Alcohol and human health
Alcohol and human health

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Alcohol and human health

Conclusion

  1. The main acute effects of ethanol are on the nervous system, causing characteristic changes in behaviour and judgement. There are particular issues with regard to driving, with different countries setting various ‘safe’ limits for blood-ethanol concentration. Very high blood-ethanol concentrations can be fatal.

  2. Hangovers are unpleasant and are poorly understood. Various mechanisms have been proposed including direct effects of ethanol on organs, ethanol withdrawal, accumulation of acetaldehyde and the effects of other chemicals present in alcoholic drinks. Many treatments are in common usage but there is little evidence of any particular intervention being beneficial.

  3. Alcoholic liver disease results from excessive drinking and includes fatty liver (which is the early reversible stage) and the more serious alcohol-induced hepatitis and cirrhosis.

  4. Excessive drinking can also lead to nervous-system damage resulting in dementia, and shrinking of central nervous system tissue.

  5. Fetal alcohol syndrome can result from maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy. It involves disruption of fetal development causing CNS abnormalities, growth retardation and characteristic facial features.

  6. Treatment of liver disorders is difficult other than by abstinence.

SDK125_2

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus