What is alcohol?
According to chemistry, alcohol is a compound that is classified as a hydrocarbon. Hydrocarbons are any organic compounds that are made up of hydrogen and carbon. Any compound that contains carbon is called an organic compound. Hence, alcohol is considered an organic compound.
In case you are interested to know the exact definition of alcohol from the scientific point of view, here it goes:
Alcohol is an organic compound that is characterized by the presence of one, two or more hydroxyl groups (−OH) that are attached to the carbon atom in an alkyl group or a hydrocarbon chain.
Alcohol is one of the most popular commonly occurring organic compounds. They are used in making sweeteners, preparation of perfumes, sanitizers, and beverages. Alcohol can also be used as fuels, preservatives, antiseptics, and anti-freezing agents.
What are the types of alcohol?
There are three types of alcohol:
- Ethyl alcohol (ethanol)
- Methyl Alcohol (methanol)
- Isopropyl Alcohol (isopropanol)
The type of alcohol found in alcoholic drinks is ethyl alcohol or ethanol. The other two types of alcohol are not fit for human consumption.
Methyl alcohol is mainly used as an industrial solvent. It is found in paint removers, photocopiers, and combustion engines.
Isopropyl alcohol is famous for its cooling and disinfecting properties. It is found in everyday cleaning products, sanitizers, lotions, and other cosmetics.
The type of alcohol responsible for making people drunk is ethyl alcohol.
What does“being drunk” mean?
Being drunk is the condition of being intoxicated by alcohol. Being intoxicated refers to the state of a person’s physical and mental control being diminished by the effects of alcohol. Drunkenness is also known as alcohol intoxication or acute alcohol poisoning.
Drunkenness can lead to poor coordination, slurred speech, difficulty in walking, and vomiting. This condition can be prevented by not consuming alcoholic drinks in excess amounts.
How Does Alcohol Make People Drunk?
Ethanol is one of the primary components of alcoholic beverages. Since ethanol is not a complex molecule, it becomes easy for it to go into various membranes of the body. The effects of consuming ethanol have different effects on different people.
When alcohol is first consumed by a person, it lands into the stomach gets absorbed into the blood through the small intestine.
From the blood, alcohol goes into the organs. Those organs that receive the highest blood flow gets the alcohol first. The organs that receive the most blood flow in the human body are usually the liver and the brain. Hence, after getting absorbed by the blood, alcohol goes into the liver and the brain first.
When the molecules of alcohol reach the liver first, the enzymes present in the liver breaks down the molecules so that the body can use them in a better way.
An enzyme present in the liver called ADH converts alcohol into a compound called acetaldehyde. However, acetaldehyde is toxic to the body. Another enzyme in the liver called ALDH converts the toxic acetaldehyde into a non-toxic acid called acetate. This non-toxic acetate acid can now be safely circulated throughout the body.
Although the liver breaks down the alcohol as much as it can, a part of alcohol still reaches the brain and other parts of the body. When alcohol reaches the brain, it makes the neurons inside the brain to be less communicative. This causes people to have slurred speech, and show the other signs of being drunk.
Alcohol also prompts the brain to release dopamine, a hormone responsible for making people feel good.
Alcohol also causes neurons in the brain to release endorphins. Endorphins help people to stay calm in times of stress and danger. Excess accumulation of endorphins in the brain causes a person to experience euphoria.
After alcohol reaches your stomach, it is absorbed by your blood. The liver tries to break down alcohol as much as it can. However, some amount of alcohol still gets circulated in the body. When alcohol reaches the brain, it makes the neurons inside the brain to be less communicative. This leads to people showing signs of drunkenness. Alcohol also triggers the release of dopamine and endorphins, leading to intoxication and euphoria.
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