Alcohol is a mind-altering drug. It is considered a “depressant.” Depressants are substances that depress the central nervous it slows down the thinking process and affects behaviour, breathing, and heart rate. Depressants also include drugs such as opioids like heroin, morphine Percocet and OxyContin, to name a few. Alcohol is the most popular and most accepted mind-altering substance in the world. It has been around in various cultures as far back as 8000 BC.
Alcohol is absorbed through small blood vessels in the stomach walls (about 20%) and small intestine (80%) and carried in the bloodstream through the body. From there, the liver metabolizes alcohol and eliminates its toxicity but can only process a certain amount. The rest of the alcohol will remain in the bloodstream and affect the body and mind. The liver eliminates one standard drink (13.6 grams of alcohol) from the body in about 1.5 hours.
The effect felt from alcohol is determined by the following factors:
Alcohol poisoning may occur when the blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds a certain level.
Binge drinking is the consumption of large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. According to the Canadian Medical Association, binge drinking is considered to be 5 or more drinks for men and 4 or more drinks for women in one sitting.
While the definition for heavy drinking varies from country to country, it is however excessive alcohol use. Our southern neighbors consider heavy drinking as binge drinking more than five times a month. Statistics Canada defines heavy drinking as consuming 5 or more drinks on one occasion, 12 or more times over the past year.
Alcohol withdrawal is potentially life-threatening when severe complications, such as seizures and delirium tremens (DTs) set in. Delirium Tremens is a state of confusion, rapid heartbeat, disorientation, and fever. The estimated death rate from DTs ranges from 1% to 5%. With heavy long-term drinking or long-term alcoholism, medical detoxification is a must.
They may feel or experience:
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can begin as early as two hours after the last drink and persist for weeks.
As reported by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, most Canadian adults drink alcohol responsibly. But drinking alcohol in any amount has its risks as it is a mind-altering drug.
Most Recent Statistics in Canada.
An estimation of almost 39 percent of all beer sold in Canada was consumed by Canadians aged 18 to 34 in 2019. In contrast, around 32 percent of total consumption was from aged 50 and over. Among Canadians, 57% prefer beer, and 66% of alcohol consumers prefer drinking in the evening or weekend.
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