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Alcohol's Effects

   Alcohol can have significant effects on feelings, perceptions, and physiology.  This report isThese pages are  designed to provide an overview of factors that effect intoxication, the effects of alcohol on the brain and body, and a variety of methods you can use to estimate your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).

   Although alcohol may give you a feeling of elation and aroused senses due to a lessening of inhibitions during the early stages of alcohol intoxication, alcohol is a depressant. It depresses the central nervous system—leading to slowed reactions, slurred speech, and ultimately, to unconsciousness. Alcohol progressively affects different brain areas. Alcohol first affects the part of the brain that controls inhibitions. When people lose their inhibitions, they may talk more, get rowdy, and do foolish things. After several drinks, they may feel “high,” but really, their nervous system is slowing down.

   Alcohol acts fast because it is not digested like food. Instead, it moves directly into the bloodstream from the stomach and small intestine. It takes a long time for alcohol’s effects to wear off—as it takes approximately one hour for the liver to process the alcohol in one drink.   Table 1 shows the progressive effects of alcohol in relationship to levels of alcohol in the bloodstream, more commonly known as BAC.

Table 1

 Blood Alcohol
Concentration

 Changes in Feelings
and Personality

 Physical and Mental
Impairments


 0.01 — 0.06

 
Relaxation
Sense of Well-being
Loss of Inhibition
Lowered Alertness
Joyous
 
Thought
Judgment
Coordination
Concentration

 
0.06 — 0.10

 
Blunted Feelings
Disinhibition
Extroversion
Impaired Sexual Pleasure
 
Reflexes Impaired
Reasoning
Depth Perception
Distance Acuity
Peripheral Vision
Glare Recovery
 

 
0.11 — 0.20

 
Over-Expression
Emotional Swings
Angry or Sad
Boisterous
 
Raction Time
Gross Motor Control
Staggering
Slurred Speech
 


 0.21 — 0.29

 
Stupor
Lose Understanding
Impaired Sensations

 
 
Severe Motor Impairment
Loss of Consciousness
Memory Blackout
 


 0.30 — 0.39

 
Severe Depression
Unconsciousness
Death Possible
 
 
Bladder Function
Breathing
Heart Rate
 


 => 0.40

 
Unconsciousness
Death
 
 
Breathing
Heart Rate


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