This is what happens when you drink

This may be the season to get boozy. But before you enter into the spirit of downing spirits, find out what effect alcohol has on your body once it hits your lips. British consultant psychiatrist, Dr Mike McPhillips explains further.

1. Brain

You become unable to process information efficiently. Alcohol is a depressant, and after it hits the cerebral cortex, it dulls your pain and inhibition receptors. The limbic system (the body's emotional centre) is also hit, giving you that loving feeling.

2. Stomach

Ninety per cent of alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream through the stomach and intestines, affecting the whole body. Fizzy drinks accelerate this process, as the carbon dioxide opens the intestines' pyloric valve to speed up absorption.

3. Bladder

This fills with more water than it should because alcohol inhibits the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin, which stimulates the kidneys to reabsorb water, so you don't dehydrate. Hence, so much spent in the gent's after 11pm.

4. Liver

Alcohol is broken down into the toxic chemical acetaldehyde, which is further broken down into water and carbon dioxide. The liver metabolises about one unit an hour, so the last drink stays with you until the next day.

5. Heart

It beats faster because alcohol is a vasodilator, relaxing your blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. Your heart rate increases to get enough blood to your organs. Either that, or you've finally noticed that hot chick at the bar.

6. Memory function

Research by the University of Santa Barbara in the US shows drinking inhibits the receptor NMDA from recognising the neurotransmitter glutamate, so memories don't actually form. You didn't forget; you never knew to begin with.


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