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New Mexico State University

Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Tobacco

How does coffee affect levels of stress?

According to ABC News-Health, the caffeine found in coffee is a stimulant that can increase heart rate and blood pressure. These physiological reactions can give a person the feeling of being stressed. ScienceDaily adds, "’If you combine the effects of real stress with the artificial boost in stress hormones that comes from caffeine, then you have compounded the effects considerably.’" Basically, if you are experiencing stress due to school, work, or your personal life, drinking coffee would cause you to then feel even more stress.

 

What is the best way to get rid of a hangover?

While there are many factors involved with the severity of a hangover, dehydration is the most prevalent. A long, but very thorough explanation on the dehydrating effects of alcohol is extracted from Howstuffworks.com:

"When alcohol is consumed, it enters the bloodstream and causes the pituitary gland in the brain to block the creation of vasopressin. Without this chemical, the kidneys send water directly to the bladder instead of reabsorbing it into the body. This is why drinkers have to make frequent trips to the bathroom after urinating for the first time after drinking.

According to studies, drinking about 250 milliliters of an alcoholic beverage causes the body to expel 800 to 1,000 milliliters of water; that's four times as much liquid lost as gained. This diuretic effect decreases as the alcohol in the bloodstream decreases, but the aftereffects help create a hangover.

The morning after heavy drinking, the body sends a desperate message to replenish its water supply -- usually manifested in the form of an extremely dry mouth. Headaches result from dehydration because the body's organs try to make up for their own water loss by stealing water from the brain, causing the brain to decrease in size and pull on the membranes that connect the brain to the skull, resulting in pain."

To make a long story short: There is no one way to rid yourself of a hangover. No amount of black coffee, cold showers, or McGriddles will cure you of dehydration and related pains.   The best way to prevent a painful morning is to limit your drinking to a safe and tolerable amount, swap drinks with water throughout the evening, and be sure to re-hydrate yourself before going asleep.  

 

Do men even rape when they are drunk?

Assuming men are the only perpetrators of sexual assault is a dangerous assumption to make.   However, studies indicate that perpetrators have consumed alcohol in roughly one of three reported cases.   Similarly, the victim has consumed alcohol in approximately 2 of three reported cases.  

It is important to note that alcohol, above all other date-rape drugs, is most used to facilitate sexual assault.

 

How many drinks does it take to get drunk?

No two people are the same.   As such, the degree to which people can drink without becoming inebriated must be reviewed on an entirely individual basis.   This is because things like weight, gender, health related characteristics, beverage type, and the amount of time taken to consume any amount of alcohol all play into the meticulous process of becoming drunk .  

To gain a rough idea of your individual degree of drinking capacity, visit the WAVE drinking wheel at:  

http://www.nmsu.edu/~wave/alcohol/drink_wheel.php

 

Does Alcohol affect the entire body's reactive system (muscles)?

Yes, alcohol is a diuretic.   This effect can dehydrate the body and effect muscle performance.   Here are some commonly reported side-effects athletes feel even four or five days after consuming alcohol:

•  Dehydration
•  Problems with body heat regulation (endurance)
•  Reduced blood sugar levels
•  Impaired reaction times, coordination and balance
•  Reduced endurance, strength, and speed
•  Increased risk of injury

 

What pills should not be mixed with alcohol?

All pills, whether prescription or over-the-counter, could have potential negative side-effects when mixed with alcohol.   Consulting a physician is strongly recommended when deciding to mix pills (or any drug) with alcohol.   Reading the label or warnings on the prescription bottle can also aid in realizing the hazards associated with alcohol.

Does alcohol kill brain cells?

No, alcohol does not destroy brain cells, but it certainly can damage brain cells.   In some cases, the damage may even be permanent.   According to Roberta J. Pentney, professor of anatomy and cell biology at the University at Buffalo, the damage is usually temporary and is focused on the dendrites of the brain cell (the branched ends of nerve cells that bring messages into the cell).

This cellular damage can result in unresponsive motor skills, slurred speech, and a number of dangerous side effects.   To learn more about the side of effects of drinking, visit the WAVE Drinking Wheel at: http://www.nmsu.edu/~wave/alcohol/drink_wheel.php

 

Is there alcohol that is good for you?

An endless number of studies have concluded that alcohol, when taken in moderation, may have a positive effect in preventing various diseases and conditions.   Wine is frequently referenced for its healthy dose of antioxidants and ethanol.   Ethanol (the primary alcohol in liquid consumables) when taken in extreme moderation (no more than 1-2 drinks per day) has been linked with the prevention of heart disease, Alzheimer's,   and even strokes.   These positive side effects exist only when paired with a healthy lifestyle of proper dieting, exercise, and related activities.

The abuse of alcohol appears to work very differently.   The primary health concern associated with the abuse of alcohol is liver failure and the exacerbation of other (possibly pre-existing) health concerns.   People with diabetes, kidney or liver problems, and high blood pressure (or any illness) should consult a physician before consuming alcohol in any amount.  

 

Can you die from too much alcohol?

Yes, anyone can die from an overdose of alcohol.  

To better understand safe drinking habits, visit the WAVE drinking wheel at: http://www.nmsu.edu/~wave/alcohol/drink_wheel.php

 

How many beers does it take for a male to pass out?

No two people are the same.   As such, the degree to which men and women can drink without becoming inebriated must be reviewed on an entirely individual basis.   This is because things like weight, gender, health related characteristics, beverage type, and the amount of time taken to consume any amount of alcohol all play into the meticulous process of becoming drunk .  

To gain a rough idea of your individual degree of drinking capacity, visit the WAVE drinking wheel at:  

http://www.nmsu.edu/~wave/alcohol/drink_wheel.php

 

Does greasy food help you drink more?

No, this is a myth. A valve located at the bottom of the stomach opens and closes allowing foods (including alcohol) to be processed in the small intestine at different rates.   Greasy food, for some people, can irritate the stomach causing this valve to open and close.   Potentially, keeping this valve closed means you might process alcohol more slowly.   This cannot change the fact the alcohol must be processed.   Drinking too much, regardless of the rate of procession, can make people sick, drunk, comatose, or even kill them.

To better understand the natural processes of alcohol visit the WAVE Drinking Wheel at: http://www.nmsu.edu/~wave/alcohol/drink_wheel.php

 

Does drinking an energy drink sober you up faster?

No, drinking energy drinks does not help a person sober up at all. In all actuality, the only thing that can sober a person up is time. The stimulants found in energy drinks may help you feel more alert but the effects of alcohol is still there. When mixing energy drinks and alcohol you may feel less impaired but in actuality you are not, the alcohol is still in your system and you are still impaired. It is very dangerous for your body to think that you are not as drunk as you really are. There is also the fact that alcohol causes dehydration, and the caffeine in energy drinks is a diuretic, meaning that it causes the body to loose water. Therefore, you are more likely to become dehydrated when mixing energy drinks with caffeine which will increase the chances of having a hangover in the morning.