Alcohol Gone Wrong

By Nicholas Zylstra

Every year in the U.S., roughly 5,000 people under the age of 21 die from an alcohol-related incidents including car crashes, murders, suicides, alcohol poisoning and other related injuries,and that’s just the start of it. In this paper you will learn about alcohol and how it affects the brain.

Alcohol Impact - The Short and Long Of It

There are many short term effects of alcohol include slurred speech, drowsiness, vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach, headaches, breathing difficulties, distorted vision and hearing, impaired judgment, decreased perception and coordination, unconsciousness, anemia (loss of red blood cells), coma, and blackouts (memory lapses, where the drinker cannot remember events that occurred while under the influence).

Long term effects of alcohol is nerve damage, unintentional injuries such as car crash, falls, burns, drowning, intentional injuries such as firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence, increased on-the-job injuries and loss of productivity, increased family problems, broken relationships, alcohol poisoning, high blood pressure, stroke, and other heart-related diseases, liver disease, permanent damage to the brain, vitamin B1 deficiency, which can lead to a disorder characterized by amnesia, apathy and disorientation ,ulcers ,gastritis (inflammation of stomach walls), malnutrition, cancer of the mouth and throat. Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). AUDs are medical conditions that doctors diagnose when a patient’s drinking causes distress or harm.

By the Numbers

Nearly 88,0007 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women die from alcohol related causes annually), More than 10 percent of U.S. children live with a parent with alcohol problems, according to a 2012 study. Alcohol has been identified as a risk factor for the following types of cancer: mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, and liver.

In 2006, alcohol misuse problems cost the United States $223.5 billion. In 2012, alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities accounted for 10,322 deaths (31 percent of overall driving fatalities). Adults (ages 18+): Approximately 17 million adults ages 18 and older (7.2 percent of this age group) had an AUD in 2012, this includes 11.2 million men (9.9 percent of men in this age group) and 5.7 million women (4.6 percent of women in this age group). Prevalence of Drinking: out of 5 15-year-olds report that they have had at least 1 drink in their lives.15 In 2012, about 9.3 million people ages 12–20 (24.3 percent of this age group) reported drinking alcohol in the past month (24.7 percent of males and 24 percent of females). Approximately 1.7 million people (about 4.3 percent) ages 12–20 were heavy drinkers (5.2 percent of males and 3.4 percent of females). Approximately 1.7 million people (about 4.3 percent) ages 12–20 were heavy drinkers (5.2 percent of males and 3.4 percent of females). In 2012, 60.3 percent of college students ages 18–22 drank alcohol in the past month compared with 51.9 percent of same-age peers not in college.

Alcohol Impact

In most Western countries where chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease (CHD), cancer, stroke, and diabetes are the primary causes of death, results from large epidemiological studies consistently show that alcohol reduces mortality, especially among middle-aged and older men and women—an association which is likely due to the protective effects of moderate alcohol consumption on CHD, diabetes, and ischemic stroke. and diabetes from the benefits attributed to moderate alcohol consumption. Almost three-quarters of the total cost of alcohol misuse is related to binge drinking. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which conducts the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), defines binge drinking as drinking 5 or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days.


What happens in the brain while drinking alcohol, well, Inhibitory neurotransmitters, called GABA, are active throughout the brain. These neurotransmitters act to control neural activity along many brain pathways. When GABA binds to its receptor, the cell is less likely to fire. Meanwhile in another area called glutamate acts as the brain’s general-purpose excitatory neurotransmitter. When alcohol enters the brain it delivers a double sedative punch. First, it interacts with GABA receptors to make them even more inhibitory. Second, it binds to glutamate receptors, preventing the glutamate from exciting the cell. Alcohol particularly affects areas of the brain involved in memory formation, decision making and impulse control.

During Drinking

Drinkers who experience blackouts typically drink too much and too quickly, which causes their blood alcohol levels to rise very rapidly.

Works Cited

"Alcohol Facts and Statistics." National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

"Short- & Long-Term Effects of Alcohol - Negative Side Effects on the Body - Drug-Free World." Short- & Long-Term Effects of Alcohol - Negative Side Effects on the Body - Drug-Free World. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

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