Alcohols are a substance that has a hydroxyl group (-OH) attached to a carbon. Ethanol or C2H6O is the primary alcohol consumed in alcoholic beverages and is a central nervous system depressant is the most highly consumed psychoactive drug worldwide. That being said, what all does this mean?
Function of Central Nervous System
A central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. All nerve functions pass through the spinal cord to the brain. These include autonomic functions like heart pumping and breathing. Autonomic functions are those things that operated without conscious thought and are not easily controlled by the brain, they are autonomous functions. Tactile functions like touch and pain, and of course all sensory input are all handled by the central nervous system.
Alcohol is a Depressant When Abused
Input and response all travel along the same neural pathways. A depressant lowers neurotransmission levels which reduce stimulation or arousal. This depressive condition explains why alcohol impairs thinking and reflexes. Unable to processes incoming data, any response is slowed due to lowered neurotransmission levels. That’s why when under the influence we stagger and have difficulty with maintaining balance. Alcohol usage delays the signals that are used for balance control, cognitive activities or movement. This adversely affects our ability to drive under the influence and leads to so many tragic consequences. Cognitive and memory are adversely affected. Long term usage leads to memory permanent memory loss and nerve damage.
Alcohol & Peptic Ulcer Disease
Alcohol stimulates the production of gastric acids even if no food is present. This increase of acids designed to break-down proteins and can lead to stomach lining failure and therefore the stomach on loss of this mucosal layer essentially begins to digest ‘itself’ leading to ulceration of the stomach. The effects of alcohol exuberates the symptoms of PUD or peptic ulcer disease.
How Does Alcohol Become Addictive?
As ethanol metabolizes acetaldehyde is produced and is a Group 1 carcinogen, while frequent abuse of alcohol is associated with elevated triglycerides. Acetaldehyde is the primary agent that makes alcohol consumption addictive. It activates dopamine which begins a ripple effect production of other brain centered chemicals, leaving one craving alcohol.
Alcoholic Hepatitis Diagnosis
Suddenly stopping alcohol consumption after a prolonged dependence and heavy intake can lead to anxiety, autonomic dysfunction, seizures and hallucinations. Over 0.4% blood alcohol can be fatal, at 0.5% or more is commonly fatal.
Organ failures are common in excessive long term alcohol usage. Alcoholic hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver due to undue alcohol utilization. Any of the below listed symptoms may indicate onset of alcoholic hepatitis:
• Changes in appetite or mental state, including confusion
• Weight loss
• Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
• Dry mouth
• Nausea and vomiting
• Fatigue and tremors
End Stage of Alcoholism; Wet Brain & More
The end stage of alcoholism includes constant pain, malnutrition, poor physical health, confused mental state and the person can experience frequent infections and poor digestion. They may not be able to walk without staggering and experience loss of coordination. Visual and audio hallucinations called ‘wet brain’ or Korsakoff syndrome is a common experience. The alcoholic is not aware of the behavioral changes.
Addiction Recovery for Those Struggling With Alcoholism in Greater San Francisco, CA
The social and emotional trauma associated with alcoholism is as severe as the physical. Watching a loved one die is appalling and the most effective programs help those around the alcohol dependent to cope with and give support to the sufferer. Meehab Addiction Recovery puts users and supporters in touch with a recovery program in their area.