The alcohol concentration is measured in the blood and expressed in per mille. The blood alcohol concentration is dependent on both the amount of alcohol consumed and the food consumed at the same time, as well as gender and body weight. Furthermore, the rate at which the body degrades the ingested alcohol plays an important role.
Alcohol intoxication and its concomitants
Although the alcohol level is subject to strong individual fluctuations after delivery of a certain amount of drinking water and thus can not be predicted accurately, the following rule of thumb can nevertheless be formulated: A man weighing about 70 kg has a blood alcohol level of about 0.5 after one liter of beer or half a liter of wine per thousand. As a rule, this concentration already reduces the ability to criticize; inhibitions and generally accepted norms of behavior are easily overcome. At blood concentrations of 0.5 parts per thousand, the legal limit of fitness to drive is reached, with values above 2 parts per thousand develop strong intoxication conditions, which can go over with increasing concentration in unconsciousness with respiratory paralysis and death.
In the alcohol intoxication, impaired ability to think and react, impaired coordination during speech and walking, double vision, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, weakness, muscle spasms, headache, vertigo, weak and fast pulse and low temperature continue to occur. The psychological effects are individual and vary according to the degree of intoxication: from euphoria, good humor, aggression and overconfidence to sloth, tiredness or depressed mood.
Alcoholism is when one has consumed large amounts of alcohol for more than a year, has lost control of alcohol consumption and is thus physically, mentally and socially harmed. Long-term physical injuries include severe chronic gastric and pancreatitis, fatty liver and liver cirrhosis, brain and nerve damage, changes in the blood count, eye diseases, tremors, sleep disorders and impotence. Typical mental symptoms are changes in nature, psychosis and hallucinations.
Most common causes of alcohol abuse
- Too fast drinking. Alcohol in the liver is only gradually reduced to acetic acid. With very fast drinking, a high per mille concentration quickly arises.
- Overestimation of alcohol degradation in the body. Per hour, only 0.1 g of alcohol is lost per kilogram of body weight in men, about 15% less in women.
- Drink without having eaten. When the stomach is empty, the alcohol is absorbed even faster from the stomach into the bloodstream. Coffee also speeds up the absorption of alcohol in the bloodstream.
- Drinking sweetened alcoholic beverages, eg cocktails or mulled wine. Sugar accelerates the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. By contrast, fatty foods slow down the rise in blood alcohol levels.
- Drinking different types of alcohol leads to a rush more quickly. Inferior alcoholics are more likely to give you a headache, not just because of the alcohol, but because of the additives.
- Some people, hereditarily, can not break down alcohol as fast as the average, so they are intoxicated more quickly. Women are more sensitive to alcohol than men ("tolerate less").
- And of course: drink too much! Beer has about 2-6% alcohol, wine and sparkling wine 7-10%, south wine 15-17%, liqueurs 30-35%, schnapps about 45%, rum 40-80%.
When you need to see a doctor
If you find that you can not cope without alcohol. If you realize that your alcohol intake has risen significantly compared to the past. If you drink to forget about problems. When physical withdrawal symptoms occur when trying to abstain. If you have recently had a "film tear" several times, so intoxicated that a memory gap was left behind. If you need help yourself to someone who has acute alcohol poisoning, protect him from cooling down and take him to the nearest hospital. Under certain circumstances, an emergency gastric lavage will be performed and the circulation and respiration stabilized.
Even as a member of an alcoholic or a person suspected of alcohol abuse, you can turn to a doctor of your choice for advice and help! The doctor is in any case subject to confidentiality. Alcohol in pregnancy is at high risk for reduced birth weight and malformations of the baby. When taking psychotropic drugs, sleeping pills or strong painkillers it can lead to altered effects of drugs in connection with alcohol and poisoning even with small amounts of alcohol.
One thing is certain: Alcohol is a luxury food only in small quantities. In higher doses it is an intoxicant and in any case a cytotoxin. The following tips can help to limit alcohol consumption:
- Do not drink to forget about problems. Drink in company rather than alone.
- At celebrations already set a quantum of alcoholic beverages that you get. Share this with others so you can stick to it. Do not let yourself be persuaded to continue drinking.
- Always refill glasses before refilling, for better control.
- At each celebration, think briefly about the negative experiences with alcohol while you are still completely sober.