I'm in the trash today. What is alcohol tolerance and why can some people drink more than others?
Alcoholic drinks (also alcoholic drinks) - drinks containing ethanol (ethyl alcohol, alcohol). There are many varieties of alcoholic beverages, most of them produced by fermentation. With regard to alcoholic beverages, there are regional preferences: for example, in Belgium beer is a favorite beverage, and in Japan they drink a lot of sake.
In addition to drinking directly, alcoholic beverages are used for making cocktails and for cooking: in marinades, stews, fruit desserts and other dishes. The concept of “alcoholic (alcoholic) products” is used in commodity science and in determining taxes and excise taxes on goods.
Different religions have different attitudes to the use of alcohol: some (for example, Judaism) encourage its use, others (for example, Islam) completely forbid it. The abuse of alcohol is the cause of many different diseases, social and economic problems of society; alcohol is a depressant (psychoactive substance) and can cause physical dependence.
Some people may drink more alcohol than others. Or less. Who is lucky. What is alcohol tolerance and is there any benefit from it.
Someone drinks three glasses of ice beer in the heat just to quench their thirst and cool down a bit. And for someone, such a dose will be a ticket in a horizontal position for a day.
Someone can "put" a bottle of cognac in the evening. Someone even after 150 g is ready to confess their love to the first person they meet.
Residents often look for simple explanations for this phenomenon. It is clear that men can drink more than women, and to put a person with a larger body mass also requires more alcohol.
But not everything is so simple and simple. There is such a thing as alcohol tolerance. And in the light of recent research, doctors are learning more about her.
What is alcohol tolerance?
With the regular use of alcohol, the body learns to process the toxic substances contained in it. Simply put, the body gets used to alcohol.
Addiction is essentially a decrease in alcohol sensitivity. This means that in order to achieve similar intoxication, each time a person has to drink more and more.
The people even have a comic term "drunk organism", which in fact is not at all comic.
The ability of the body to withstand alcohol infusion is not an indicator of good health or physical strength, as some people think.
This is only an indicator that an alcohol tolerance has already formed in the human body, which doctors consider to be a key symptom of alcohol dependence.
Ironically, a high tolerance to alcohol over time leads to the destruction of the body and, as a result, a person loses this very tolerance. And it becomes intoxicated even from a small amount of alcohol.
Why do some people have higher alcohol tolerance?
Some doctors tend to believe that alcohol tolerance depends not only on the “training” of the body through regular libations. But also from a number of other factors.
Some people are able to drink more alcohol than others to achieve the same stage of intoxication, explains Peter Martin, professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University.
The accumulated school experience certainly matters, he states, but gender and genetics are also important.
Men are able to drink more than women. And body weight also matters for the absorption of alcohol. This is evidenced not only by popular wisdom, but also by numerous studies.
However, other factors are still less studied.
According to Martin, scientists suggest that metabolism-related enzymes and the characteristics of neural connections in the brain affect alcohol absorption.
Alcohol absorption is a multi-step process, says Brad Uren of the University of Michigan.
“Most of the alcohol that enters the body is processed by an enzyme that is known as alcohol hydrogenase, into an organic compound, acetaldehyde, which is then processed by an enzyme known as aldehyde hydrogenase,” Uren explains.
In some people, the body lacks aldehyde hydrogenase, and this leads to the accumulation of acetaldehyde in the blood as alcohol is consumed.
“In turn, this leads to reddening of the skin, as well as many symptoms known as a hangover,” says Uren.
It is this theory that explains why Asians get drunk faster than Europeans and have a harder hangover. Studies show that Asians often lack this enzyme.
As for the theory of neural connections, some researchers believe that the brain of some people simply does not generate a signal that there is already enough alcohol in the blood. And they continue to drink until the level of toxic substances in the blood finally goes off scale.
Why alcohol tolerance is harmful
Firstly, people with a high tolerance to alcohol often are in the false belief that they have "drunk a little."
This leads to the fact that a person who is pretty "taken to the chest", quietly sits behind the wheel. “Yes, I was normal” - a phrase that is often used to justify drunken drivers driving after an accident.
The fact that you do not stammer and do not sing songs after a fair dose of alcohol does not mean that you are not drunk. The nervous system may already be under the influence of alcohol. It is important exactly the amount of drunk, and not how you feel after that, doctors say.
Another dangerous point - people with high tolerance often are in the illusion of how much they can drink. “And what will happen to me with a couple of glasses,” they argue. And they drink almost every day, thereby bringing themselves closer to alkgolism. In the long run, people with high tolerance more often become alcoholics, rather than those who are quickly drunk, Uren emphasizes.
