, which in turn depends on the amount ingested in a particular period of time, the presence or absence of food in the stomach to retain the alcohol and reduce its absorption rate, the size of a person’s body and the efficiency of the liver  It has biphasic effect which means the initial effect of alcohol is stimulating – the drinker experiences an expansive feeling of sociability and well-being as the blood- alcohol levels rises- but after the blood-alcohol level peaks and begins to decline, alcohol acts as a depressant that may lead to negative emotions  Motor coordination, balance, speech, and vision is also impaired  Large doses can cause sedation, sleep and even death  Alcohol stimulates GABA receptors, which may be responsible for reducing tension, it also increases the level of serotonin and dopamine (pleasurable effects)  Alcohol also inhibits glutamate receptors; which may cause the cognitive effects of alcohol intoxication (slurred speech and memory loss)  People who actually drink alcohol also report increased sexual arousal, even though alcohol actually lowers physiological arousal (which may be caused by cognition) Long-term effects of Prolonged Alcohol Abuse  Almost every tissue and organ of the body is affected adversely by prolonged consumption of alcohol  malnutrition may be severe  In older chronic alcohol abusers, a deficiency of B-complex vitamins can cause amnestic syndrome, a severe loss of memory for both recent and long-past events  Cirrhosis (some liver cells become engorged with fat and protein, impeding their function; some cells die- triggering the inflammatory process) of the liver is caused by prolonged alcohol use with reduced protein  Damage to the endocrine glands and pancreases, heart failure, hypertension, stroke, and capillary haemorrhages, which are responsible for the swelling and redness in the face (nose)  Prolonged use of alcohol appears to destroy brain cells  Reduces effectiveness of the immune system and increases susceptibility to infection and cancer  Women’s risk of breast cancer increases steadily with drinking  Heavy alcohol during pregnancy causes mental retardation (the growth of the fetus is slowed, and cranial ,facial and limb abnormality are produced) -- fetal alcohol syndrome  Some say that light amounts of alcohol may actually have its physiological gains but it’s still a controversy I
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