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Updated - wednesday 11th of july 2018

Alcohol and mixtures

Author : Éduc'alcool

Introduction

In Western culture, having a drink after work nicely highlights the beginning of a well-deserved rest period. Consuming alcohol often indicates a break with routine and organized life. This break has a symbolic meaning, it sounds the time of recreation!

In Quebec, polls reveal that alcohol is consumed, especially during social events, family or friends gatherings and parties. Consumption is thus associated with conviviality and pleasure.

Moreover, besides alcohol, other substances - and other behaviors - are also symbols of happy downtime. For many, having a good meal, a coffee or an energy drink is a way to take a break. Gambling, using tobacco or drugs, soft or soft, are also ways to make a break with routine.

Alcohol is therefore often consumed with other products.

Unfortunately, alcohol does not mix well. When combined with other substances, the specific properties of alcohol can produce an explosive combination!

With the exception of the alcohol and food combination, there are risks of consuming alcohol with other products. To understand the biological explanations of these combinations and to better grasp the stakes makes it possible to modify its behavior.

Green light: a happy mix

There is only one substance that, taken with alcohol, has beneficial effects on health, and that is food.

The presence of food in the gastrointestinal system has a positive effect on the assimilation of alcohol in the blood. The type of food ingested also plays an important role. In fact, the fatter the food, the slower is the passage of alcohol from the stomach to the intestine and the longer the alcohol assimilation time, thus decreasing the blood alcohol level of a patient. individual.

It must be remembered that high BACs have adverse health effects and cause many falls, quarrels and road accidents.

On the other hand, the beneficial effects of slow moments of pause and consumption go beyond pure physiology and extend to another biological phenomenon, pleasure! Wine, cider or beer, tasted in harmony with food, add to the pleasure of enjoying the pleasure of being together.

• ALCOHOL AND FOOD

Studies show that those who drink alcohol after eating a meal high in fat, protein and carbohydrate take up alcohol about three times more slowly than those who consume alcohol on an empty stomach . But it goes without saying that we should not conclude that we should eat meals high in calories, protein and carbohydrates.

Harmonizing the food and wine well brings about an increase in gourmet sensations, reaching a level of quality that would not have been achieved if the food and wine had been consumed individually. A good marriage between food and wine also takes into account a balance of flavors, depending on the time of day, the current season and the type of meal taken.

A beer, a cider, a whiskey or any other aperitif that sounds the time of the break should be accompanied by appetizers, such as nuts or pieces of cheese.

In health and alcohol studies, it is important for researchers to consider drinking contexts, since drinking alcohol during a meal can have some health benefits. It is true, however, that many works do take these contexts into consideration.

• ALCOHOL IN COCKTAILS

For the same reasons of ingestion, it is better to mix with cocktails pure fruit or vegetable juices - 100% natural - rather than carbonated or flavored drinks with low nutritional value.

If a soda or flavored must absolutely be added to a cocktail, it is best not to be a diet, because sugar helps to better metabolize alcohol. A recent Australian study - conducted with young men - shows that alcohol passes more quickly from the stomach to the blood and that alcohol concentration in the blood reaches a higher level if the cocktails are made with an artificially sweetened drink. - diet type - only if they are made with naturally sweetened juice.

Orange light: vigilance is essential

• ALCOHOL AND COFFEE

When consumed in moderation, the alcohol-coffee mixture is not contraindicated. Taking alcohol and coffee together, mixed or not, is not harmful in itself; it is even a widespread practice for a very long time. Alcoholic coffees that bring out the aromas of the mix are appreciated at the end of a meal.

By cons, a person can sometimes take coffee with alcohol for reasons other than gluttony, especially after drinking too much, to try to mask the symptoms of intoxication.

It wants to counterbalance the negative effects of alcohol by taking coffee, which is a depressant that acts on the central nervous system and slows brain function affecting judgment, emotions and behavior. Coffee, on the other hand, contains caffeine - a known stimulant - and chemical agents that stimulate the production of cortisone and adrenaline - which are hormones - as well as other stimulants.

Studies have shown the antagonistic effects of caffeine and alcohol. In an individual, caffeine can slightly reduce the effects of drunkenness so that it can perform certain psychomotor tasks. That being said, drinking coffee after drinking does not restore all the faculties necessary to drive a motor vehicle.

In fact, the amount of coffee consumed does not influence the blood alcohol level.

Whoever consumes coffee or alcohol together or in sequence should always remember that he or she may be underestimating his or her own blood alcohol level. If the stimulating effects of coffee manage to alleviate some of the depressant effects of alcohol, it is physiologically impossible for coffee to lower blood alcohol levels and "de-boil"! The alcohol-coffee mixture therefore calls for vigilance, since it can have unfortunate consequences, particularly in driving or any other activity requiring attention.

