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Opinions - Different Types of Alcohol Give Different Effects?

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by Lunar Loops, Dec 14, 2006.

  1. Lunar Loops

    Lunar Loops Driftwood Platinum Member & Advisor

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    This from The Guardian (UK):
    What's your poison?


    [FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Many of us would like to believe that different types of alcohol can produce very different effects. If only it were that simple, reports Emine Saner

    [FONT=Geneva,Arial,sans-serif]Tuesday December 12, 2006
    The Guardian


    Tequila makes me violent and vodka sneaks up on me like an evil assassin of drunkenness. Gin, on the other hand, turns me mean. We are convinced that different drinks produce different effects yet, so far, science has failed to prove this.
    "A lot of this is folk memories and cultural hangovers," says Dr Paul Clayton, pharmacologist and president of the forum on food and health at the Royal Society of Medicine. "A lot of it depends on what mood you were in when you started drinking and the social context. The idea that gin makes you unhappy probably comes from its nickname "mother's ruin" - the idea that it makes women depressed, which is a cultural idea. But fundamentally, alcohol is alcohol whichever way you slice it."
    Can the effects just be psychological? "I associate gin and tonic with a real pick-me-up, end-of-the-day reward drink," says Victoria Moore, the Guardian's wine writer. "Because it's not wine, it's not 'work' and I don't feel obliged to write notes, and so it never fails to make me feel buoyant and great. Personally, I find whisky the weirdest thing - it makes me feel solemn, lucid and sober. Even when I'm clearly not."

    "The effects of alcohol are similar, whichever form they come in," says Dr Guy Ratcliffe, medical director of the Medical Council on Alcohol. "Any difference is dependent on the rate at which it is drunk and the amount. Alcohol is a simple molecule that is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. So if you drink a few shorts - spirits are generally 40% ABV [alcohol by volume] - quickly, you'll get a rapid increase in your blood alcohol level." Wine is usually enjoyed leisurely with meals. Tequila slammers, however, are usually done after a heavy drinking session.
    Similarly, says Moore, "I strongly refute the idea that port gives you worse hangovers. Think about it: when do you drink port except after a four-course meal and about 10 bottles of wine? And then everyone blames the last drink."
    Champagne gets me stumbling around quickly but this is likely to be because I only ever drink it at parties without eating properly. "And, says Dr Ratcliffe, "there is some evidence that because of the bubbles you can actually inhale the 'fumes' as you sip." It is also believed to be absorbed more quickly because it is carbonated.
    Mixers make a difference too. All alcohol is a depressant and a sedative but drinking vodka with Red Bull or Coca-Cola (loaded with sugar and caffeine) will obviously have a different effect than drinking it neat. "Alcohol is a disinhibitor, it switches off the nerves in the frontal cortex - which tells us not to be an idiot or try to chat up the boss's wife at the Christmas party," says Dr Clayton. "It's activating, arousing, energising. Drinking alcohol with caffeine will be more of a stimulant. Until the alcohol knocks you sideways."
    Guinness, on the other hand, is supposed to be good for you - a 1920s ad campaign said so. English hospitals fed it to patients after operations and blood donors were encouraged to drink it because it was thought to be high in iron. Even pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers were advised to drink it - advice that has since been withdrawn. In fact it only contains around 1.1mg of iron per pint (the recommended daily allowance for women is 14mg). One study, however, at Wisconsin University, found that Guinness contains antioxidants which help prevent blood clotting, so a pint a day - at mealtimes - may be as effective as aspirin at lowering the risk of heart attacks.
    The "Tequila worm" is said to have aphrodisiac and hallucinogenic qualities and has been added to some bottles of mescal (tequila is a type of mescal) as a marketing gimmick since the 1950s ... It is a mariposa worm, which feeds on the agave plant, which is what tequila is made from. Although it can soak up a little of the alcohol, it has no noticeable effect on people. It seems that the myth that eating the worm induces a druggy trip comes from confusing mescal with mescaline, a hallucinogenic drug.
    Absinth has also enjoyed a dangerous and hallucinogenic reputation. It contains thujone, a toxic chemical once thought to share qualities with THC, the psychoactive element in cannabis, although this has now been discredited. In any case the amount is too minimal in absinth to have any noticeable effect. Absinth is, however, 70% alcohol and will make you dangerously drunk.Whether it makes you mean, or happy, or clever, or violent, well there's no saying.
    Five ways to beat a hangover
    According to a systematic review published in the British Medical Journal last year, no compelling evidence exists to suggest that any conventional or complementary intervention is effective for preventing or treating hangovers. The worst symptoms are caused by the liver breaking down the products of alcohol. Alcohol is also a diuretic so speeds up water loss from your body causing dehydration (hence the dry mouth, headache, dizziness). It also irritates the stomach lining (causing nausea and stomach cramps).
    1 Line your stomach: alcohol is absorbed more rapidly into the blood stream and will irritate the stomach lining more if your stomach is empty. Before going out, eat a meal containing fat, which is digested slowly and therefore protects your stomach, slowing the rate at which alcohol enters your body. A glass of milk has a similar effect.
    2 Choose light-coloured drinks: congeners, found primarily in darker alcoholic drinks, may affect blood vessels directly, producing migraine-like effects (spasm and/or dilation of blood vessels) and intensifying a hangover. As a rule, the lighter the colour, the fewer congeners it is likely to contain (ie, vodka is better than whisky). Drinking one glass of water for every glass of alcohol will counter the dehydration.
    3 Wrap up warmly: Alcohol dilates the blood vessels near the skin, causing us to lose body heat, but feel warmer - drunkenness followed by hypothermia is a leading cause of death in Russia.
    3 Before bed: Along with drinking plenty of water, a slow-burning snack such as granary toast will help avoid low-blood-sugar on waking. 4 The morning after: Water! And take antacid for your stomach and paracetamol for your head (aspirin is too harsh on your stomach). A single cup of coffee may help as caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, so eases the dilated blood vessels, but go easy as it is also diuretic. Liquids rich in minerals and salts (eg, broth or bouillon), or sports drinks can help to rehydrate you. According to Prof Sir Colin Berry, professor emeritus of pathology at Queen Mary, University of London, that old favourite, vitamin C, will do nothing for your symptoms, while "hair of the dog" merely postpones the agony. And as for alternative remedies, the BMJ review found that commonly used dietary supplements (borage, artichoke and prickly pear) have zero effect.
     
