As Air India Mess Hogs Headlines, Here’s How Too Much Alcohol Can Make You Lose Control

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Last Updated: January 07, 2023, 15:29 IST

The effects of alcohol on the brain are well-known and if taken in large quantities, liquor can affect the drinker's impulse control. (Getty Images)

The results of alcohol on the mind are well-known and if taken in massive portions, liquor can have an effect on the drinker’s impulse management. (Getty Images)

The results of alcohol additionally rely on the tolerance limits of the buyer — the identical quantity could make totally different individuals act in a different way

The stunning incident of a person urinating on a lady passenger on board an Air India flight has sparked a debate on the satisfactory punishment for such an act. The indisputable fact that two such incidents got here to mild in the identical month — one on a New York-Delhi flight and one other on a Paris-Delhi flight — has led to a heated dialogue about serving alcohol on flights.

While some might pin the blame on the airways, it’s clearly the only duty of the liquor shopper to drink as per his capability. The results of alcohol on the mind are well-known and if taken in massive portions, liquor can have an effect on the drinker’s impulse management.

Explaining how liquor can impair decision-making capabilities, Jayant Mahadevan, assistant professor of psychiatry at Centre for Addiction Medicine in NIMHANS (Bengaluru), advised News18: “Alcohol is a disinhibiting agent. The degree of this effect depends on the dose. After a couple of drinks (60ml), people start talking more, become more jovial. As the intake increases, the degree of disinhibition increases and there might be slurring of speech. They might not be able to walk straight. When there is very high level of intoxication, some can become comatose. Beyond that, death too can occur.”

He added: “It is clear that the people in these flights were very intoxicated. They had lost their sense of judgment and impulse control. The part of the brain that controls impulses is the prefrontal cortex. Alcohol affects this part and as a result, a highly intoxicated person can indulge in socially inappropriate behaviour.”

Mahadevan stated: “Alcohol is a hydrocarbon (ethanol). It is believed that it increases the level of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is associated with disinhibition and also with sleep. Sleep medicines often increase levels of GABA. However, very high levels of this chemical can lead to total lack of social inhibition.”

The results of alcohol additionally rely on the tolerance limits of the buyer — the identical quantity could make totally different individuals act in a different way.

Dr Sujit Chadala, advisor doctor at Ankura Hospital for Women and Children in Hyderabad, says: “Breakdown of alcohol follows zero-order kinetics, which means it is excreted from a body at a persistent rate. However, different people have different levels of alcohol tolerance. Someone who is used to consuming alcohol will not become intoxicated easily, whereas the same amount can make another rookie drinker lose impulse control. Similarly, women can become more intoxicated with less amounts of alcohol due to lower body weight and surface area. However, they too can build tolerance after a period.”

So, does alcohol result in incontinence?

“No, there is no link between alcohol consumption and incontinence. However, alcohol is a diuretic which increases the volume of urine. So a person might need to pee several times when he is drinking. But he won’t lose any bladder control in the absence of other health issues,” the physician added.

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