One of the most common forms of addiction is alcoholism. It develops when the drinker’s body becomes so used to absorbing large amounts of alcohol that they can no longer function normally when they do not drink. The symptoms are a continual craving for alcohol, an inability to drink moderately and a need to drink more to get the same effect. Alcoholism develops slowly over the years of steadily increasing consumption. The victim starts by drinking to be part of the crowd or to give himself a lift or to help him forget his worries. Later his system becomes dependent on alcohol and he suffers withdrawal symptoms if he cannot get alcohol. He gets feverishness, sleeplessness, tremors accompanied by hallucinations called delirium tremens or DTs. Continual heavy drinking causes liver diseases, brain damage, mouth, throat and pancreatic cancer, obesity, anemia, sexual problems, disorders of the stomach, nervous system and heart. There may be high blood pressure and vitamin deficiencies if meals are neglected. Social and psychological problems are also common. The online products for hangover and alcoholism solve all problems.

Self-help for hangover and alcoholism

Prevention is better than cure and is the best method of dealing with alcoholism. Control social drinking by counting and measuring all drinks even at home. Set a daily limit and stick to it and eat something while drinking to slow down the absorption of alcohol into the blood. If you meet friends in a pub, buy your own drinks rather than taking part in rounds. Drink slowly, not more than one unit in half an hour. Make every second drink non-alcoholic. Do not drink at all if are going to drive. Ask your doctor if you are taking medicines.

One alcohol unit measures

  • 250 ml of ordinary beer
  • 166 ml of strong beer or ale
  • A glass of wine
  • A small glass of sherry
  • A single measure of spirits or aperitif

The limit is 21 units per week for men and 14 units for women

The route taken by alcohol during consumption & effects of alcohol on your body

  1. Mouth & Esophagus – alcohol is diluted by saliva before being swallowed. Some alcohol is immediately absorbed. 20% of consumed alcohol is immediately absorbed into the bloodstream before reaching the rest of the gastrointestinal tract. Alcohol is an irritant to the sensitive lining of the esophagus. Excess consumption can significantly raise your risk of esophageal cancer.
  2. Stomach – more alcohol is absorbed here, irritating the lining of the stomach and increasing the acidity. Alcohol is absorbed into the blood through the stomach walls. The emptier the stomach, the faster the absorption, the greater the impact, and the more pronounced the side-effects. Absorption of alcohol also irritates the lining of the stomach, leading to some symptoms commonly associated with a hangover (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). This also accelerates productions of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, leading to the ‘upset stomach’ feeling common with consumption and/or hangover. If HCl secretion increases too rapidly or too high (or both), nausea and vomiting pathways are triggered. If vomiting does not occur, diarrhea is more likely for the same reason.
  3. Small Intestine – any remaining alcohol is passed here and is the site of most alcohol absorption
  4. Bloodstream – alcohol quickly diffuses through the body, affecting almost all cells. Once in the bloodstream, alcohol is rapidly distributed throughout the body. Different tissues absorb alcohol at differing rates e.g. muscle absorbs alcohol more rapidly than fat. People with higher percentages of body fat will absorb alcohol less quickly, lengthening the time it circulates in the bloodstream.  Women physiologically have a higher body fat percentage than men, typically increasing the impact of alcohol on their bodies. Body size also is a factor – the smaller the body, the more concentrated the effects will be (because alcohol will be a bigger proportion of the bodily fluid in a smaller person). The rate of absorption is also affected by rate and type of consumption. Faster consumption, faster absorption. Carbonated beverages also increase the rate of absorption – includes champagne, wine coolers, and drinks made with soda.
  5. Brain – Brain cells are more susceptible because they are usually protected from toxins by the blood-brain barrier. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system. This means that alcohol slows the rate at which the nervous system can function and communicate. This will prevent all neurological processes from occurring at the normal rate or extent ranging from judgment to control of bodily function. Structures of the brain affected include the frontal lobe where rational decision making and judgment occurs. Consumption of alcohol will also cause increased self-confidence as well as decreased judgment – a very bad combination. Those that are too drunk to drive are less likely to be able to make this determination as they drink more. Those that are too drunk to drive will also feel more confident in their own ability to safely do so (despite the contrary being true). Because the central nervous system is impaired, the process of creating and storing memory is also impaired. This can lead to short-term amnesia – excess alcohol consumption can cause people to be unable to form memories during consumption to varying extents. Part of the brain, called the amygdala, regulates human emotion. The amygdala is responsible for creating emotion appropriate for a circumstance. Because alcohol depresses the central nervous system, the emotional regulatory function of the amygdala will also be impaired. This can lead to anxiety, anger, frustration, lust, and other primal human emotions to become over- or under-expressed. Balance is regulated by the semicircular canals inside your ear. The semicircular canals are looped structures that are filled with a fluid called endolymph. The movement of fluid inside these loops tells your body your position and orientation in space. Alcohol thickens this fluid, reducing the ability to sense movement. The sensory system responsible for sensing movement is now less sensitive, causing stumbling and loss of coordination and balance. The cerebellum (muscle coordination center of the brain) also is impaired.
  6. Liver – Alcohol is processed by the liver as it arrives from the bloodstream. The liver produces enzymes called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). Alcohol metabolism via ADH produces a secondary product more toxic than alcohol itself – acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is then converted into acetate by ALDH. Acetate is digested into fatty acids, CO2, and water. Fatty acids, when digested, create 7 calories per gram of alcohol. If fatty acids accumulate too fast, cirrhosis can occur.
  7. Excretion via urine, the lungs, and sweat. Breaking the seal and Water Loss. A common myth associated with alcohol consumption is that if you urinate once, you will have to urinate constantly – this is called “breaking the seal” In reality, you’ve ‘broken the seal’ as soon as you have your first sip. Alcohol is a diuretic, causing cells to shed water. Alcohol interferes with water reabsorption in the kidneys, causing excess water to be moved to the bladder. Alcohol causes stretch receptors ‘miscalculate’ the amount of urine in the bladder, making it feel fuller than it is. A combination of excess water loss, reduced water reabsorption, and a miscalculating bladder creates the need to urinate more frequently with greater consumption.
  8. A hangover is the ill-effects experienced by excess alcohol consumption after the ‘high’ of alcohol has worn off. Symptoms of a hangover include fatigue, dehydration, nausea, stomach irritation, headache, and exhaustion. The exhaustion associated with excess consumption is due to alcohol’s inhibition of glutamine. Glutamine is a bodily stimulant whose production is inhibited by alcohol. When the effects of alcohol wear off, glutamine production is increased to compensate for previous inhibition. This causes a drinker to wake more in their sleep as glutamine production increases, preventing the deepest and most restful stages of sleep. Glutamine rebound can also lead to tremors, anxiety, and restlessness. Glutamine, like caffeine, is a stimulant. Excess glutamine production is going to have effects similar to excess caffeine consumption

Published by an experienced medical doctor with a special interest in the prevention of pain and pain management.

Dr BA Mabaso, MB ChB, DHSM, MBA, MPhil


Share this article on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, word of mouth, etc!

Write a Reply or Comment:

Back to top