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  2. zera

    zera Gold Member

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    Re: What's your poison?

    Swim has been telling people this for years, he's always descriditing the notion that different types of alcohol have different effects, even absinthe. For all the hubbub that people make over absinthe, especially in America, as being hallucinegenic and shit, they might as well just buy a mushroom grow kit.

    The whole notion of different liquors having different effects is just a silly one, that doesn't really hurt one. It also makes drinking more fun, especially for people who don't use any other mind altering substances by giving more perceived variety in their life. Swim sometimes can be too rational for his own good.

    The only problem I have with the article is how it says that one should use acetaminophen instead of aspirin for a hangover. Trust me there's a lot more risk for liver damage with acetaminophen than there is from stomach bleeding.
     
  3. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Silver Member

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    Re: What's your poison?

    Seems like sound advice. A buddy of SWIM's was trying to argue with him over his tried and tested glass of milk before alcohol proceedure by saying the acidity of milk was higher than water therefore lining the stomach with milk before booze is pointless. Pfft!
     
  4. jholmes800

    jholmes800 Silver Member

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    Then why do they call it 'happy' hour?

    Different types of alcohol don't produce certain emotions or behavior, experts say.

    Tequila makes me crazy."
    "I'm an angry drunk after a few beers."
    "Red wine makes me feel sexy."
    You've probably heard it - or said it yourself - before. Attributing unique attitudes to different wines, cocktails, brews or liquors could become innocent partytime chatter or a serious excuse for alcohol-fueled conduct.
    No matter how much of a heavyweight you think you might be, alcohol does affect your brain. But do different types of booze give drinkers different types of personalities?
    "There's no pharmacological reason why it would," says Peter Kalivas, chair of the neuroscience department at the Medical University of South Carolina. "The difference most likely lies in the context of which people drink. Different contexts bring out different emotional responses."
    That means if you usually toast with friends on Fridays after work, you're more likely to be a happy drunk vs. someone who consumes alcohol in stressful situations. Of course, this depends on your mood before you take a swig, too.
    In general, alcohol alters neural transmissions so thought processing becomes less controlled, according to Kalivas. As alcohol disinhibits cortical activity, the emotional centers of the brain take greater influence over behavior. Then it becomes much easier to dance on the bar or tell that guy what you really think of him.
    "Most people say hard liquor produces the strongest emotions," Kalivas says. "That's because it has the quickest onset. So the transition from your normal consciousness to one under the influence of alcohol is more rapid. You're less able to control your emotions than if you gradually move under the influence."
    But wine is made from grapes. Margaritas are packed with lime juice. Some vodkas are crafted from potatoes. Beyond the alcohol alone, could other ingredients in alcoholic beverages be responsible for booze-soaked behavior?
    Sorry, Sybil. Not really.
    "If you only have, say, red wine in a certain setting, just the smell of red wine or the taste of it, separate from the alcohol, could invoke conditioned responses, which may be emotions," explains Kalivas. "But that's secondary. That's a learned association with the alcohol and the type of alcohol. It's not the real pharmacology of the drug itself."
    Next time happy hour turns cranky, you'll have to point the finger at something other than the booze.

