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Alcohol and Driving

Alcohol affects virtually every part of your body; however, the affect on your brain and central nervous system are what make you deadly behind the wheel of a car if you are intoxicated.

Alcohol is considered a depressant.  Quite simply stated, it increases the activity of inhibitor neurotransmitters and decreases the activity of excitatory neurotransmitters.  When the nerve cells in the brain are ‘sluggish’ in communicating with the rest of your brain and your body, the result is pronounced sluggish behavior on a large spectrum.

  • The first part of the brain to be affected is the Cerebral Cortex which results in inhibition of thought processes, impairment of the senses and an overall feeling of euphoria and self-confidence.
  • The next part of the brain to be affected is the Limbic System and the affect is pronounced emotional responses, such as excessive crying, anger and withdrawal.
  • The Cerebellum controls fine and gross motor movements and is the next part of the brain to be affected.  The affect is a general loss of coordination and balance.
  • Alcohol will then affect the Hypothalamus and the Pituitary Gland thereby causing increased sexual urges, decreased sexual performance and frequent urination.
  • Finally the Medulla is affected and dangerous or fatal conditions can result.  The Medulla controls all of the bodily functions that you do not normally think about, such as breathing, temperature, consciousness and heart rate.  Massive amounts of alcohol affecting the Medulla will cause loss of consciousness and even death.

If an individual suffered a head injury that impaired any of the brain systems mentioned above, it is unlikely that you would encourage them to operate a motor vehicle.  Shouldn’t the same principle apply if you’ve voluntarily impaired these brain systems with alcohol?  Alcohol and driving do not mix! Period!

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