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Alcohol is widely used in society for both its social and medicinal benefits. It is readily derived in nature from fermentation. Taken in excess, it is one of the most toxic substances in society from the perspective of both behavioral and physical damage to the body. Alcohol is a sedative hypnotic that has euphoric and disinhibitory effects, explaining why some see it as a “social lubricant.” As the dose of alcohol increases to levels associated with binge drinking, however, disinhibition gives way to motor impairment, muscular incoordination, impairments in reaction time, impairments in judgment, impairments in sensory processing, and impairments in cognitive function – all behavioral effects that contribute to its behavioral toxicity. The chronic use of alcohol can lead to alcoholism, and numerous other medical diseases can also result from chronic alcohol use.
The challenge for future research is to identify how receptor proteins, neurons, and circuits convey the vulnerability to excessive and compulsive drinking associated with substance use disorders on alcohol.
If you NEED HELP WITH YOUR OR A LOVED ONE's ADDICTION, please CALL toll-free (872) 666-9868 - compassionate and caring people are waiting for your call right now!
Alcohol; abuse; addiction; behavioral effects; pharmacokinetics; toxicity; Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome; fetal alcohol syndrome; alcohol tolerance; neurobiological mechanisms