Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant. It slows down parts of the brain, including the part that controls breathing. It can change how people act, feel, and think.

Alcohol affects people differently. Some people find it makes them feel calmer and more relaxed, talk more, less shy, warm, and have less muscle control. Others find it makes them feel down or angry.

Remember, it takes time for the liver to get rid of alcohol from your body.

Binge Drinking

Drinking a lot of alcohol in a short time can affect someone’s health. This is called binge or heavy drinking. Binge drinking means drinking 4 or more drinks (for females) and 5 or more drinks (for males) at a single event or party.

The most common short-term effect of binge drinking is a hangover, which can include feeling tired, sick, vomiting and headache.

Binge drinking can also lead to alcohol poisoning, violent behaviour, unplanned sexual behaviour, and poor decision-making. Vomiting is the body’s response to high levels of alcohol in the body. It is also a sign of alcohol poisoning.

Extreme intoxication

Can lead to an alcohol overdose also known as alcohol poisoning. This is a medical emergency and 9-1-1 needs to be called. If a person with alcohol poisoning does not get immediate medical attention, the person could lose consciousness, go into a coma, or die.

Signs of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Bluish or greyish, cold, clammy skin
  • Vomiting without waking up
  • Not waking up when pinched (meaning the person is unconscious)
  • Slowed breathing
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control

The gag reflex which prevents choking is also slowed so a person can choke on their vomit. If someone is really intoxicated (or "drunk") never leave them alone and assume "they are sleeping it off".

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