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Information on Alcohol

What is Alcohol?

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 information

Alcohol and the Body

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:

  • your age, sex, and body weight
  • how sensitive you are to alcohol
  • the type and amount of food in your stomach
  • how much and how often you drink and how long you’ve been drinking, in other words, your tolerance level. (Tolerance is the increasing amount one needs to get the initial buzz)

Alcohol poisoning may occur when the blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds a certain level and can be dangerous.

Binge Drinking

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.


Heavy Drinking

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 Symptoms

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.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can begin as early as two hours after the last drink and persist for weeks.

They may feel or experience:

  • Nervousness and jumpiness
  • Sleep problems, bad dreams
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that aren’t there).
  • Tremors (the “shakes”)
  • Seizures*
  • Delirium Tremens*

Alcohol in Canada

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.

  • 19.1 percent of consumers aged 12 years and over were reported as heavy alcoholic drinkers. The groupage from 18 to 34 years is the heaviest drinker.
  • The average Canadian household spends 1,000 dollars per year on any sort of alcoholic beverage. The most popular is wine.
  • In 2017, the rate of hospitalizations entirely caused by alcohol (249 per 100,000) was comparable to the rate of hospitalizations for heart attacks (243 per 100,000), thirteen times higher than for opioids.

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.

Finding Affordable Rehabs in Canada 

If you need assistance finding a private drug rehab center or medical detox, call us today and speak with our referral counsellors. Their years of experience will be an asset to you.

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