The effects of chronic ethanol intoxication on the open-field behavior, on antioxidant enzyme activities, and the degree of lipid peroxidation were investigated. Rats consuming a liquid diet containing 7% ethanol for 4, 7, 14, or 21 days exhibited a significantly decreased ambulation activity, accompanied by a reduced frequency and duration of explorative rearing in an open-field task 4, 7, and 14 days after chronic ethanol ingestion, whereas presumed adaptation to the neurologic effects of ethanol was observed on day 21. Changes in the activities of glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px): glutathione reductase (GSH-R), and catalase, and in the content of reduced glutathione (GSH) in blood samples were determined by means of biochemical methods. The degree of lipid peroxidation was measured via thiobarbituric acid assays. Chronic ethanol ingestion elicited a significant increase in GSH-Px activity (by a maximum of approximately 32% on day 14), whereas opposite alterations in GSH-R and catalase activities were recorded (49% of the control value on day 4 and 17% on day 21, respectively). Highly elevated contents of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances reflected extensive lipid peroxidation processes throughout the experiment. These changes indicate that ethanol toxicity induces profound changes in explorative behavior, mediated, at least partly, by changes in the free radical metabolism.