After alcohol is absorbed and it rushes through the entire bloodstream, it quickly affects the drinker. Even in small doses, alcohol makes an impact on the central nervous system. It causes the central nervous system to slow down and the individual to relax.
Inhibitions are reduced increasingly, in accordance with the amount of alcohol consumed. As alcohol readily crosses the blood-brain barrier, it affects all areas of the brain. Vision, response time, judgment, decision-making, muscle movements, and speech are all negatively impacted.
The impairment of the central nervous system occurs in relation to the concentration of alcohol in the bloodstream. Thus measures of blood alcohol content are helpful in determining the level of impairment.
While the legal limit for driving, in most states, is .08, the American Medical Association, through scientific knowledge and years of research, identify .04 grams per 100 milliliters of blood as the level of impairment following human consumption of alcohol.
Different individuals have varying levels of tolerance of alcohol and factors like muscle mass, gender, fatigue, and diet can all impact how alcohol is absorbed. Thus it is important for individuals to take responsibility for knowing their own limits and carefully monitoring the effects of the alcohol they’ve consumed, especially if they plan to drive.