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So during a drinking party, where does one draw the line between a social drinker, a heavy drinker and an alcoholic? Binge drinking more than twice a week is considered alcohol abuse. One drink a day is not alcohol abuse, in fact it is healthy. The effects of alcohol abuse vary greatly between people. Alcohol is a depressant which subdues the activities of the central nervous system. This causes varying effects depending on the blood alcohol content (BAC). The depressant effect can vary from muscular relaxation to alcohol induced coma. The effects of alcohol in average sized people based on BAC is given below:0.01 - 0.03% BACAverage individuals appear absolutely normal at this level. This corresponds to one regular drink (45ml or 1.5oz) for an average sized male or female. One experiences a feeling of warmth in the belly after a single drink. That is why people in wintry countries consume alcohol to keep warm.0.031 - 0.059% BACAt this level, the drinker experiences a mild euphoria and sense of well being. This is where the depressant effect of alcohol plays on the nervous system and relaxes the muscles and nerves. This is the ideal state of intoxication where people are happy, relaxed, talkative and more extroverted and in general enjoying themselves.0.06 - 0.1% BACAfter 2 or 3 drinks, people tend to lose their inhibition. They are happy, smiling and gregarious. The talkativeness and extroversion at this level is what makes alcohol a social lubricant. However, this is also the point where the physiological effects of alcohol is visible on the body. The first physical function to be affected in peripheral vision and depth perception. Which is the primary reason why its is considered a legal offense to be Driving Under Influence (DUI) if the BAC is greater than 0.08%in many countries.0.11-0.20% BACAt this level is where a person would be called drunk, or indulging in binge drinking after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men. Boisterous and rowdy behavior characterizes this stage. Most social decorum is forgotten and can cause embarrassment to the drinker. Accompanied by emotional mood swings and aggressive behavior in the mental side; and decreased motor co-ordination, staggering, slurred speech and slow reaction time in the physical side is noticed at this stage. This is the point at which one must immediately stop drinking.0.21 - 0.30% BACMemory loss, disorientation, depression, stupor, motor skills impairment and loss of communication commonly occur at this point. This is the stage at which alcohol poisoning also occurs. The most common physical reaction is nausea and vomiting. This is the body's attempt to get rid of the excess alcohol which happens when the stomach lining gets irritated due to excess alcohol.0.31 - 0.40% BACSerious alcohol poisoning occurs with unconsciousness, loss of bladder control, erratic heart beat and breathing. The body goes into full mental and physical depression and the person may succumb to an alcohol induced coma at this stage. Alcohol poisoning maybe fatal at this point unless immediately taken to hospital, where detoxification must be immediately done to purge the body of the alcohol using medication or emetics (to induce vomiting).> 0.4% BACMost people never return after this point. They will be comatose and unless hospitalized immediately. This level of alcohol poisoning is fatal and most of the time death occurs.
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