alcohol (booze, piss, grog, drink, sauce)
||Alcohol can loosen up social situations, and make you the life and soul of the party. It can be legally purchased by people over 18 and is cheap compared to some drugs. However, just because alcohol is readily available and accessible doesnít mean itís harmless. Alcohol can wreak havoc on your body, your mind and your life.
Alcohol is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the stomach and small intestine. Food slows down the absorption, while caffeinated drinks are believed to increase it. Once absorbed, it can lead to drunkenness and drunken behaviour, e.g. slurred speech, inability to walk straight and dangerous driving. The higher the concentration of alcohol in the drink, the faster you become intoxicated.
The liver is the primary organ involved in the break down of alcohol in the body.
As a rough guide, it takes about an hour for the body to process the alcohol contained in one standard drink, but this depends on factors like your size, gender, liver function, genetic makeup and general health. A standard drink is 10 grams of alcohol. This approximately equals: 300mls of 4% beer, 100mls of 13% wine, and 30mls of spirits. The amount of standard drinks in any container should be written on the label.
Studies suggest about 8% of the population have severe drinking problems, and more than a quarter exceed safe drinking guidelines.
Drinking Ė signs of intoxication:
- Intensified mood e.g. very happy, very sad, aggressive.
- Loss of inhibitions and good judgement.
- Euphoria/ elation.
- Over friendly, over affectionate and over confident.
- Increased sexualised behaviour, although decreased performance.
- Confusion, dizziness.
- Decreased awareness of physical pain.
- Loss of balance.
Possible short term harms
- Alcohol related motor vehicle crashes.
- Unwanted pregnancy.
- Impact on work performance.
- Relationship problems.
- Weight gain (alcohol has a high sugar content).
- Health issues Ė e.g. sexual difficulties, stomach problems.
Long-term harm includes:
- Emotional, social and financial problems.
- Serious injuries from recurrent falls and other accidents.
- High blood pressure.
- Stomach ulcers.
- A decrease in male sperm count.
- Anaemia and general sickness.
- Cirrhosis of the liver.
- Reduction in brain mass Ė alcohol related brain impairment (ARBI).
- Premature death from medical problems.
- Damage to foetus if drinking while pregnant (FAS, FAE), refer to Pregnancy.
- No use is the safest choice.
- Set a limit before going out, and keep track of what you drink.
- Eat a balanced meal before drinking.
- Be prepared to say no to drinks.
- Alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, especially water.
- Donít indulge in drinking games.
- To prevent spiking, donít leave your drinks unattended.
- Be cautious about drinking if you have medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy or asthma, or it youíre on medication (check with your doctor).
- Drinking alcohol is not recommended if you are pregnant or you are planning to become pregnant.
- Donít mix with drugs, especially GHB, Benzos and Opioids.
- Remember that caffeine based energy drinks (including guarana) DO NOT sober you up.
After heavy drinking, most people suffer hangovers which can involve headaches, dry mouth, trembling, vomiting, depression, diarrhoea, tiredness, muscle aches.
IF YOU ARE CONCERNED about your own
or someone elseís alcohol use,
CADS on (09) 845-1818 or