Theres a wholelot of things thatpeople stuff intheir faces. Someof them keepthose peoplealive. Some ofthem taste goodto those people.Some of themhelp those peoplewin pie-eatingcontests. Alcoholdoes none ofthose things. Whydo people keepputting it in theirbodies? And whatdoes it do once itgets there?Alcohol heads for the digestive system and because its water soluble, gets intothe water in the bloodstream. Because ethanol, to a certain extent, can movethrough lipids, it can pass through cell membranes. Between that and thebloodstream, it can go pretty much anywhere. It spreads through the muscles,
and is exuded –unmetabolized and whole – through the skin. It gets into theheart. It even takes a walk through the brain, and this is the secret of its powers.Once there, alcohol acts on a certain part of the brain, the nucleus accumbens.This area is a midpoint between the reward center of a brain and the parts thatmake associations and memories. Alcohol causes a bunch of dopamine to bereleased in the nucleus accumbens, hot-wiring the system. It makes people feelgood.It also makes people feel confident and talkative, although its considered adepressant. It depresses brain function. Alcohol isnt confined to the rewardcenter of the brain. Instead it wanders all around the brain. When nervescommunicate with each other, one gives off a certain chemical. The other picksup the chemical with its receptors, and once it picks up enough, it gets activateditself. Alcohol binds to many kinds of receptors. It holds on to glutamatereceptors, but doesnt activate them. Glutamate is what excites neurons, so ifmany glutamate receptors are blocked, a certain stimulation that would activatethe brain gets a slower, or depressed response. Alcohol also binds to GABA(gamma aminobutyric acid) receptors. These it does activate, but GABA receptorsslow the brain down. This helps a drunk person feel calm and sleepy, and itfurther depresses brain activity. This is also why caffeine feels like it ‘sobers aperson up, but doesnt. Caffeine may help people not feel sleepy, but it cantunblock those receptors.Everyone knows that too much alcohol at once can kill people, but how? As saidbefore, alcohol depresses the nerves, and the nerves affect pretty much everyarea of the body. Enough alcohol makes people sleep and suppresses the gagreflex, so people who are passed out choke on their own vomit. Most worrying,always, is alcohol stomping around in the brain. Even at its most primitive, thebrain controls things like breathing and heart rate. However, enough alcohol canshut down those parts of the brain just like any other part. People pass out andtheir brains simply forget to breathe.Alcohol is broken down in the liver, at some cost to the liver itself. Alcohol doesntdestroy the liver, but products that the liver breaks the alcohol into do cause
damage. Meanwhile, any alcohol that isnt metabolized wanders around thebody, coming out in urine from the kidneys, seeping from the skin, or beingbreathed out by the lungs.Not that alcohol doesnt have its good side. Depending on what articles are to bebelieved, a glass of wine per day can either not do any harm, can prevent heartattacks, or can make someone functionally immortal. And it is kind of nice toknow that sometimes, relaxation and cheer can literally be bottled. All thatsneeded is to take care how much alcohol is let into a persons brain.