Alcohol, formally called “ethanol”, is an intoxicating beverage substance that is as much a drug as any other. Alcohol is a depressant that in varying doses can act as a social lubricant in lower doses, and put the user in a dangerous stupor in higher doses; rendering them a danger to themselves and others around them.
The main areas of the brain that alcohol impacts upon consumption are the cerebellum, a region of the brain that principally is tasked with coordinating the body’s gross motor function. The other main region of the brain that alcohol is known for impacting is the hippocamus region of the brain. The hippocampus mainly handles memory retention and retrieval (among other things) and alcohol consumption in large quantities impedes its ability to function. This can result in memory issues and the loss of the ability to judge one’s place in relation to objects and people in one’s immediate environment. This, naturally, results in spatial impairment. Alcohol can also significantly impair the frontal lobe and thereby impair the executive functioning of the user. This region of the brain can impact one’s ability to plan ahead and to use sound judgement.
There are a number of variables that will determine one’s susceptibility to alcohol addiction, and just how this substance will impact the user upon ingestion and the resultant absorption of the alcohol into the bloodstream via the small intestine.
Some of the contributing factors to how alcohol will affect a given individual:
- Weight of the individual
- Metabolism of the individual
- Content of the stomach (empty / full)
- The individual’s sex
- The individual’s previous pattern of alcohol consumption
When a user drinks frequently and in a large enough quantity, they will begin to develop alcohol tolerance in response. Simply put, alcohol tolerance denotes the phenomenon by which an individual requires greater and greater amounts of alcohol to realize the same level of inebriation the more they consume.