According to Martin, it is high tolerance to alcohol that most often leads to its increased consumption. And people with high tolerance often bring themselves to cirrhosis of the liver, neuropathy, pancreatitis, stomach cancer, etc.
Summer and alcohol tolerance
According to doctors, high tolerance to alcohol in the summer is especially dangerous.
In the hot season, it is especially important for a person to observe the body's water balance.
Many do not realize that for this it is advisable to drink clean water. And not tea, coffee, juices and, especially, alcohol.
People with high alcohol tolerance do not feel intoxicated with seemingly small doses of alcohol. And easily quench your thirst with beer, wine or alcoholic cocktails.
Alcohol in this regard can be extremely dangerous even in small quantities, says Uren, as it leads to dehydration.
Thus, “quenching thirst” in the heat, on the contrary, you worsen the water balance of your body.
Getting rid of alcohol tolerance
With the regular use of alcohol, the body learns to process a toxic substance and, so to speak, eventually gets used to alcohol. This means that the body loses its sensitivity to alcohol, and to achieve the same intoxication, each time you have to drink more. Such "endurance" is not an indicator of health and strength, but an indication that one of the symptoms of alcohol dependence has already formed - tolerance to alcohol.
The use of a large amount of alcohol over the years undermines the body's defenses, and in the end, the opposite symptom may also occur: an alcoholic becomes drunk from half a bottle of beer. The liver is damaged, and a person gets drunk even with a very small amount of alcohol.
Tolerance to alcohol may develop imperceptibly. If you drink more and more to achieve the same effect that you once received from a glass of wine, then you are already in dangerous territory.
So that alcohol tolerance does not increase, the body needs rest. No alcohol should pass at least three days a week. In addition, it is useful to take a long vacation from alcohol. In this way, you can reduce your increased alcohol tolerance.
If you have increased tolerance to alcohol, there are symptoms of alcohol dependence or you feel that you have problems with alcohol, you need to contact a specialist. Learn alcohol treatment guidelines to know what to expect.
Effects on the body - says science
Drug harm assessment criteria
Ethyl alcohol C 2 H 5 OH is a flammable liquid that is used as a fuel, solvent or disinfectant. When ingested, it has a narcotic and toxic effect. The narcotic effect on the central nervous system is diverse: C 2 H 5 OH inhibits the functions of the central nervous system, causes alcoholic arousal, insensitivity to pain, etc. Under the influence of ethanol, endorphins are released in the brain, by the method of exposure similar to opiates.
In terms of harm to the body, strength of exposure, mortality, and level of physical dependence - in almost all respects, alcohol should be included in the group of strong drugs, along with other class A drugs (prohibited ecstasy, 4-MTA, and LSD). In reality, the opposite is true. Some “weak” drugs, for which science does not know cases of fatal overdose, are completely prohibited in Ukraine. And the strongest poison with narcotic effects - ethyl alcohol - is sold in every store. It's amazing.
In 2010, English psychopharmacist David Nutt of the University of Bristol, a member of the UK Drug Abuse Advisory Council, together with a group of experts in chemistry, pharmacology, psychiatry, as well as law enforcement officials and lawyers, analyzed the effects of 20 different drugs in terms of physical, psychological and social harm, the likelihood of drug abuse and impact on society. A total of 16 criteria were taken into account.
Overall drug hazard rating and contribution of each factor
According to the results of the study, if the requirements of the current classification of drugs were observed, then alcohol would be classified as a class A drug. In general, the list of the most dangerous drugs in the world is as follows:
- Alcohol - 72 points
- Heroin - 55 points
- Crack - 54 points
- Methamphetamine - 33 points
- Cocaine - 27 points
- Tobacco - 26 points
- Amphetamine - 23 points
- Marijuana - 20 points
- GHB - 19 points
The following table shows the overall drug hazard rating and the contribution of each factor, including mortality, harm to health, level of dependence, destructive effect on a person’s mental abilities, economic damage (alcohol and tobacco showed the highest scores for this indicator), effect on crime, damage to the family, etc.
Substances are classified according to the degree of harm to the user and to other people.
If we classify all factors according to the degree of damage to the person who takes the substance, and the degree of damage to others, then nothing can compare with alcohol.
“If alcohol were invented today, it would be illegal, no doubt,” the authors of the scientific work are sure.
Experts believe that the main problem is that the classification of drugs has not been reviewed for more than 40 years. She urgently needs to be reviewed, as well as the system of administrative and criminal penalties that is in force now. This system is completely illogical when a young girl gets 12 years in prison for smuggling one and a half tablets of ecstasy, while the distribution of the most dangerous substance - ethyl alcohol - is completely legalized for historical reasons.
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