Alcohol is a recreational drug consumed by man. It causes a lot of ill-effects on the body and the effects vary from person to person. Alcohol consumption causes various physical and chemical changes to the body depending on the amount consumed.
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Pure alcohol is nothing but ethanol (ethyl alcohol) with the chemical formula C2H5OH. The alcoholic beverages contain different ethanol concentration in different types of drinks. Ethanol dissolves easily in water and is flammable too.
When alcohol is consumed, around 20% gets absorbed in the stomach while remaining 80% is absorbed in the small intestine. After absorption, it enters the blood stream. Here it dissolves in the water present in the blood. As alcohol cannot dissolve fats, it enters all other tissues except fat tissue. It is this alcohol concentration in the blood known as BAC (blood alcohol concentration) which makes man behave in an erratic manner. Alcohol irritates the lining of stomach and intestine which causes vomiting.
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There are chemicals in our body called Neurotransmitters that are released at the end of the nerve fiber. They actually help transmit signals from one nerve cell to another. These neurotransmitters are of two kinds – inhibitory and excitatory. Excitatory neurotransmitters help stimulating and inhibitory ones help calming the brain. Alcohol disturbs the functioning of the nerve cells by suppressing or increasing the activities of excitatory and inhibitory messengers. This is the reason why a man loses control when drunk.
Alcohol cannot get removed from the body as fast as how it gets absorbed. The kidney, liver and lungs try to eliminate alcohol from the body but in meager amounts. Kidney and lungs removes 5% of the alcohol consumed in urine and exhaled air respectively. The liver oxidizes ethanol into acetaldehyde and then into acetic acid which forms fatty acids or broken down into carbon and hydrogen.
Alcohol can also be referred to as spirits. Spirit is denatured ethanol that is made suitable for household use. Denaturing refers to making it unfit for consumption by adding chemicals to it. It is used as a solvent for cleaning surfaces, windows and as ink stain/paint remover.
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