Drinking Liquor Without Getting Drunk- A General Perspective
Alcohol is a class of organic compounds with -OH (hydroxyl) group attached to the hydrocarbon chain. The hydrocarbon chain got its hydroxyl group through replacement of its hydrogen.
Among the many alcohols in the class, ethyl alcohol or ethanol is the alcohol in your alcoholic beverages: in table wines (10-13%), beers (4-5%), and distillled liquors (30% up).
Ethanol can be prepared through fermentation of sucrose and starches. It can also be prepared synthetically from ethene with the aid of a catalyst.
Ethanol being an antiseptic is also an alcohol in a rubbing alcohol. Hey! rubbing alcohol is for external use only. Don't let stupidity set in your mind to ever think of drinking it. You will get blind. Though, ethanol is the same wherever it is, it is not a beverage when in a mixture called rubbing alcohol. The ethanol in rubbing alcohol is denatured to render it not suitable for drinking, in order to save from government tax. Methanol can be one that manufacturer adds so that rubbing alcohol will not qualify as a beverage. It is the methanol in rubbing alcohol that can cause blindness in a dose of not more than 15 mL and death at higher dose.
Ethanol, though it is the alcohol in alcoholic beverages, is a poison. Too much of it can ruin your liver. It is oxidized in the liver and converted into aldehydes that may cause you to feel a "hang.over." Further, ethanol is metabolized into carbon dioxide, water, and ATP (adenosine triphosphate) or energy that when not used is turned into fat. Ethanol metabolism occurs mainly in the liver and continues by oxidation to acetaldehyde by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase then to acetic acid by the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase with a biochemical oxidizing agent NAD+, (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide).
Most people experience flushing sensation and redness in their skin; ethanol causes dilation of the blood vessels beneath the surface of the skin.
Some molecules of ethanol pass through without being metabolized which can be detected in the breath and urine. The rate of metabolism of ethanol defers from person to person. It ranges from 12 to 30 mg/dL in one hour(Timberlake, 2010, p.498). Drinking alcohol beyond your normal rate of metabolism increases the amount of ethanol molecules that are not metabolized. Ethanol can affect your motor coordination and pain perception. At lower blood alcohol concentration(BAC) at about 100mg/dL you may experience loss of balance, slurred speech, and amnesia. At higher blood alcohol concentration at about 300mg/dL can affect your voluntary responses to stimuli and you experience nausea and even loss of consciousness. At blood alcohol concentration of about 600mg/dL spontaneous respiration is much affected so as cardiovascular regulation, and may result to death. (refer to McMurry and Castellion, 1996) Evidently, ethanol that is not metabolized is harmful to tissues and organs. So, the body has to detoxify itself from alcohol. This is most likely to be the explanation why after a drinking spree I don't feel like doing anything but stay in bed sleeping, resting the entire day (hibernating, I may say).
If you keep on drinking alcoholic beverage soon you will be drunk. The title of the article if taken literally is indeed an exaggeration. However, getting drunk can be delayed (if you stop drinking in time without being drunk the title is then precise) if the basics in chemistry are applied. So how can we delay the process of being drunk? Of course all of us know this, but come on this is often overlooked or taken for granted. So here's some review of the basic chemistry.
DILUTION. Dilution is a process of decreasing the concentration of solution by adding more of its solvent. If you drink hard liquor follow it up with more water to dilute it decreasing the effect of alcohol. Putting some ice on the liquor is another way. Soon the ice will melt and dilute the alcohol.
VAPOR PRESSURE. In alcohol water mixture, alcohol being volatile, has higher vapor pressure compared to pure water. Thus, above the surface of the liquor, it is expected to be rich in ethanol vapor. So, Do not inhale it (the alcohol vapor). Hold your breath while you pour the liquor form the glass to your mouth and exhale the adhering ethanol vapor.
SUBLINGUAL ABSORPTION. Alcohol is made up of unit particles called molecules. These are small enough to be absorbed by the blood vessels under the tongue. Considering other factors equal, there are drugs bigger than ethanol molecules that are administered sublingually. Don't hold the liquor in your mouth for long. Swallow it at once. Of course, it is not practical to hold hard liquor in the mouth considering the stingy sensation but with extra srong beer such as Red Horse, about 7% alcohol( a popular beer in the Philippines)it doesn't hurt. Try holding extra strong beer in your mouth for a minute each shot before swallowing and see if there is a difference.
ABSORPTION. Drink when you have some food in the stomach and continue eating from time to time while drinking. The food will delay the absorption of the alcohol into your blood stream. Absorption is also influenced on how fast the stomach empties, the faster the stomach empties the faster the absorption of the alcohol. Foods rich in fat can stimulate the release of a hormone called enterogastrone by the duodenum. This hormone will inhibit the peristalsis in the stomach and thereby, decreasing the rate the stomach empties.
There are other factors that influence a person from becoming drunk. Here are some:
Mood. if you feel depressed you get drunk easily than when you are not.
Gene. Resistance to alcohol differs from person to person.
Size. A thinner person can easily get drunk than when he is big.
Health. A person can get drunk easily when sick than when he is not. ( Wouldn't it be stupid
to drink while sick?)
Sex. Females get drunk easily compare to males, considering other factors equal.
Experience. A person used to drinking develops some kind of resistance thus, can resist
better to alcohol than an inexperience one.
Studies are not consistent as to whether or not ethanol can increase body weight significantly. Some studies as presented by NIAAA found alcohol to decrease weight in men and women instead. However, personally, I believe alcohol is the culprit of my bulging stomach which could have been reduced if i exercised regularly. I also noticed that my appetite for food is enhanced after a drinking spree and it continues until the following day.
Months ago I was diagnosed as having a fatty liver. So, I decided to slow down my indulgence with alcohol.
To alcohol drinkers, Let's adhere to the old, common advice: "Drink Moderately."
McMurry J. and M.E. Castellion (1996). Fundamental of General, Organic, and Biological
Chemistry,2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc.
Sackheim, G.L. and Lehman (1998). Chemistry for Health Sciences. Upper Saddle River, New
Jersey: Simon and Schuster A Viacom Company Prentice Hall, Inc.
Timberlake, Karen(2010). General, Organic&Biological Chemistry: Structures of Life, 3rd ed.
Singapore: Pearson Education South Asia Pte Ltd
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NIAAA (2011). Alcohol Alert. In:
About.com Alcohol Metabolism. Retrieved July 17. 2011
Wikipedia.com(2011) Methanol.Retrieved July 17, 2011 from http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/methanol.