• Question: When alcoholics become dependant on alcohol, does their body getting better at removing the alcohol in their system, or do they simply get better at functioning with it in their system?

    Asked by 344perq48 to Vassilis, Tirso, Matthew, Dawn, Alexandra on 15 Mar 2019.
    • Photo: Vassilis Sideropoulos

      Vassilis Sideropoulos answered on 15 Mar 2019:

      Hmm very interesting question, but it’s none of the above. I am not an expert in the area, but I have read a couple of things around it.

      People who are dependant on alcohol they consume high amounts of it and their body is reacting. While some of these reactions are instant (stomach pains, vomiting etc.), there are some that are appearing in the long run (high blood pressure, stroke, coronary alcohol-related heart disease and alcohol-related liver disease.).

      Now we see that in the first instance the body is trying to remove the alcohol from the system (stomach pains, vomiting).However, people who consume huge amounts of alcohol “change” their tolerance to it. For example, they might not get as many instant effects of it (vomiting), but this is a good sign as research shows this is when the long run effects start appearing (high blood pressure, stroke etc.). [Tolerance = Higher Consumption = More Serious Health Problems]

      Regarding the second part of your question, there’s a plethora of research work that shows how functionality is decreased with alcohol consumption and it’s not only cognitive skills, but also physical. For example, memory is fading much faster as well as the body changes (less strength to exercise). So, we know that they don’t get better at functioning with it in their system.

      Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a broad term for any drinking of alcohol that results in mental or physical health problems – it’s an addictive behaviour and it is not very easy to understand. But there’s a lot of research around, you can have a look here: https://www.ukat.co.uk/alcohol/

      Also, where I work we do a lot of research around alcohol, we even have a bar lab, have a look here: http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/stories/psychology-facilities-pub-lab