Considering that its St. Patrick’s day and that most of the varsity folk across the land will be going on Easter vacation soon I thought that it would be a good idea to provide some down the line factual advice on the effects that alcohol has on the brain.
You see, the effects of flaming Sambuca shots at the bar on your brain tend to resemble the career of Antonia Banderas- things get progressively worse as you put more effort in.
According to Dr Izak Loftus, forensic and anatomical pathologist from the Pathcare-Group, alcohol first suppresses the frontal lobes, progressing onto the back of your brain and then to the parts that lie deep in its centre.
In a paint-dryingly boring way he explains drunkenness as follows-
Alcohol is a suppressant as it suppresses the normal functions of your brain. This suppressing effect on the brain is almost like a wave crashing over your head (say what?). First it suppresses the frontal lobes, next it washes further backwards over the parietal lobes, then to the occipital lobes right at the back, then deeper into the brain to the cerebellum, on to the diencephalon and the mesencephalon (midbrain), finally ending up at the brainstem and the medulla oblongata.
This process is continuous, but certain functions, for example peripheral vision, may already be affected at an earlier stage.
Phew, almost dozed off there.
First Stage: The happy “this rounds on me” phase
The frontal lobes of the brain house the functions that control, among other things, your inhibitions, self-control, willpower, ability to judge and attention span. (Jaimie Foxx was definitely on to something with that “Blame it on the alcohol” tune)
If you suppress this area with booze, your self-confidence increases, you start getting jolly like a pirate, become more and more generous and start talking more. This is why alcohol is seen as one of the best social lubricants out there (next to a bag of ekkies of course).
Signs of this first stage can already be detected with blood alcohol levels as low as 0,01g/100ml – in other words, while you are within the legal limit of 0,05g/100ml.
This is generally the ideal zone where you want to stay if you want to keep members of the opposite/same sex interested in your “witty” conversation and avoid any jail time for drunken driving.
Second Stage: The slurring Jack Sparrow phase
The next areas of the brain to come under fire from the magical fire water are the parietal lobes, affected at a blood alcohol level of approximately 0,10 g/100ml.
During this stage your motor skills become impaired, you have difficulty speaking in a manner other than that of the slurred mutterings of a constantly liquored Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Carribean (for some bizarre reason, you are the only one blissfully unaware of this).
You also begin to shiver randomly and complicated actions like unbuttoning blouses become very difficult to execute (although, I’ve never had this problem, generally I can undo that shit just by thinking really hard about global warming). Similarly your sensory abilities are hampered, which is why food that would generally cause you to turn a shade of green after munching, now seems rather tasty (see Kreg’s post over HERE).
Third Stage: The I can’t-see-properly-so that minger looks hot- phase
At this stage your visual perception ability becomes severely limited. You experience increased difficulty with movement and distance perception (which is why drunk people are always bumping into shit).
Your depth perception also becomes impaired and your peripheral vision decreases. If, at this stage, you are silly enough to drive you will have great difficulty seeing the doctor who is walking to the lab with the cure for AIDS and the little boy chasing a ball by the roadside, in all likelihood squishing them both in one not-so-deft drifting manoeuvre.
Fourth Stage: The falling-down on your face-phase
As early as the blood alcohol level of 0,15 g/100ml the cerebellum becomes affected and maintaining your balance could become difficult. As you dop (drink) more falling on your “fasch” becomes all the more likely. If your friends have any love for you, they will take you home and allow your reputation to remain intact before this happens.
Fifth Stage: The pass-out while sitting upright phase
Hopefully, by this stage you are somewhere safe, because with a blood alcohol level of around 0,25 g/100ml your diencephalon and the mesencephalon (midbrain) are affected and you become extremely tired as well as a target for penis drawings on your face .
You are pretty close to spewing streams of vomit (if you haven’t already), with your consciousness severely suppressed- hell you might even be comatose.
Sixth Stage: The-Grim Reaper is standing a tad bit too close-phase
Should your blood alcohol level reach between 0,35 and 0,40 g/100ml, the effects of your boozing reach your brain stem, which includes the medulla oblongata. This controls your breathing and blood circulation and if suppressed, you are technically busy dying and well on your way to the pearly gates.
The chronic drinker
These effects refer to the social drinker. Chronic abuse of alcohol is a whole different ball park. Your tolerance is increased and thus the effects of alcohol only become apparent when you, a chronic drinker have reached much higher levels of alcohol in the blood than those mentioned above.
For the most part a chronic drinker would appear to be less under the influence at a specific blood alcohol concentration than your normal weekend party animal.
So now before you go out there and slam those tequilas down- just bear in mind that alcohol cares nothing for the body and you could die if you drink too much- or too little for that matter (ok the last part might not be true).
Effects of alcohol on the occipital lobe can be seen when your blood alcohol level reaches around 0,20 g/100ml.