• ALCOHOL AND ENERGY DRINK

In recent years, soft drink market shares have been lost in favor of energy drinks. These drinks are consumed for the same reasons that coffee is drunk, or for the stimulating effect they provide.

If it is the urban legend that these drinks owe their power to sperm or bull's urine, it is true that these drinks contain taurine, glucuronolactone and the equivalent of a cup of coffee. caffeine, 80 mg.

The consumption of energy drinks, however, is different from that of coffee. Since energy drinks are eaten cold and packaged for fast consumption, the effects of caffeine are felt much faster than with coffee, which is usually served hot and drunk more slowly.

To learn more: Alcohol and energy drinks: really not strong!

• ALCOHOL AND GAMES OF CHANCE AND MONEY

There is a causal relationship between alcohol abuse and pathological gambling. There are more pathological gamblers among people who misuse than in the general population. Conversely, we observe that pathological gamblers are more likely to consume abuse than what is observed in the general population.

Over the past decade, several studies have been done to understand the links between alcohol abuse and pathological gambling. To date, the reasons for this comorbidity have not been clearly identified, but both behaviors appear to have common causes.

Both alcohol abuse and pathological gambling are addictive behaviors that indicate a loss of control and engender obsessive thoughts about alcohol or gambling. Despite awareness of the consequences harmful to these habits, addicts maintain their abusive behavior.

Both in people who misuse alcohol and in those who play pathologically, there are changes in the centers of the brain that are responsible for pleasure and emotions. Both behaviors accompany a disruption of the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie impulses and rewards.

Clinical studies have highlighted the limitations of genetic explanations and emphasized the need to look at contextual factors as well. The comorbidity of alcohol abuse and pathological gambling is explained by the fact that the excessive consumption of alcohol disinhibits pathological gambling. Gambling and gambling often happen when you drink alcohol.

It is generally accepted that if consumption exceeds the threshold of moderation, alcohol adversely affects cognitive functions. Alcohol decreases judgment and increases the propensity to take risks. A high blood alcohol level reduces attention for more immediate and important facts.

It is possible that with gambling and gambling, even a small amount of alcohol is harmful. In an experimental study, a placebo - a moderate dose of alcohol - was administered to social drinkers. These individuals then had to participate in games of chance and it turned out that, compared to sober individuals, those who had been drinking had more difficulty in assessing the magnitude of the possible gains and the real chances of winning. when the risk of loss was high.

People with elevated blood alcohol levels would therefore be less able to assess the real chances of earnings and would be less inclined to recall losses in the past. The contextual explanations complement the observations made by brain imaging.

The causal relationship between alcohol and pathological gambling can not be explained with certainty. It is not necessarily the excessive consumption of alcohol that gives rise to pathological gambling, since other research has rather shown that it would be pathological gambling that would lead to misuse. It can not be ruled out that, for some, gambling has led to an increase in alcohol consumption, while for others the relationship is in the opposite direction.

Éduc'alcool finds it necessary to warn that individuals who enjoy gambling and gambling should avoid drinking alcohol. The alcohol-game mixture increases the risk of playing inappropriately or even pathologically.

Red light: be careful!

• ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO

Data collected from the general population show that smokers consume more alcohol than non-smokers, that alcohol users smoke more than abstainers, that heavy drinking is associated with a high level of alcohol consumption. tobacco consumption and that a large majority of alcoholics smoke. Alcohol and tobacco are two products that seem to call each other to form a couple.

Three explanations have been made to account for this correlation between alcohol consumption and smoking.

• Both have similar contextual risk factors, that is, they are both associated with moments of respite. Until recently, alcohol and tobacco were the main products available in recreational areas, including liquor stores. Anyone who went for a drink was almost guaranteed to be surrounded by smokers and smoking incentives.

• Alcohol and tobacco use also have the same genetic and psychiatric risk factors. Studies to date have been conducted in laboratory rats, but there appears to be a consensus that there are common pathophysiological risk factors associated with the development of addiction in humans. alcohol and nicotine. This vulnerability - which is not genetic, but due to early use - would explain why the smoking of alcoholics is about 85%, which is three times higher than that observed in the general population.

• What is surprising about the alcohol-tobacco mixture is the association between episodic alcohol consumption and occasional tobacco consumption. Many social smokers or weekend smokers develop a sudden, sharp craving for a cigarette when they consume alcohol improperly. In the same way, the one who has stopped smoking often has the misfortune to start again during a well-watered evening. These phenomena are due to the pharmacological interaction between alcohol and tobacco, which is manifested by an intense physical need to smoke, a state of cravings.