    http://www.sptimes.com/2007/01/07/Floridian/Then_why_do_they_call.shtml
     
  5. gingerwater

    gingerwater Silver Member

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    Re: Then why do they call it 'happy' hour?

    Wine, however, may still produce different effects. According to James Green in The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook, "It would be a sober error to conclude that a given quantity of wine is equivalent to an equal quantity of water containing a like percentage of distilled grain alcohol. The peculiar effects of a true wine depend upon its ethereal and saline elements, such as its volatile oils, sugar, or acids, which modify materially those effects that would be produced by its alcohol alone. The grape-derived , naturally occurring accessory components of pure wine help the body metabolize and eliminate the wine's alcohol more gracefully, excreting it more benignly....(171)"

    It therefore seems that it MAY be correct that some distilled alcohols may produce different effects, especially if they are taken with substances such as sugars, acids, or salts, as mentioned above (perhaps orange juice, coke, and other various common mixers would qualify)...


    This lengthly quote is from, again, James Green's "The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook" Crossing Press, Berkeley, 2000.

    The whole book is very informative on all aspects of herbal medicine.
     
  6. enginuity

    enginuity Newbie

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    Differences in Types of Alcohol

    So I might be wrong here but I am awfully tired of people saying things like "Tequila makes me mean." or "Vodka makes me horny." I'm pretty sure all alcohol whether it's wine, beer, spirits or whatever has the same active ingredient: alcohol. So my question is if different types of drinks can actually effect people differently.
     
  7. methMADMAN

    methMADMAN Silver Member

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    Re: Differences in Types of Alcohol

    I don't think there's much more to it than peoples imagination, however, in the case of tequila, I think more often than not, people do shooters (I know I did) and when one is doing straight 80-100 proof liquor in rapid sucession, one tends to get drunker faster and perhaps more obnoxious. The same would go for beer. If one drinks a lot of volume and low alcohol content it might lead to a mellower time. But other than that I think its all mostly nonsense.
     
  8. bananaweed

    bananaweed Newbie

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    Re: Differences in Types of Alcohol

    F*ck it. Alco still alco. Except Sambuca =)
     
  9. Heretic.Ape.

    Heretic.Ape. Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Re: Differences in Types of Alcohol

    I'd agree with the notion that you simply get much more drunk much more quickly with hard alcohol. This is especially true for people who normally drink beer because they drink large amounts like they would with beer and hard alcohol can sneak up on you and hit you hard all at once. Thus you end up totally blitzed and acting like a fool or asshole.
     
  10. nleksan

    nleksan Silver Member

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    Re: Differences in Types of Alcohol

    I've always wondered the same thing, hearing various different opinions in regards to the subject matter. I always had a feeling it was just something in people's minds, the power of suggestion, if you will, that led them to feel that way. However, I do notice the difference between liquor and beer. I rarely pass out from beer, and it takes a lot of beer to make me vomit, whereas with liquor I throw up more often and tend to drink a lot faster, leading to blackouts. Beer causes you to pace yourself, liquor typically does not.
     
  11. bcubed

    bcubed Gold Member

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    Re: Differences in Types of Alcohol

    Yes, there is a HUGE difference between beer and hard liquor.

    Beer (esp. macroswill type at =< 5.0%ABV) is such that the typical swimmer's stomach size prevents one from getting "too drunk too quick." The volumes required make physically dangerous amounts tough to accidentally consume, particularly if one has some degree of tolerance.

    Obvoiusly, this is not true of hard liquor. One reason heavy users of alcohol tend to switch to harder drinks is that, with a sufficiently high tolerance, stomach volume is insufficient to consume the necessary qty of beer.

