When consuming alcohol, do you really know what you are putting into your body? Did you know that alcohol is a drug, a mood altering legal drug, and like any other drug it comes with long- and short-term side effects when consumed? Most people that drink alcohol forget or don’t realise that it is a drug, and that you have to consume responsibly and stay in control of your consumption levels.
Drinking alcohol is a very popular social activity with over 90% of Australian’s ages 14 and upward admitting to trying or consuming it at one time or another, making alcohol the most widely used recreational drug within Australia. This figure is staggering, considering most don’t understand the risks of alcohol and don’t know that it is considered a drug. Alcohol is considered a drug due to its main active ingredient, ethanol.
Most consider alcohol to be a stimulant, consumed to make them feel happy, relaxed and to overall alter a mental state. Drinking small amounts of alcohol will initially make you feel relaxed, reduce tension, lower your inhibitions, and provides you with the feeling of freedom. However, alcohol is a depressant drug and slows down your brain function and central nervous system.
As soon as alcohol is consumed, it is immediately absorbed into the blood stream where it is then rapidly dispersed to your brain and other body parts. It makes your response rate, concentration, memory and other bodily functions slow down, and with the more you consume the less in control of these functions you are.
Sobering up from a night out takes time and depends on how your liver metabolises alcohol. The time it takes you to become sober – is not affected by vomiting, food consumption, coffee, caffeinated drinks, a cold shower, getting fresh air, drinking water and/or exercising. This is as the liver processes alcohol at a fixed rate which cannot be altered, for the average person it can take an hour to break down one standard alcoholic drink.
Do we really know what we are consuming and how it affects us?
Next time you are out, make the conscious decision to consume alcohol responsibly. Don’t make it the decision of the bar staff at a licensed venue as to when you have had enough. Be in control of your decisions and your body.