What happens to us at different stages of alcohol intoxication?

What happens to us at different stages of alcohol intoxication?

We believe that it is common knowledge that excessive consumption of alcohol is harmful to our health. But where is that line? Where is the line when the body feels good and happy, and then the stage when we feel bad and sleepy?

Physicians and scientists divide the effects of alcohol into several stages. Let’s take champagne as an example.

First glass: slight intoxication

At this stage, a minimal amount of alcohol enters the bloodstream: about 0.3-0.5 ppm. In this case the first glass acts faster than all the others (especially champagne, because gases in the drink contribute to the fastest penetration of alcohol into the blood).

After one drink the body releases endorphins – for a while the mood improves and the person becomes more relaxed. Already at this point, the reactions slow down a bit, but in general, the person will hardly notice any changes compared to the sober state.

We feel good, we smile more and are more positive. This is how alcohol pulls our mind into its trap: seeking to prolong the euphoria, our body will demand the next dose.

Blood alcohol levels can vary depending on height, weight and gender. Women will have a higher alcohol concentration if they drink the same amount of alcohol because of their body fat to water ratio.

Also the degree of intoxication depends on the rate of alcohol consumption, the amount of food eaten and water drunk. And even if you stop at one drink, it can affect your state the next morning. For example, it is enough to wake up with high blood pressure.

Second glass: light intoxication

With the second glass of champagne we increase the dose of alcohol in the blood and it becomes about 0.5-1.5 ppm.

The feeling of euphoria still continues: self-confidence grows, it is easier to find topics of conversation even with strangers, a holiday or a joint meeting seems even more fun to us.

However, at the same time, the ability to make balanced decisions decreases, coordination begins to deteriorate, and it becomes more difficult to adequately perceive information. Some people may begin to feel sleepy.

But a good night’s sleep is unlikely. As the quantity of drink goes up, the quality of sleep goes down. Here’s what scientists have calculated:

  • after one drink, the quality of sleep decreases by about 9%;
  • after two drinks by 24%;
  • after three drinks, it’s 39 percent.

Because of this, even after a full eight hours of rest, a person can feel slack.

Third and fourth glass: medium intoxication

This stage of alcohol intoxication is associated with a noticeably higher presence of alcohol in the blood (about 1.5-2.5 ppm) and changes not only in the behavior of the person, but also his orientation in space. That’s why getting behind the wheel drunk is not allowed.

At this stage dizziness and wobbly gait may occur, and some people experience nausea. It is no longer easy to keep up a light and relaxed conversation in this state.

In a moderately intoxicated state the mood changes quickly: at one moment the person is happy and cheerful, in another they may become angry or even cry. Irritability increases noticeably: any word said by the other guests at the party may be taken with hostility.

It is at this stage of alcohol intoxication that you already begin to lose control over your body. You can easily lose your balance, trip, bump, injure yourself. The pain threshold decreases, and it is no longer possible to correctly assess the degree of damage (for example, from a fall). But in the morning the body will hurt.

In a state of average intoxication, people have less control over themselves. They can say too much, it is easier for them to agree to any adventure, to take decisions disadvantageous to themselves. In addition, after this dose, a strong hangover with facial swelling, headache, and nausea can already appear.

More than one bottle: highly intoxicated

Such doses of champagne will raise your blood alcohol levels to huge (2.5 to 3 ppm).

At this stage we have almost no control over our thoughts and our body. Keeping our balance in this state is no longer an easy task. When walking, slight staggering appears, and it becomes difficult to get up from a sofa or chair without support.

The nervous system at this moment is maximally relaxed and inhibited: it becomes difficult for the person to react to stimuli, control his actions and speak clearly. At the same time, the person himself is likely to be convinced that he is in control of the situation.

This may be connected with the influence of high doses of alcohol on the ability to evaluate what is going on around: empathy is impaired by alcohol but the ability to make a moral assessment changes insignificantly. As a result, under the influence of alcohol a person can spend large sums of money or commit risky actions, thinking that this is exactly what he wanted.

When heavily intoxicated, many people also experience nausea, vomiting and dizziness, their skin turns pale and they may even lose consciousness. There is a chance that some of the events occurring will be erased from memory.

More than two bottles: alcohol poisoning

To begin with, this kind of drinking is a serious blow to health. Alcohol in the blood becomes very high (more than 3-3.5 ppm). Everyone goes through this stage differently: some people manage to survive it without consequences, for others it may end in hospitalization.

If you drink more than two bottles of champagne at a time, you will experience severe alcohol poisoning. It may be accompanied by a complete loss of consciousness (the next day a person can hardly remember what happened to him), you may feel sick and vomit. Vomiting may be accompanied by involuntary urination and defecation. In some situations, you may experience seizures, heart palpitations, and thermoregulation (when your body temperature goes up and down out of the blue).

In such a condition, a person should not be left alone – “to sleep it off”. It is necessary to seek professional help immediately. Because an excessively high dose of alcohol can lead to an alcoholic coma or even death.

In conclusion, let us note that the unpleasant symptoms of intoxication, dizziness, nausea, or impaired relationships, or injuries are not the only consequences of drinking alcohol. If you drink alcoholic beverages in large quantities or very often (e.g. every weekend), it will definitely affect your general condition: it can ruin your liver and kidneys, worsen your heart, or even cause cancer.


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