How Alcohol Affects Your Body As You Consume More

When you go out for drinks with friends, what happens inside you as you begin to consume alcohol?  Some of what you’ll learn here will help explain why so many people drive drunk and why so many DUI arrests occur each year. It’s also why DUI attorneys make a pretty good living.

In this Drunk Drivers Rights guide we discuss the ways that alcohol affects your body as you consume more.

The First Drink

When alcohol hits your stomach, it is absorbed by the small intestine almost immediately. It enters the blood stream and heads for the brain. There, it produces an elevated feeling. Years before being under the influence of drugs was termed being high, the word was associated with drinking. Today, we might call it being buzzed.

The Next Few Drinks

When you have a few more drinks, the alcohol affects your body in different ways as you consume more. Your body will attempt to rid itself of alcohol through urine and through your breath, and that’s why urine and alcohol tests are used to gauge blood alcohol content. It’s also why you feel dehydrated the next day.  After several more drinks, you may begin to feel less buzzed and more drunk.

Early Drunk Stage

Your tolerance to alcohol and factors such as your fitness will determine how many drinks it will take for you to start to feel legitimately drunk. Alcohol begins to work its way through your brain, and as it does, it shuts down some aspects of brain function. Here’s how alcohol affects your body as you consume more at this point.

Alcohol affects the front of the brain first. This is where your higher brain functioning and mental reasoning takes place. When people begin to be drunk, their judgment becomes impaired because the alcohol is affecting the cerebral cortex. The function of this part of the brain has been called the superego. It’s the part of your mental capacity that is supposed to tell you, “maybe you’ve had enough to drink” or “that’s not a good idea.”  However, the alcohol you consume hinders the functioning of the cerebral cortex/superego.  Without this part of the brain functioning, you can begin to make bad decisions.

Late Drunk Stage

As you continue to consume alcohol, it next begins to affect a part of the brain known as the hippocampus. It is responsible for emotion and memory. Is this beginning to make sense?  First, you’ll begin to feel your emotions in an exaggerated way. If you’re happy, you’ll feel really happy. If you’re angry or blue, those feelings will be magnified and things might get ugly. When the hippocampus is fully under the influence, the ability to form memories is hindered. You won’t forget what you did…it’s more like you won’t remember it in the first place or the memories will be sketchy at best.

From Bad to Worse

If you don’t stop drinking, the next brain sections to be affected are the cerebellum and the medulla. The cerebellum controls balance and motor skills. An intoxicated cerebellum deserts you when you are trying to keep your car from weaving. It won’t help you when the officer asks you to walk in a straight heel-to-toe line or extend your arm and then touch the tip of your nose.

The medulla controls breathing and other functions necessary for life. If you don’t stop drinking before it is affected by alcohol, you’re no longer drunk. You’re poisoned, and death is a very real possibility. You won’t be able to get help for yourself. If you’re fortunate, a friend might take you to the ER where they’ll pump your stomach and take other measures to save your life.

This is how alcohol affects your body as you consume more. Having few drinks to relieve stress or socialize with friends is one thing. Poisoning the control centers of your brain is quite another. Don’t you think?

To learn more about DUI attorneysFederal DUI lawsState DUI laws, and terms relating to drunk driving , please visit our helpful articles and guides.