How does alcohol work?

Asked on near New Haven, CT
Topics: Food & DrinkAlcoholHealth


Danielle Sandler

Alcohol affects brain chemistry by altering levels of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transmit the signals throughout the body that control thought processes, behavior and emotion. Neurotransmitters are either excitatory, meaning that they stimulate brain electrical activity, or inhibitory, meaning that they decrease brain electrical activity. Alcohol increases the effects of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. GABA causes the sluggish movements and slurred speech that often occur in alcoholics. At the same time, alcohol inhibits the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. Suppressing this stimulant results in a similar type of physiological slowdown. In addition to increasing the GABA and decreasing the glutamate in the brain, alcohol increases the amount of the chemical dopamine in the brain's reward center, which creates the feeling of pleasure that occurs when someone takes a drink.

Lisa Vaught

Alcohol works by your drinking it and entering your bloodstream. It travels through the body which includes the brain and heart. Alcohol causes the body to have a depressed response.

The alcohol enters the blood and dissolves. The alcohol from the blood enters and dissolves in the water inside body tissues.

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How does alcohol work?

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