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Alcohol is a substance that can have a very dramatic effect on the body and the mind. The ethanol that is in alcohol and the several chemicals that alcohol is metabolized into later act like very powerful toxins inside of the body. The liver, gastrointestinal system and brain can all be damaged over time by excessive alcohol consumption. Even small amounts can alter the normal behaviors of an average individual.

Alcohol Affects The Nervous System

Alcohol is a depressant. When it is consumed it begins to depress the nervous system. This includes the brain. The result is that the natural firing patterns and activity in the brain are altered for as long as a certain amount of alcohol is in the blood. This can actually cause permanent brain damage over time. The more immediate effect, however, is that individuals start to lose natural inhibitions that would normally restrict risky behaviors. Intoxicated individuals become less able to resist immediate forms of gratification and find it difficult to assess the long-term results of certain decisions.

Excessive Drinking Can Result In Very Bad Decisions

Impulsive behavior increases as the amount of alcohol that is consumed increases. The parts of the brain that control speech, vision and motor functions start to become depressed. This causes signals from the brain to become delayed resulting in slurred speech, blurry vision and an inability to walk normally. This same effect can make rational thought very difficult. A person might think that driving while drunk is acceptable despite that fact that he or she might be unable to even open the car door. This is because of the combined effects of the alcohol on the brain is removing all inhibitions as well as the ability to think about the future results of immediate actions.

Avoiding Bad Decision Making

Drunk driving can cause lifelong injuries and death to the driver and to innocent bystanders on the street. It is one action that needs to be avoided while drinking. One way to avoid this problem is to carefully measure exactly how much alcohol is consumed. A healthy adult can metabolize a single average drink in 60 to 90 minutes. Drinking less than an ounce of alcohol every hour can prevent severe intoxication. Another common method to use is to have a designated driver who will not drink. This person can hold car keys and can drive everyone home at the end of the night to ensure that no one makes a bad decision and gets behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking.

Other Safe Drinking Practices

There are a number of different factors that can affect how alcohol is processed by an individual. People who are taking prescription medications should avoid drinking whenever possible. This is because there is a chance for a negative interaction that could cause serious medical problems. It is also important to eat while drinking. Eating while drinking responsibly can help to normalize the metabolism so the alcohol is moved efficiently through the body. This can actually keep the blood alcohol levels in the body at an acceptable level.

Avoid Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is the practice of drinking a large amount of alcohol in a very short period of time. This can be a very harmful activity and has resulted in a number of drunken driving deaths. The primary problem is that an individual can sometimes drink so quickly that the body does not process the alcohol that has already been consumed. This can cause the rapid onset of severe intoxication after a short period of time. Individuals have actually been able to get behind the wheel of a car before feeling the full effects of the alcohol. It is always best to completely avoid this type of drinking behavior.

This article was contributed by Tulsa DUI lawyer Zach Smith to promote safe drinking practices.