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Why does alcohol lead to questionable decisions?

You know that drinking and driving is not a wise decision. You know it's dangerous and illegal. If someone asked you during a standard workday, while you were sober, if it was smart to drive drunk, you'd tell them it wasn't.

All the same, after having too many drinks at the bar with friends, you find yourself behind the wheel. In the moment, it seems like a good idea. Why does alcohol cause you to make these questionable decisions that, if you get arrested, you're going to regret later?

There are a few reasons. For one thing, ethanol can hype you up by making your brain release a handful of stimulants. These are cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. Your heart rate increases, thanks to these stimulants, and extra oxygen heads to your brain. Your senses initially become heightened. On top of all of this, your brain releases dopamine, which makes you feel good, like you're having fun.

While this is happening, the alcohol also impairs your judgment. You feel less averse to risks. You don't realize just how intoxicated you are. You make risky decisions and begin forgetting important facts in the moment.

As both of these things work together, you feel like it's fine to drive drunk. You don't feel tired or blackout drunk. You feel amped up and awake, it sounds fun to drive and you assume it's safe enough. That's the alcohol talking, but you don't know it at the moment.

Understanding this effect may help you make wise choices and avoid arrest, but other drivers will still take risks and cause accidents. If you get injured in a crash, you need to know what legal steps to take.

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Marquardt & Belmonte, P.C.

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Marquardt & Belmonte, P.C.
311 S. County Farm Rd
Wheaton, IL 60187

Phone: 630-517-3279
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