The effects of alcohol

I’ve recently imbibed rum and ginger ale.

I’ve experienced some light disorientation. The tips of my ears are warm and slightly tingly. My body temperature seems to have risen high enough to make me somewhat sweaty.


What causes these (somewhat entertaining) physiological effects (beyond the obvious?)

Thats the ginger ale.

Drink more alcohol and report back later. A lot more.

Alcohol is a vasodilator. The relaxing of blood vessels may permit additional blood flow through the extremities and be sensed as a warming feeling.

also a CNS depressant

To expand on this, nion’s body temperature did not rise. Drinking alcohol to warm up if you are cold will cause the opposite in the long run. You will feel warmer on the surface, but this very warming will accelerate your heat loss.

That may explain why my sex drive is so high the day after I’ve had a few too many. Interesting. Had always wondered about that.

Actually, it sounds like the OP may be describing a mild case of the so-called, “Alcohol Flush Reaction” which is not due to alcohol causing vasodilation. Rather, the flush and some other symptoms are due to the presence one of the breakdown products of alcohol called acetaldehyde.

Some people (especially those of Asian descent) metabolize alcohol rather quickly thus rapidly elevating their blood levels of acetaldehyde, leading to the reaction.

This link has a good picture of what the reaction looks like and a concise listing of its various symptoms.

I don’t think that counts as an “extremity” :slight_smile:

Anyway, the effect would not persist into the following day.

Hah! And here I thought I was the only one who experienced that. Now why does that happen, and why the next day? Especially being hung over as all hell and generally feeling clobbered. Never made sense to me.

Doesn’t sound like a very good match for me, but still interesting reading! Thank you for sharing. :slight_smile:

My best guess is consuming a moderate amount of alcohol (which I may do once in a night maybe two to three days in a week) is causing me to have a more pronounced reaction than those who are better at holding their liquor. A good frame of reference is that rum and ginger ale of mine often leads me to a bout of giddiness before all is said and done.

I’m enjoying seeing what everyone has to say. :slight_smile:

Not only that, but taking blood away from your core will put your vital organs at risk, even as you feel toasty warm. I seem to remember reading that this was a common problem with sailors in earlier centuries who would freeze to death on deck.

In college biology many moons ago, we learned that the main culprit in the “feeling clobbered” hangover were the ketones in the alcohol. And depending on the exact type of ketone and brain sensitivity, you might have a raging hangover, or you might have no hangover at all.

I can drink Whisky or Ouzo til I fall over, and the next day I feel great. With beer, I feel kind of iffy the next day. And white wine will just about kill me the next day with headaches and general hangover feeling, even if I drink only 3 glasses.

Is the ketone explanation still the one given, or has science found something new? Are the ketones maybe playing around with the libido as well?

Do people occasionally die from drinking hard liquor that has been in their coat pocket in severe sub-zero temperatures?

Yeah, one problem is that dilated blood vessels provide

  1. More surface area of blood vessels towards the top level of skin
  2. A thinner layer of skin directly between it and the air (correct me on this part, I’m pretty sure it pinches the skin aside slightly, but I might be wrong)

Meaning that heat transfer between the air and your blood happens a lot faster, meaning you freeze faster.