Muscle Relaxing Effects of Alcohol

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When you consume alcohol it causes muscle relaxing and anxiety reducing effects. Consistently using alcohol for this purpose, however, is discouraged by physicians due to the fact people can become psychologically and physically dependent on the effects. Also, while alcohol may have pleasant, relaxing effects in small doses, in larger ones it can be quite harmful.

Digestion of Alcohol

  • Unlike other foods, alcohol skips the normal digestion process, and about 20 percent of it is absorbed into the blood through the walls of the stomach. The remaining 80 percent is absorbed through the small intestine. This is why the muscle relaxing effects of alcohol are very quickly apparent after a first drink.

Central Nervous System

  • The brain, spine and nerves make up the central nervous system. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system making communication of the brain to the spine and nerves slower. Drinking a few drinks makes a person feel more relaxed because the communication between the brain and the nerves has slowed down. This is also why after many drinks, movement can be impaired.

Pain Tolerance

  • Because the nervous system is depressed and numbed after drinking alcohol, the nerves that run throughout the muscles do not register pain effectively. The muscles may seem to be relaxed when actually they are just acting as if they have been given a pain killer.

After Effects

  • While alcohol causes muscle and mental relaxation initially, after over-consumption withdrawal can produce the opposite effects. After a heavy night of drinking the central nervous system becomes overstimulated causing shakes, sensitivity to light and nervousness. Also, because alcohol is a diuretic, the entire body including the muscles are dehydrated, causing muscle weakness. In addition, the pituitary gland in the brain releases sporadic amounts of hormones which inhibit the body's ability to sleep.

References

  • Photo Credit drink image by andrew chambers from Fotolia.com
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