• ALCOHOL AND DRUGS

It is mainly drug addicts who mix alcohol with drugs or drugs obtained illegally. In the general population, those who seek thrills, especially young people - whose taste for new experiences is pronounced - may risk this type of dangerous mixture.

The alcohol-drug mixture is generally designed to increase the pleasurable effects of a substance or to reduce unpleasant effects, such as anxiety or drowsiness. Regardless of the reasons why an individual mixes alcohol and drugs, this mixture creates a pharmacological interaction that can be extremely dangerous or even fatal.

One of the great dangers of alcohol-drug mixing is that its effects are impossible to predict. The factors likely to influence the effects are so numerous that it is impossible to consider them simultaneously exactly. They depend on, for example, the actual mixture, dose, route of administration, order of administration, socio-cultural context, age, sex, weight, nutritional status. , the state of health and the psychological state of the consumer.

• ALCOHOL AND MEDICINES

Some medications, including over-the-counter medications, such as painkillers, may reduce the elimination of alcohol, increase its effects, mask it, or cause unpredictable reactions. Conversely, alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of drugs or hinder their elimination. People taking medication should find out about contraindications before consuming both at the same time. Keep in mind that both alcohol and drugs are eliminated by the liver and that, as a general rule, it is best to abstain from taking drugs.

• ALCOHOL AND CANNABIS

In Quebec, cannabis use is not exceptional. Current cannabis users - marijuana and hashish - account for 15.8% of Quebeckers aged 15 and over. In addition, 46.4% of Quebecers say they have used this drug at least once in their lifetime. It is impossible to know if several of them mix this product with alcohol, but if so, a warning is necessary.

There is a reinforcing synergy between these two products, which means that the depressant effects of alcohol and those of cannabis are multiplied. Judgment, reaction time and coordination are obviously affected, so driving is absolutely contraindicated.

Since cannabis affects the part of the brainstem associated with the visceral sensations of nausea and vomiting, the combination of alcohol and cannabis can be particularly dangerous or even fatal. In fact, when a person consumes too much alcohol and risks poisoning, his natural reaction is to vomit. By eliminating the reflex of vomiting, cannabis increases the risk of ethyl poisoning.

• ALCOHOL AND OTHER ILLEGAL DRUGS

In the general population, only 2.5% of Quebecers consume cocaine, speed, ecstasy or other hallucinogens. They must be discouraged from mixing alcohol with narcotics, stimulants or hallucinogens.

These mixtures may create an antagonism where the properties of one substance may suppress or mitigate the effects of the other. This has serious consequences, since the person then becomes unable to perceive the effects of a substance on his or her body. In other words, although the state of euphoria is less pronounced, the physical effects on various organs and functions are no less so.

By mixing alcohol with stimulants, an additive synergy can be created that increases the risk of overdose of one or other of the substances. For example, using alcohol with a stimulant such as cocaine increases the rate at which alcohol is diffused into the body, thus the speed at which it reaches the brain. This has the effect of significantly increasing the concentration of alcohol in the blood, so it is as if the person had drunk very quickly.

Violet fire: serious danger

Despite all the aggravating or mitigating factors, it is undeniable that one of the most dangerous alcohol-drug mixtures is one where alcohol - which is a sedative - is taken together with another sedative, that is, say a barbiturate, a benzodiazepine or an antihistamine. Sedatives such as PCP (mescaline, mess, horse, angel dust, TH) and ketamine (Special K, vitamin K, ket, ketty) are found in street vendors.

When alcohol is combined with this type of psychoactive substance, a reinforcing synergy is created, which means that the combination of depressant effects is greater than the sum of these effects taken separately. This type of combination can lead to extreme depression of the central nervous system ranging from confusion to unconsciousness and death.

Conclusion

The mixing of alcohol with other substances is a common practice and quite common. In the case of tobacco and drugs - any consumption of which should be banned - alcohol mixing is obviously contraindicated. Consumption of alcohol with other sedatives is absolutely forbidden. In addition, when ordering any medication, it is always prudent to ask the pharmacist if alcohol consumption is permitted or contraindicated.

On the other hand, when it comes to mixing alcohol with coffee and with energy drinks, or when combined with games of chance, we are talking about vigilance. Indeed, mixing alcohol with one of these products is not necessarily harmful. On the other hand, when these products are mixed excessively with alcohol, serious problems may occur.

On the contrary, mixing alcohol and food is advisable and he can even be happy.

The effects of mixing alcohol with other substances or activities remind us once again that when there is alcohol ... moderation tastes better!

For more information, visit www.educalcool.qc.ca


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