How well do you know the effects of alcohol?
I imagine the answer most of you will give to the above question is "pretty well" or "more than I would like to" but do you understand the physical response your body is going through? Or how to identify if someone is abusing alcohol?
Drinking alcohol can affect almost every area of your body and it is a well-known fact that the effect of alcohol differs from person to person depending on their sex, age, size, whether they’ve eaten and the period of time it’s consumed over. All these variances make it hard to identify if a person is abusing alcohol or drinking responsibly. If you were given a list of the responses your body goes through after consuming alcohol, do you think you’d be able to accurately put them in order?
So, how does alcohol affect the body?
After drinking 1 unit of alcohol, 50% of the alcohol will have been absorbed into the bloodstream within 10 minutes.
After your first drink, you might feel happy, relaxed and less inhibited. You may be mildly euphoric, you may talk more, but another drink or two and... your attention span shortens, your concentration is reduced. Your reasoning and judgement will be affected, although you probably won’t realise it.
A couple more drinks and... your muscle coordination will be affected. You may say or do things you would normally never say or do. After a few more drinks you’ll start to slur your words, but you may not notice. Your reactions will be slower. You may not be able to walk in a straight line. You may feel confused or emotional. You may start to feel depressed or angry.
You may even vomit. Vomiting is part of the body’s defence mechanism – it’s trying to get rid of a poison. After a few more drinks your heart rate will reduce. You may lose bladder control, and finally... you may pass out. You are now at risk of alcohol poisoning.
Spotting alcohol abuse in another person
There are many signs of alcoholism and some are more discrete than others, but the main signs of alcoholism include:
- Appearing intoxicated more frequently
- A lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
- Needing to drink more in order to achieve the same effects
- Becoming secretive or dishonest
- Falling into depression or other mental health problems
- An inability to just say no to alcohol
- Appearing tired or irritable
If you're worried about someone and think they could be an alcoholic, you can chat with a Drinkaware advisor for free at any time, you don't even need to pick up the phone.
If you're worried about yourself and think you may have a drinking problem, you can use Drinkaware's self-assessment tool to see how you compare against the rest of the UK when it comes to drinking alcohol.
Every year thousands of lives are ruined by alcohol and drug abuse. Private life suffers, health suffers, jobs suffer. Our Drug & Alcohol Awareness course has been written to raise general awareness so that it doesn’t become a problem at work. It has been written for anyone to use, whether you are an employer, manager or employee. It’s for your information – it will help you recognise a problem, either in someone who works for you, in yourself, or in a colleague. If you're interested in our course but not sure if it's for you or your organisation, you can try it for free at any time!