A hangover is the result of drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. What constitutes an excess varies from person to person. For this reason, some people may have just a few drinks and experience a hangover while others can binge heavily and be relatively unaffected the next day. If you are experiencing a hangover, your focus is on getting over it as soon as possible. Time is a major factor in overcoming a hangover but there are several ways that you can help the process along. First it is important to understand why a hangover occurs.
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Cocaine and the Heart
Cocaine is a potent illicit stimulant produced from the leaves of the coca plant. It is widely used in the powder form which is inhaled or in the chunky form which is smoked (crack cocaine). Cocaine is often mixed with other substances to ‘cut’ the pure drug, thereby diluting it. Sometimes these fillers or bulking agents are inert substances while at other time it can be toxic compounds.
Cocaine may also be mixed with other drugs like amphetamines, heroin and morphine for a more potent narcotic effect. Cocaine induces a sense of euphoria due to stimulating a massive release of brain hormones (neurotransmitters) like dopamine which acts on the pleasure and reward center in the brain. It also has a host of other effects on almost every organ and system in the body.
The heart is in constant action throughout life. Sometimes it pumps harder during physical activity and at other times slower when a person is at rest or asleep. The wall of the heart is made up of three layers and the thickest section is smooth muscle known as the myocardium. It has an extensive blood supply through the coronary arteries to ensure an adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients.
The heart has a natural pacemaker that initiates its own electrical impulses. These impulses propagate through the heart wall to ensure that the upper chambers receiving blood (atria) contract separately from the lower chambers (ventricles) that push blood out of the heart. Nerve impulses from the brain and different hormones can also speed up or slow down the heart rate in response to different conditions.
What is delirium tremens?
Delirium tremens is a condition of major disruptions in the nervous system associated with severe alcohol withdrawal. In most cases it arises about 72 hours after stopping alcohol consumption but may occur even a week after. Delirium tremens is often associated with the typical image of an agitated person, who is confused, hallucinating, sweating and vomiting profuse and experiencing tremors. The presentation may vary from milder symptoms to a more extreme manifestation. It can lead to complications, some of which can be life threatening without proper management.
How common is delirium tremens?
Delirium tremens (DTs) is not a common occurrence in alcohol withdrawal. In fact, less than 50% of patient who discontinue alcohol consumption experience withdrawal symptoms. Only 5% experience DTs. The most severe manifestation of alcohol withdrawal symptoms is delirium tremens and is more likely to be seen in chronic alcoholism extending for about a 10 year period. However, excessive daily drinking for even a few months can elicit DTs with alcohol withdrawal.
What is alcohol poisoning?
Alcohol poisoning is a serious problem that can occur with drinking excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages in a short period of time. The quantity of the alcohol consumed and its byproducts after being metabolized may be toxic to the body. It can therefore result in several systems in the body shutting down and eventually failing, sometimes even leading to death. There are several different types of alcohol which should be differentiated from each other as some are not fit for human consumption. These other types of alcohol can be toxic in even small doses.
Types of Alcohol
The term alcohol can sometimes be confusing because it is a group of substances that are chemically similar. Ethanol is one type of alcohol and is usually found in alcoholic beverages. Although humans can consume ethanol, in large doses especially if this is ingested over a short period of time, it can be toxic. The other types of alcohol may not be meant to be consumed, but may be ingested accidentally or intentionally. The more common types of alcohol that may be consumed by humans, other than ethanol, is methanol, isopropanol or ethyl glycol.
Alcohol (ethanol / ethyl alcohol) is a widely use and commonly abused substance throughout the world. Intoxication, misuse and dependence on alcohol is not a new social ill and mankind has a history with alcohol spanning thousands of years. Consumption of alcohol in limited quantities is known to produce a sense of well-being along with reduction of anxiety and some degree of disinhibition. This encourages individuals to consume alcohol repeatedly and more frequently. The repeated use of alcohol produces tolerance to the effects of alcohol on the brain. To overcome the effect of tolerance, individuals tend to consume more alcohol to reach the same level of intoxication. The regular intake of increased quantities of alcohol leads to alcohol abuse (addiction).
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