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Transcript of “Caffeine the ultimate party killjoy”
Most people have figured out that a useful strategy to sober up after several beers, is to order a strong black coffee. You’re strategically balancing the suppressing effects of the alcohol, with the stimulatory effects of caffeine. The caffeine alcohol strategy, works well and can save you from embarrassing moments.
But it is important to understand that drinking alcohol and caffeine TOGETHER is a health hazard, the consequences can be lethal.
Let the party begin
The first glass of alcohol will take the edge off (especially if you have a type A personality), as you “relax” or become “less inhibited”, you enjoy yourself and the people around you, a little more. It is much easier to chat, because the little voice in your head, which continually warns you to watch what you say and not act like a twit, finally goes silent. Jokes and you-tube videos, that are not particularly funny under normal circumstances, suddenly hit the funny bone.
You might feel a little sleepy at this point, especially if it has been a rough day, but you’re not asleep just “very” relaxed.
The next few drinks
The next few glasses might see you start to cross the line, from being sociable, to out of control, freaky weird or obnoxious. You can be verbally or physically abusive. This is because the brain circuits that ensure that you behave in socially acceptable ways, have stopped working. You do things that you often regret, but seldom remember all the details.
If you get behind the wheel of your car, the odds of having an accident are pretty high, because you are no longer able to judge distances very well and your reflexes have slowed to such a point that snails look speedy
You will find other circuits begin shutting down, so you are likely to find it a little difficult to co-ordinate your body. Walking in a straight line is likely to be a challenge, speaking is also likely to be more complicated and speech is typically slurred.
As you continue drinking, more and more circuits shut down.
Mother Nature to the rescue
Mother Nature has got your back.
At some point you will pass out, the passing out is your brain protecting itself – when you’ve passed out, you stop drinking. So more circuits can’t shut down, this is important, because if the circuits that remind you to breathe shut down, its tickets.
BUT caffeine allows you to continue …
A coffee gets you sobered up
The cup of strong black coffee, swigged down at the end of a dinner party, probably has 70 mg of caffeine in it. Enough to give you a little bit of a lift and produce that sobering up effect.
Certainly enough to compensate for the sleepy relaxed feelings brought on by the alcohol. So you’re awake enough to make it home. The relaxed sleepy feeling is GONE, so you struggle to fall asleep.
A red bull gets you buzzing
Energy drinks have at least double, often times even more caffeine in them, so they can potentially give you A BIG lift. The way caffeine is working, is it is “tricking” your brain into thinking you are not tired, effectively cancelling out the message that the alcohol is sending. Your brain gets mixed up.
The alcohol is turning your brain off. Caffeine is turning the circuits on. The overall result is instead of passing out, when more and more of the brain circuits switch off, you keep going.
Unfortunately you usually keep drinking, so the blood alcohol concentration keeps rising.
It appears that you are a party machine – you keep going and going, but inside your brain, vital circuits are shutting down one by one. The caffeine boost overrides the protective mechanism built into you, putting you at risk of forgetting to breath.
The risk is real – just this year a student at the university where I used to teach died. He was celebrating the end of exams, but instead of the exams being a milestone in his life, it ended up being a gravestone, when he choked on his own vomit i.e. he forgot to breath.
Play it safe
Party safely – don’t mix alcohol and caffeine.
Diet cold drinks are an easy way cut calories, BUT as you diligently cut those calories in your favourite drink, you inadvertently load up the alcohol levels.
So when you order that whiskey and lemonade be sure to ask for it in a straight sided glass if you want to avoid spending the night on the floor.
Only normal brain cells sober up after an alcohol soaking, neuronal stem cells tend to succumb, leaving you short on neuron replacement capabilities.
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