What causes drunkness?

  • Thread starter ShawnD
  • Start date
  • #1
ShawnD
Science Advisor
668
1
Is it the ethanol, the ethanal, or the ethanoic acid?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
loseyourname
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
1,782
5
It's the ethanol. It diffuses through cellular membranes at an amazingly fast rate, which is why you can get drunk pretty quickly if you drink fast enough, before anything has been metabolized. Initially, ethanol in the brain stimulates NMDA receptors in the cortex and hippocampus, which stimulates these areas and causes an increase in alpha-wave activity, associated with bodily relaxation. When you drink more, however, the receptors become unresponsive, and ethanol also causes GABA (an inhibitor) to flood certain parts of the brain, especially the hippocampus, which is thought to interfere with memory formation. I believe it is acetaldehyde that damages the liver, however. I'm not so sure about that one, though.
 

Related Threads on What causes drunkness?

  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
17K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
38
Views
8K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
26K
Replies
5
Views
3K
Replies
6
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
12
Views
24K
  • Last Post
Replies
11
Views
4K
Replies
1
Views
3K
Replies
22
Views
7K
Replies
3
Views
2K
Top