    The other, really dangerous thing about strong drinks is that you can continue to get much drunker in a way that's minimized by beer. Suppose SWIY gets to whatever level of drunkenness he desires and stops. Whatever alcohol that's presently in his stomach will continue to be absorbed, getting SWIY drunker. With beer this is much less of a factor than with a belly full of hard liquor. Especially when drinking in a hurry, it's far more important to pay attention to total eth consumed when drinking hard vs. beer. (This is also why stuff like "grain punch"--kool-aid+everclear(190proof)--is dangerous: it tastes deceivingly non-harsh, and the total alcohol concentration can only be guessed at. Thus, by the time SWIY feels effects, it may be too late to get off the train, as it were.)
     
  12. BoyInTheCountry

    BoyInTheCountry Silver Member

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    Different Drinks, Different Effects, Rubbish?

    So SWIM got into a conversation with his friends the other day, they were all going yeah 'Drink XXX makes me sad while while Drink XXX makes me angry and Drink xxx makes me happy I drink that now' they were all saying this. SWIM's input to the conversation was that alcohol is alcohol surely it all has the same effect.......... needless to say SWIM got called stupid for saying this. Is he wrong? Surely it is all alcohol and had the same effect?SWIM will drink most things because he enjoys them and notices no difference in the way he gets intoxicated wether it be Cider, Wine, Whisky, Vodka, Gin.......... all the same to me.

    Discuss?
     
  13. beizebopp

    beizebopp Newbie

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    Re: Different Drinks, Different Effects, Rubbish?

    SWIM notices slightly different effects with different drinks, but this may well be a placebo effect. It could be that different tastes trigger a small response that becomes blown out by the alcohol..

    SWIM would aslo be quite interested to see what crops up here.
     
  14. b3ni

    b3ni Newbie

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    Re: Different Drinks, Different Effects, Rubbish?

    Maybe, it's related to how SWIY reacts to the drink in mental ways; SWIM knows that cider gives him an upset stomach, so this changes my mood, and the effects seem different. Where as SWIM associates a gin and tonic with a lazy sunny day, so this may make SWIM relaxed.
     
  15. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Silver Member

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    Re: Different Drinks, Different Effects, Rubbish?

    Different drinks may bring about different effects due to the speed in which one gets drunk. SWIM can usually drink beer all night without getting especially rowdy. The onset of intoxication is quicker with wine, so I suppose it feels unique. Liquors and spirits bring about the most unpredictable results because people tend to drink them quickly and don't pace them as well i.e. shots. But to say that different drinks give very specific moods is a bit of a stretch. There's no such thing as angry ale and mellow margaritas. It's all alcohol at the end of the day.
     
  16. Fango

    Fango Silver Member

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    Re: Different Drinks, Different Effects, Rubbish?

    SWIM thinks that this theory is true, He theorizes that every difference in the brewing/ingredients/potency contribute towards the effect that it has on your body chemistry.

    Using swim as an example, beer will generally make him dancy and happy, where cider makes him more sociable. Dark Spirits make him more rowdy, probably due to the faster intake, and that they arent as "clean" if his memory serves. Something like vodka or gin will put swim on his back a lot more than a dark spirit, drink for drink. Wine makes swim horny.

    SWIM thinks that the main factors of an alchols effect on mood are the base ingrediant, and the stregnth. It is all ethonol, but its born of distinctly different base products, and wouldnt be the same unless distilled until pure. These aspects will likely have effects on the human body in ways that differ from person to person.
     
  17. Jatelka

    Jatelka Psychedelic Shepherdess Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Re: Different Drinks, Different Effects, Rubbish?

    There's a thread on this already, unfortunately, I can't find it at present!

    Anyone who does so will get lotsa flamingo love!
     
  18. averath

    averath Silver Member

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    Re: Different Drinks, Different Effects, Rubbish?

    My boyfriend is in the biology field, and I asked him about this.
    He said that it's true that different alcohols can have different effects because even though all alcohols do contain the ethanol that get SWIY drunk, there are different additives that can also give it different taste, that have a different effect on the brain.
     
  19. bubbly nubs

    bubbly nubs Silver Member

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  20. beizebopp

    beizebopp Newbie

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    SWIM would warn against taking a paracetamol the morning after if SWIY is still drunk.
    SWIM also wants to bring up the placebo effect. He hears friends and family say this drink makes me violent etc. Surely people might come to believe that this is true for them too, and subsequently make it true for them..

    There are more to most alcoholic drinks than alcohol aswell. SWIM is partial to vodka red bulls as they keep him awake and therefore stop him getting grumpy when hes drunk and tired.
     
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