The physical effects of alcohol consumption can vary drastically between individuals. Factors such as body weight, gender, age and physical condition all influence your body's ability to metabolize alcoholic drinks. Some individuals may experience unpleasant side effects such as stomach discomfort, lightheadedness or headaches after consuming alcohol, while others may not. Know how to measure alcohol serving sizes and gauge your own individual reactions to specific drinks before indulging in an evening out with friends.
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Level of Alcohol Consumption
Liquor, beer and wine all have different serving sizes. A serving of liquor is 1.5 oz., the serving size for wine is 5 oz. and one beer is 12 oz. As such, consuming 5 oz. of liquor will result in much higher levels of intoxication and physical side effects than consuming 5 oz. of beer or wine. Consuming moderate to large amounts of alcohol presents a risk that you will experience unpleasant side effects.
Physical Side Effects
Alcohol is metabolized by your liver, and the rate of metabolism is affected by factors such as how much food and water you consumed prior to drinking, your body weight, your age, how often you drinking alcohol and any medications you use. Excess alcohol consumption can also result in an excess of toxins in your system, which can produce stomach discomfort, nausea, headache, anxiety and dizziness. In addition, some individuals may have physical sensitivities to ingredients in alcohol such as sulfur dioxide, preservatives, grains, sugars or flavoring.
Alcohol and Dehydration
Alcohol can also have dehydrating effects on the body, and when you consuming multiple alcoholic drinks, you can lose body fluids and electrolytes. If you do not replace the fluids by consuming water or electrolyte-enriched drinks you'll likely suffer physical symptoms of dehydration, including headache, lightheadedness and upset stomach.
Alcohol and Blood Sugar
Consumption of alcoholic beverages can also affect blood sugar levels. As your blood sugar levels drop after consuming an alcoholic beverage, you can experience physical symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, headache and abdominal discomfort. These responses are highly individual and are directly affected by the type of drinks you consume, how much you eat prior to drinking and your overall physical health.
Nervous System Response
Alcohol also has a depressant effect on the central nervous system. Alcohol intoxication affects your brain's neurotransmitters, which directly control your thoughts, feelings and mood. If you consume alcohol, you may experience disruptions to the balance of your neurotransmitters, and this can result in feelings of fatigue, depression or anxiety. Both abdominal discomfort and lightheadedness are symptoms associated with anxiety.