Alcohol acts as a depressant to your central nervous system, which means whenyou drink it your brain cells communicate ata slower rate than normal. The limbic system of your brain, which controls emotions such as anxiety and fear, is also affected.As the function of your limbic system decreases, your inhibitions may disappear and you may become more outgoing and social.The functioning of your prefrontal cortex, a brain region associated with reasoning and judgment, also slows when you drink alcohol, leading to more impulsive behaviorand (combined) sometimes-poor judgment.At lower doses your body can still function under the influence of alcohol, but as the dose increases, so too do its effects. As you drink more, your behavior and judgmentwill become increasingly uninhibited, and your cerebellum, which plays a role in muscle activity, will also be impacted.This is why, as you become more inebriated, you may lose your balance, feel dizzy and definitely shouldn’t attempt to drive.At high doses, the neurons in your brain that control your heart rate and breathing may slow down their communication to the point that your breathing stops completely, leading to death.
Alcohol Leads to Different Effects in Different People
The same alcoholic beverage, whether it be a glass of wine or mixed cocktail, affects each person differently. Your body weight, ratio of muscle and fat, health status and even your genetic makeup will affect how much alcohol enters your bloodstream.Whether or not you’re eating will also affect this, as food in your stomach tends to reduce alcohol absorption. Interestingly, even your mood can affect how you feel when drinking alcohol, as it tends to make abad moodworse.Your mindset also plays a role, with research showing that even drinking “fake” alcohol can make people feel tipsy.
Alcohol is also the most commonly usedaddictivesubstance in the U.S. It’s estimated that 1 in 12 Americans suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence while several million engage in risky binge drinking patterns.