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Title: Restored to Sanity What happens to someone who drinks 2,299500 cl of alcohol over a thirty year period.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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What happens to someone who drinks 2,299500 cl of alcohol over a thirty year period thats three 70 cl bottles of spirit a day. A. Impact o...
What happens to someone who drinks 2,299500 cl of alcohol over a thirty year period thats three 70 cl bottles of spirit a day.
A. Impact on Neurons (Brain Cells)
It has long been estimated that each drink of alcohol kills approximately 10,000
neurons. Recent scientific findings now suggest that the cells may not actually
die, but be "disconnected" as a result of drinking and not be able to perform their
tasks. Either way, neurons are specialized cells that do not reproduce. Alcohol
thickens the conductive material between brain cells, slowing down electrical
impulses - cell has trouble referring impulses from one cell to the next. Damage
to the brain caused by alcohol particularly affects the frontal lobes, making a
person unable to give up behavior patterns which are harmful. He is unable to
make long-range plans and use intellect for decision making. May take up to two
years for all functions to return, if they do at all.
B. Short-Term Memory Impairment
Alcohol interferes with brain functioning and can cause loss of memory,
particularly for recent events. Chronic drinking for ten days or more leads to
impaired protein synthesis which leads to brain cell damage. Memory tends to
return to normal after a period of abstinence from alcohol.
C. Blackouts
Short-term memory loss is like a period of amnesia. Quantity of alcohol
consumed seems to have no direct relationship to frequency of blackouts.
D. Seizures
Tend to occur from 7-48 hours after cessation of drinking. Commonly of the
grand mal type, but can also be petit mal seizures: 1-3% of all chronic abusers
will have seizures. Chronic alcoholism results in an abnormally elevated seizure
threshold followed by a period of lowered seizure threshold; this, plus decreased
blood alcohol level, altered electrolytes, and decreased blood glucose, can lead
to seizures. . Peripheral Neuropathy (nerve disease)
Vitamin B deficiency, especially thiamine, leads to peripheral neuropathy (tingling
and numbness in hands and feet). Vitamin B deficiency leads to impaired
production of the enzymes needed for maintaining the covering of the nerve
cells. This loss causes destruction of nerve cells which results in tingling and
numbness, as well as muscle weakness.
F. Ataxia (Loss of Balance)
Results of peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage)- loss of balance and
coordination occurs which results in the characteristic of the "wide based gait" in
order to keep balance. Late onset, generally develops over months of use, a
result of vitamin B deficiency
G. Insomnia, Nightmares
Large amount of alcohol disturbs REM sleep. Brain forces REM sleep, resulting
in dreams that are intense, nightmare in quality.
H. Hallucinations
Basically means that the brain is so sick and irritable that it sees, hears and feels
things that aren’t there. Agitated condition breaks through because alcohol has
raised agitation so high that no amount of current sedation can reduce it
I. Delirium Tremens
Late stage withdrawal phenomenon. Sensory input plus motor output has
become tremendous, and alcoholic is unable to stop moving.
All four stages of withdrawal present:
1. Hyperarousal,
2. Hallucinations,
3. Convulsive seizures,
4. Delirium Tremens.
Observable features include restlessness, increased blood pressure (especially
diastolic reading), increased pulse and low-grade temperature.
J. Wernicke Syndrome, Korsakoff Psychosis
Both caused by nutritional deficiencies, especially the loss of thiamine, plus toxic
effects of alcohol on nerve tissue
1. Wernicke Syndrome - Injury to the brainstem and areas near the third and
fourth ventricle of the brain - results in:
Diplopia (double-vision),
Hyperactivity and delirium. Responds rapidly to vitamins - this condition is
reversible with vitamin replacement. igns and symptoms: Confused, delirious and apprehensive. Characteristic
dysfunction: Nystagmus (eyes do not track together), ataxia.
2. Korsakoff Psychosis - Chronic brain damage caused by thiamine deficiency.
Sludging of dead red blood cell components in small capillaries results in cell and
tissue destruction due to hyposia (lack of oxygen); Damage occurs to the
cerebral cortex and peripheral nerve tissue.
Signs and symptoms: Severe disorientation, delirium, memory loss and
confabulation (hallmark sign - due to memory loss, the individual generally
makes up elaborate stories to cover the loss or to fill in holes in the memory).

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