StudentRights150B

Effect of Alcohol Intoxication

An over consumption of alcohol can have very serious and dangerous effects. We encourage students who are of drinking age to be responsible when drinking. All students regardless of age should become familiar with the effects that drinking can cause.

Below, we have outlined several alcohol related problems and causes. We will discuss the general, short-term and long-term effects alcohol can have on your life.

General Effect:
Alcohol is a depressant drug that reduces activity in the central nervous system. The alcohol intoxicated person exhibits loose muscle tone, loss of fine motor coordination, and often has a staggering drunken gait. The eyes may appear somewhat glossy, and pupils may be slow to respond to stimulus. At high doses, pupils may become constricted. At high doses, alcohol can decrease heart rate, lower blood pressure and respiration rate, and result in decreased reflex responses and slower reaction time.

Short-Term Intoxication:
Consumption of more than two average sized servings of alcohol within several hours will produce measurable impairment of motor coordination and reasoning. The more alcohol consumed the greater the impairment. Although many states (including Indiana) set a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% by volume as a presumptive level of intoxication for certain purposes, intoxication and impairment begin at a much lower level. It is safest to avoid all alcohol if operating a vehicle or engaging in risky recreational activities. Intoxication at levels of 0.20% BAC and above presents risks of loss of consciousness, nausea and vomiting, injuries, and even overdose and death.

Although the average lethal dose is about 0.40%, overdose deaths occur in some situations with BACs near 0.20%.

Long-Term Heavy Drinking:
Drinking to the point of intoxication one or two times per week or more frequently over a period of several years can cause serious health consequences, including: liver disease and cirrhosis, circulatory problems and cardiomyopathy, nervous system damage and polyneuropathy, alcohol dependence, and psychosis. Alcohol abuse can increase the risks of certain types of cancers, including cancer of the tongue, mouth, pharynx, esophagus, larynx, and liver. The cancer-producing effects of alcohol abuse are increased by use of tobacco.