Alcohol Process Paper

Topics: Heart, Blood vessel, Blood Pages: 2 (602 words) Published: October 23, 2012
Alcohol can have many negative impacts on the body, which can sometimes be permanent or fatal. It seems that many underage and of age drinkers are not aware of the effects. While drinking, people get so caught up in the way it makes them feel that they can sometimes forget what the substance is actually doing to their body. Alcohol is defined as a depressant, because it slows the central nervous system down. When the central nervous system is slowed down it can cause a decrease in reaction time, motor coordination, and intellectual abilities. When alcohol is consumed at extremely high amounts the respiratory system slows down slow much it could cause the body to go into a coma, or even death. Alcohol flows directly through the membranes into the bloodstream, which carries alcohol to nearly every organ in the body.

The unmetabolized alcohol flows through the stomach walls and small intestine, where small blood vessels transport it to the blood stream. Stronger alcoholic drinks are absorbed more quickly. Champagne or mixers can speed up the process because carbon dioxide accelerates alcohol’s journey to the small intestine. About 20% of the alcohol consumed is absorbed directly from the stomach, and another small portion is metabolized in the stomach, and the rest passes into the small intestine to be absorbed (Loosening the Grip: A Handbook of Alcohol Information, Ninth Edition , 2012, p. 52).

From the small intestine the alcohol then flows through a large blood vessel into the liver. The liver is responsible for breaking down (or metabolizing) the alcohol in the body. About 90% of the alcohol leaves the system through the liver (Uppers, Downers, All Arounders, 2011, p. 58). An enzyme in the liver metabolizes alcohol first by alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) into acetaldehyde, then by acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) into acetic acid, and then finally it is oxidized into carbon dioxide. The normal liver can process about a half an ounce of pure...
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