Alcohol: biology, anatomy

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To understand why alcohol manages to enslave so many people need to understand — how it behaves in the body and what consequences this may cause. As in the immediate and distant future. Let's start from the beginning.

Ethyl alcohol is rapidly absorbed in the intestine and enters the bloodstream. Because alcohol is absorbed faster than the cleaved and removed from the body, its concentration in the blood rapidly increased. A small amount of alcohol in the blood is excreted unchanged in the urine, sweat and exhaled air. Oxidation of the alcohol occurs mainly in the liver, creates about 740 calories per 100 g of pure alcohol. The degree of inhibition of alcohol functions of the brain is dependent on the concentration of alcohol in the blood. The concentration of alcohol in the blood can be measured or assessed by measurement of its content in the exhaled air. The relevant laws of most states registered a blood alcohol level, which should not be exceeded in the driver's car.

Long-term consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol affects many organs, especially the liver, head brain and heart. Like many other substances, alcohol can induce tolerance (persistence, addictive), so that people who regularly drink more than 2 times a day can consume more alcohol to drunk than sober. It is also possible alcoholics tolerance to other sedative drugs, such as barbiturates or benzodiazepines host usually require higher doses to achieve a therapeutic effect. Tolerance is probably not alter the mechanisms of digestion and elimination of alcohol. Rather, brain and other tissues are adapted to the presence of alcohol in the blood.

If an alcoholic suddenly stops drinking, the likelihood of his withdrawal (abstinence) is very high. Alcohol withdrawal usually begins within 12-48 hours after man ceases to use alcohol. Mild symptoms include tremors, weakness, sweating and nausea. Some people develop seizures (so-called alcoholic epilepsy). If the withdrawal occurs hard, against the background of nepomrachennogo consciousness can develop acute alcoholic hallucination.

In a short period of insomnia or restless sleep patients often hear noise, knocking, a whisper, then the votes of many people who threaten, blame, insult. Actually hallucinations accompanied by fear, confusion and bewilderment. Without treatment, alcohol withdrawal can lead to more serious syndrome — delirium tremens ("delirium tremens"). Delirium usually begins suddenly, often it appears in 2-10 days after cessation of drinking. In the initial stages of developing this condition a person is excited, his pulse speeded generally increased body temperature, there is a growing later (progressive), confusion, insomnia, nightmares, sweating and severe depression. With the further development of delirium tremens appear fleeting hallucinations and delusions that cause patient fear and anxiety, and disorientation with visual hallucinations, which can cause terror. Objects, seeing in dim light, can be particularly devastating. Gradually comes complete disorientation. A man in a state of delirium, sometimes it seems that the floor is moving, falling walls or spinning room. As delirium progresses, developing a continuous tremor (shaking) hands, which sometimes then grabs her head and entire body, and in most cases develop severe loss of coordination. Delirium tremens can be fatal, especially if untreated.

The clinic "Alkomed"

The conclusion of the binge

Blockade of alcohol dependence


Hour call-center

ECG analysis at home

Other violations are directly related to the toxic effect of alcohol on the brain and liver. Injured alcohol liver loses its ability to free the body of toxins that can cause hepatic coma. In this case there is apathy, lethargy, stupor and confusion, it is often unusual, flapping tremor of the hands. Hepatic coma is life-threatening, so treatment should begin immediately.

Often after a severe delirium is an acute Wernicke's encephalopathy. It runs on the background of deep stupefaction and is accompanied by psychiatric (psychomotor agitation, incoherence of thought, stupor, apathetic stupor) and physical (fever, increased bleeding, movement disorders, eye movement disorder) symptoms. Represents a life-threatening condition, death usually comes from swelling of the brain.

After heavy delirium and Wernicke encephalopathy is developing Korsakoff's psychosis, amnesic (Korsakoff's amnesia, paralysis or polinevritichesky alcoholic psychosis). With this psychosis patient loses memory for recent and past events, it appears disorientation, false memories (psevdoreministsentsii and confabulation). Accompanying physical symptoms are disorders of sensation, pain and numbness in the hands and feet.

In pregnant women with alcohol problems, there are serious violations of the fetus, including low birth weight, lack of growth, reducing the size of the head, heart damage, muscle damage and mental retardation.

The main effects of prolonged alcohol abuse

Blood: Low folate can cause anemia and congenital malformations of the fetus, low in niacin — pellagra (skin damage, diarrhea, depression), low iron — zhelezofeditsitnuyu anemia.

Gastrointestinal tract: the esophagus (inflammation (esophagitis), cancer), stomach (inflammation (gastritis), peptic ulcer disease), liver (inflammation (hepatitis), cirrhosis, cancer), pancreas (inflammation (pancreatitis), reducing sugar blood cancer).

Cardiovascular system: the heart (abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), congestive heart failure), blood vessels (high blood pressure, atherosclerosis).

The nervous system: the brain (confusion, reduced coordination, memory loss (recent events), alcoholic psychosis), peripheral nervous system (deterioration of nerve function and toes, control movements, alcoholic polyneuropathy, polyneuritis).

Materials from "Modern Medical Encyclopedia." "Norint", St. Petersburg, 2004

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