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Alcohol Facts

  • Women become more intoxicated than men on the same amount of alcohol, even when they weigh the same. This is because women have less muscle tissue which contains the body fluid that dilutes alcohol and because women's bodies more quickly process alcohol through the stomach and into the bloodstream.
  • Research has shown that women lack a stomach enzyme, alcohol dehydrogenase, which usually acts as a protective barrier and acts to break down the alcohol before it is absorbed. Without this enzyme, alcohol enters women's bloodstreams in a higher concentration. Alcoholic women have virtually none of this enzyme.
  • Women are less able to predict the effects of consuming a given amount of alcohol. Day-to-day variability in response to alcohol occurs due to the effects of the menstrual cycle. Greater susceptibility to alcohol's influence occurs just before menstruation.
  • The less a woman weighs, the longer it takes her body to be clear of alcohol.
  • The presence of birth control pills has also been shown to slow metabolism of alcohol.
  • Health-related complications from alcoholism seem to develop at an accelerated rate in women, a phenomenon termed "telescoped development." Serious health problems can occur in women after a shorter history of heavy drinking with lower levels of alcohol intake than men.
  • Seventy-five percent of men and 55% of women have used drugs and/or alcohol prior to an assault.
  • Alcohol blurs perception of what's happening, lessens intuition, increases need for others to care for the victim, and increases perception in men that it's okay to rape because "good girls don't drink."
  • You don't have to be legally intoxicated (.10%) to get an OWI ticket. The police just have to register alcohol. The ability to drive is what's important.
  • Studies of alcoholics have found that heavy consumption of alcohol can lead to neurodegeneration, death of brain cells and reduced brain tissue mass, and subsequent damaging effects such as a lack of impulse control and difficulty in setting goals.
  • Alcohol affects people differently, depending on their size, sex, body build, and metabolism.
  • Alcohol- is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream from the small intestine, and less rapidly from the stomach and colon. In proportion to its concentration in the bloodstream, alcohol decreases activity in parts of the brain and spinal cord.
  • In 1996 90% of adults reported using alcohol at some time during their lives.
  • Seventy to eighty percent of alcohol is absorbed in the small intestine.
  • Most body systems are affected by alcohol. Side effects include dilation of blood vessels and increased gastric secretion. Chronic alcohol consumption causes damage to body organs such as the brain, liver, heart, stomach, pancreas, and intestines.
  • In 1998, alcohol was a factor in more than half of all traffic fatalities.
  • More than 100,000 people die each year from alcohol related causes. Ranked independently, alcohol related deaths would fall between the 3rd and 4th leading causes of death.
  • Between 20% and 40% of all persons admitted to urban general hospitals have coexisting alcohol problems and are often misdiagnosed alcoholics being treated for the consequences of their drinking.
  • Liver cirrhosis is the 9th leading cause of deaths; each year 28,000 lives are lost to this disease.
  • In 1997, 111 million Americans ages 12 and older had used alcohol during the 30 days before an interview conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration in 1997.
  • The effects of drinking do not depend on the type of alcoholic beverage - but rather on the amount of alcohol consumed on a specific occasion.
  • Drinking heavily over a short period of time usually results in a "hangover" - headache, nausea, shakiness, and sometimes vomiting, beginning from 8 to 12 hours later.
  • A hangover is due partly to poisoning by alcohol and other components of the drink, and partly to the body's reaction to withdrawal from alcohol.
  • Combining alcohol with other drugs can make the effects of these other drugs much stronger and more dangerous.
  • In severe cases of alcohol addiction, sufferers may experience delirium tremens ('the DTs') when they withdraw from alcohol. Delirium tremens is a serious medical condition that can be fatal.