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The science of alcohol
The science of alcohol

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Week 5: The short-term effects of alcohol


This week you will read about how the body processes and is affected by alcohol on an acute, or short-term, basis. Week 7 will consider the long-term effects of excessive alcohol consumption.

A photograph of a person holding a glass of water by a container of pain relief tablets.

You will first look at how the body reacts to the presence of alcohol and what immediate effects the consumption of alcohol has on the body’s systems. You will see why drinkers get hangovers and look at the best ‘cure’ or even whether a cure exists at all!

By the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • describe the process by which the ethanol molecule (alcohol) is broken down by the body
  • explain how the body reacts to the presence of alcohol and why it dulls the senses
  • discuss the reasons for a hangover and what is the ‘best’ way to get rid of one.