HOW CAN ALCOHOL HARM YOU?
Alcohol can cause cancer: thee strongest link between alcohol and cancer involves cancers of the upper digestive tract, including the esophagus, the mouth, the pharynx, and the larynx.
Alcohol affects the brain: . Drinking can be such a familiar part of our lives that it is hard to realize that alcohol is a drug--every bit as active in the body as prescription drugs that are taken in carefully regulated dosages.
Alcohol's biggest effects are in the central nervous system, the brain, although the whole body is affected. The familiar signs of drunkenness, such as slurred speech and unsteady walking, are not due to the direct action of alcohol on the tongue or legs, but by its effects on the parts of the brain which control your activities.
The speed with which alcohol brings drunkenness, and drunken behavior, depends upon the rate of its absorption. Unlike food, alcohol does not have to be slowly digested. It is immediately absorbed into the blood, passing directly through the walls of the stomach and small intestine. The blood rapidly carries it to the brain. Even the first few sips of an alcoholic beverage may cause changes in mood and behavior.
As you drink faster than the alcohol can be burned, the drug accumulates in your body, resulting in higher and higher loads of alcohol in the blood.
The larger you are, the greater the amount required to attain a given concentration of alcohol. In a 150-pound man, alcohol is burned at about the rate of one drink per hour. So if you drink 8 drinks, it will take 8 hours for it to leave your system.
Heavy drinking over many years may result in serious mental disorders or permanent, irreversible damage to the brain. Even low doses of alcohol reduce sensitivity to taste and odors.
ALCOHOL AFFECTS BEHAVIOR
- As more alcohol enters the blood, the depressant action of alcohol involves more functions of the brain.
- At a level of 0.10 percent, hand and arm movements, walking, and sometimes speech get messed up.
- At 0.20 percent, the controls by the entire motor area of the brain are measurably impaired; that part of the brain which guides emotional behavior is also affected. The person staggers or he may want to lie down; he may be easily angered, or boisterous, or weep. He is "drunk."
- At 0.30 percent, the deeper areas of the brain are dulled. At this level, you may be confused, or you may lapse into stupor. You will have a very poor understanding of what you hear or see.
- With 0.40 or 0.50 percent alcohol in the blood, you are blacked out – you are in a coma.
- Still higher levels of alcohol in the blood block the centers of the lower brain which control breathing and heart beat, and death comes.
- In most states, if you have a blood-alcohol level of 0.05 percent or less, you are sober.
- A person with a level of 0.10 percent or 0.08 percent is legally intoxicated in many states.
- In Michigan, DUI laws allow for you to be arrested for if you are under the influence of alcohol to the point of being impaired. The state’s Blood Alcohol Concentration level is .08%
- Michigan also has a "zero tolerance" law in which any trace of alcohol in the body of an individual under 21 will result in charges.
- Michigan's OWVI law (Operating While Visibly Impaired) allows police to arrest and charge you with DUI even without the results from a chemical test. Under this portion of the law, alcohol or drugs leads you to behave as if you are drunk, such as erratic driving or having the appearance of being under the influence.
ALCOHOL DISTORTS YOUR VISION
- At high doses of alcohol, there is a decrease in your ability to tell the difference between lights of different intensities, and there is a narrowing of the visual field.
- Tunnel vision is particularly dangerous in automobile driving.
- Resistance to glare is impaired so that the eye requires longer to readjust after exposure to bright lights. Intoxicating doses of alcohol impair most types of performance. Alcohol increases swaying, especially if the eyes are closed.
- Memory is strongly affected by alcohol. Information learned by a person who has been drinking is not remembered as well as if the person was sober. You might not notice this problem! But the police will…
ALCOHOL CAN CAUSE PERMANENT BRAIN DAMAGE
- Heavy drinking over many years may result in serious mental disorders or permanent, irreversible damage to the brain or peripheral nervous system. Mental functions such as learning ability, memory, and judgment can deteriorate severely, and an individual's personality structure and grasp on reality may disintegrate as well.
ALCOHOL CONTRIBUTES TO VIOLENCE
- More than half of the Nation's alcoholics are employed
- For some drinkers, alcohol releases violent behavior that might be unlikely or even unthinkable in their sober state.
- Half of all homicides and one-third of all suicides are alcohol- related--accounting for about 11,700 deaths yearly.
- Alcohol is part of less violent criminal behavior, too: almost half of the 5-1/2 million arrests yearly in the United States are related to the misuse of alcohol.
- Drunkenness accounts for approximately 1,400,000 arrests,
- The cost to taxpayers for the arrest, trial, and keeping in jail of people abusing alcohol has been estimated at more than $100 million a year.
ALCOHOL ABUSE CAUSES MISERY
- The normal drinker may experience the passing misery of the hangover. The alcohol-dependent person may have severe trembling, hallucinations, confusion, convulsions, and delirium--the alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
DON'T START DRINKING NOW.
IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE FOR YOU.
Effects of alcohol use are not limited to the drinker. Your victims, your employers, your friends and your community are all harmed by your drinking. Families who stay poor, broken homes, desertion, divorce, and deprived or displaced children are all part of the picture. Costs to support families disabled by alcohol problems amounts to additional millions of tax dollars each year.
ARE YOU CAUSING YOUR FAMILY PAIN?
IS THAT REALLY HOW YOU WANT TO LIVE?