Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Alcohol : What’s happening to you ?

Alcoholic beverages consumed fast over a short period of time tend to cause a myriad of different acute responses in various parts of the body . After the first drink the first organ affected is the liver . The liver kicks into full swing trying to eliminate all the ethanol which is poisonous to the body .Despite the liver working at full capacity , most people drink more than 1 standard drink per hour on an average night out , this means their BAC or blood alcohol concentration will rise and take effect on their mind and body .

At a low BAC called the euphoria stage, most people feel increased confidence, self esteem and happiness . At this stage the body is starting to feel the effects of alcohol and they would seem to be the life of the party . The alcohol has started to affect the cerebral cortex which controls processing of information and voluntary muscle movements and the limbic system which controls emotions and memory . Other signs are poor decision making and a shortened attention span .

When they have reached the next bracket of intoxication between 0.09 and 0.25 BAC they may start to show more signs of intoxication and these signs will be more pronounced . The person may feel sleepy because alcohol is a depressant , it depresses the function of their central nervous system . The central nervous system is responsible for sending and receiving messages , alcohol blocks some of these messages , therefore you see this as sluggish unresponsive behaviour. When the blood alcohol concentration is this high , the cerebellum is affected. This is evident in the persons lack of ability to walk straight or stay balanced .

Finally the last three stages of intoxication are the most serious and are the most dangerous , at a BAC between 0.18 and 0.30 the person shouldn’t drink anymore alcohol . They will become very aggressive and emotional . These two emotions can cause them to get into unfavourable situations like fights or arguments but by this stage the persons body is relatively free from serious failures internally . If they do decide to drink more and their blood alcohol concentration is above 0.3 they may enter a coma , stop responding to stimuli , vomit or go in and out of consciousness. Anymore alcohol and they will be at a very high risk of death .over 0.5 BAC the medulla which controls breathing and heart beats , has been compromised by alcohol meaning the person will almost certainly stop breathing and their heart will stop .

The morning after a big night of drinking most people feel the after affects of the toxins their body has accumulated over the night . generally the larger the amount of alcohol the larger the Hangover .


What Are the Different Phases of Getting Drunk on Alcohol?


5 comments on “Alcohol : What’s happening to you ?

  1. ginachin93
    May 3, 2016

    Hi! I normally get nervous to read this kind of information but it was actually super interesting. I like you methodical approach, guiding us up the different extremities of alcohol. I like that you link the level of intoxication to the part of the body it affects and how it outwardly appears. It’s very understandable from your explanation as to why the driving BAC limit it below 0.05 which as a value previously didn’t mean much to me.

    I think this topic is very relevant to society and our age group as most of us to indulge maybe a little too much. From reading your blog I went on to find out what also happens the next day. Nausea is supposedly from an inflamed stomach, dehydration is from the copious amounts of fluid you lose when drinking alcohol and one point that I thought was interesting is that some of the hangover symptoms could even be from alcohol withdrawal.


    • bryce1234567
      May 4, 2016

      Thanks for your comment , its appropriate that you bring up Hangovers as my next blog will go into why different alcohols cause different Hangovers and the mechanisms behind why you get them .


  2. shan1126
    May 4, 2016

    Thank you for clarify the different stages of alcohol intoxication. As a person with relatively low tolerance of alcohol, I could recall exactly how my drunk friends looked like before. This also reminded me the only time when I had shots. I had two shots after having a very big meal (thought myself could be “safe and prepared”). Then I stood up, walked two steps, the next thing I knew – nothing!!!! My partner told me later that, I passed out next to the table. So, sometimes the stages of alcohol intoxication could be mixed up. I guess for people like me, just cannot wait for the gradual feeling of drinking alcohol.

    It is really hard to believe that some people could even dare consuming alcohol intravenously. The alcohol goes directly into the blood stream and affect the body and mind straight away. This effect could be fast and lethal.

    The consequences of alcohol intoxication should be given to all age groups. No matter what is the reason of drinking. Saving from regret, people should consider what would happen afterward. They may have an accident end up hurting themselves and others, loss self control and do something stupid, or in the worst scenario lost conscious and live in coma for the rest of their lives.
    The above incident was what I found after reading your blog, the drunk student fell into the cage of a white tiger. Then… could imagine what happened next.

    Your blog was very interesting and factual. It made me think a lot and reminded how “lucky” I am to be a person cannot drink. Thanks again.


  3. eacarter94
    May 8, 2016


    I found this topic super interesting. I think it’s easy to lose perspective on the effects of alcohol when it plays such a major role in social lives. I didn’t realise that different areas of the brain such as the cerebral cortex, cerebellum and medulla were all affected at different times depending on how much alcohol is consumed. It’s scary to think that we could be putting our lives at risk every time we have “one to many”.

    I did a bit more research into the actual chemical Ethanol and why it’s so toxic to our bodies. Ethanol has a high cell permeability, which is why it reaches all the tissues in the body so easily. I didn’t realise how toxic ethanol really is.

    I thought your blog post was really well written, it was clear and concise and I look forward to reading your other posts. Provided a lot of food for thought, I’ll definitely be re-thinking that sneaky extra tequila shot next time I’m out.


  4. aengledo
    May 8, 2016

    You really do wake up feeling like you have ‘poisoned’ your body the day after drinking!

    I watched a really cool video recently called “Your Brain on Drugs: Alcohol” by Asap Science.
    It looked at drinking from a perspective I hadn’t considered before.
    It said that alcohol affects your brain by decreasing the activity of your excitatory neurons (Glutamate) and increasing the activity of your inhibitory neurons (Gaba).

    The dampening of your Glutamate will cause you to feel, perceive, notice and remember less.
    While Gaba will be actively removing excess information and hushing those background thoughts.

    This is why when you’re drunk you think about less but with great clarity.


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This entry was posted on May 3, 2016 by in Uncategorized.

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