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Be sociable, be safe, be sensible
Alcohol Awareness week in association with BBC Radio Nottingham ( 95.5 and 103.8FM): "The Breakfast Show" with Karl Cooper, The Mid Morning Show" with Jeff Owen, and "The Afternoon Show" with Brian Tansley.

June 2002
Alcohol Awareness - The effect on the body
alcohol affects your brain

Alcohol affects your brain

It is impossible to ‘speed up’ elimination of alcohol from your body.

Neither a shower nor a cup of coffee will speed it up, only time will do the job.

The body can break down around 6 - 10 grams of alcohol an hour.

It will take an average person five to eight hours to rid the body of the alcohol in half a bottle of wine or one and a half pints of beer.

During this time the alcohol has pronounced affects on the organs of the body, most obviously the brain.
Your body clock
At 10.10pm: After 10 minutes 50% of the alcohol consumed will have been absorbed into the bloodstream.
By 11.00pm: After one hour all the alcohol would have been absorbed. Absorption is accelerated still further when drinking on an empty stomach. Long drinks made with mixers will have a faster effect as they enter the bloodstream much faster.
By 12.00am: At midnight after an evening drinking there may be 200mgs /100ml of alcohol in the blood.
By 7:30am: On waking up there is still 90mg /100ml. You are still over The legal limit and unfit to drive.
By 12.00pm: By lunchtime, elimination has continued to around 20mg/100ml and under the current legal limit. But
your driving may still be affected and you could be
guilty of an offence.

Effects on the brain:
Not many people realise that alcohol has a depressant effect upon the brain.

Parts of the brain that normally restrain our behaviour and which stop us being silly and behaving in an antisocial and embarrassing way are affected.

Later other aspects of brain function are suppressed. We become less well co-ordinated with a tendency to fall over, our speech becomes slurred and incoherent, we become drowsy and go to sleep.

With very high levels of alcohol in the bloodstream, the breathing centre can become inhibited.

Taken over a longer period of time, alcohol can have a longer-term effect upon the brain causing depression and dementia.

Women who are thinking of becoming pregnant or who are already pregnant are best advised to avoid alcohol completely so as to avoid any possible effect upon the developing baby.

Effects on the body:
Alcohol is a depressant drug. Some people take alcohol to because they feel anxious or depressed and wish to be relieved of such negative feelings. This relief is short term unfortunately, and alcohol is also addictive.

Alcohol has an effect on many cells in the body, most importantly in the liver. The liver first enlarges as it becomes fatty, then it will shrink.

People with alcohol problems often neglect their diet and associated vitamin deficiencies can occur. Veins around the throat and in the anus dilate in an attempt to shunt blood around the liver. At times these can bleed, leading to life threatening emergencies.


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External links:

Institute of Alcohol Studies

NHS Direct

Alcohol Problems Advisory Service

The Priory Healthcare


Booze: Documentary presented by Jeremy Bowen

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