The Effects of Alcohol i.e. The Daredevil drops Science Vol. 4


If you are taking any medication, it could increase the effects of alcohol. You should always consult your physician or the medical information that accompanies the medication when drinking alcohol in conjunction with any medication.


Fatigue causes many of the same symptoms that are caused by alcohol intoxication. These and other symptoms will be amplified if alcohol intoxication is concurrent with fatigue.


Tolerance is the diminution of the effectiveness of a drug after a period of prolonged or heavy use of that drug or a related drug (cross-tolerance). There are two types of tolerance at work with alcohol. The first is metabolic tolerancein which the alcohol is metabolized at a higher rate (up to 72% more quickly) in chronic users. Because of the higher metabolic rate for alcohol lower peak blood alcohol concentrations are achieved by chronic alcohol users than the average drinker when the same amount of alcohol is ingested. The second isfunctional tolerance in which there is an actual change in the organ or system’s sensitivity to the drug. Studies have shown that chronic alcohol users can have twice the tolerance for alcohol as an average person. It is important to note, however, that even in light of these tolerance factors, it has been shown conclusively that even in heavy alcohol users functional impairment is clearly measurable at the blood alcohol concentration levels that are currently used for traffic law enforcement and safety sensitive job performance.

Gender Differences

As outlined above in the section on Body Weight and Body Type, different body types coincide with different body water percentages. In general, but by no means in all cases, women tend to have a higher percentage of body fat and thus a lower percentage of body water. Therefore, in general, if a man and a woman of the same weight ingest the same amount of alcohol the woman will tend to achieve a higher alcohol concentration. This, of course, would not be true if the woman was very fit and the man was somewhat obese, but on average, this is the case. Furthermore, total body water tends to decrease with age, so an older person will also be more affected by the same amount of alcohol. According to the table below the differences in alcohol concentration due to average body composition differences based on gender would be between 16% and 10% depending on age.

Average Total Body Water as a Function of Sex and Age

Age Male Female
18 to 40 61% 52%
Over 60 51% 46%

Another gender based difference is in the elimination of alcohol. Although not explained, studies appear to show that women eliminate alcohol from their bodies at a rate 10% greater than that of men.

We will now get back to our normal criminal posts next week.

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