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  1. Alcohol Chapter 10

  2. Outline • Alcohol • Patterns of Alcohol Use • Binge Drinking • Effects of Alcohol on the Body • Alcohol Metabolism • Factors Affecting Alcohol Absorption • Blood Alcohol Concentration • Societal Problems Associated with Alcohol • Health Benefits of Alcohol • Alcohol Misuse, Abuse, and Dependence • Health Risks of Alcohol Use • Public Policies and Laws Aimed at Alcohol Use • Treatment Options

  3. Alcohol • Alcohol is one of the most commonly used (and problematic) substances in our society • Alcohol is a psychoactive drug • Causes changes in brain chemistry and alters consciousness, known as intoxication • Intoxication can have a wide-ranging effect on all aspects of thinking, emotions, and behavior • What is a drink?

  4. Patterns of Alcohol Use • Approximately 65% of American adults drink at least occasionally • 35% of the adult U.S. population are non-drinkers (abstainers) • Of those who do consume alcohol, 28% are at-risk drinkers heavy drinkers • Low risk drinkers are men who drink no more than 14 drinks per week or women who drink no more than 7 drinks per week

  5. Alcohol Drinking Patterns • Roots of drinking behavior are established in the adolescent years • Consumption of alcoholic beverages is highest between 18 and 25 for Caucasians and 26 and 30 for Hispanics and African Americans • Older adults drink significantly less than younger adults • Women drink less than men and most often start drinking later in life

  6. Alcohol Drinking Patterns • Alcohol use is higher among Caucasians than African Americans • Hispanic men have higher percentages of alcohol use than other ethnic groups • Among Native Americans, alcoholism is recognized as the number one health concern • Asian Americans have lower consumption rates than Caucasian Americans

  7. Binge Drinking • Binge drinking: Consumption of 5 or more drinks in a row for men or 4 or more drinks in a row for women • Approximately half of college students are thought to be binge drinkers • College students under the age of 21 consume 48% of all alcohol consumed by college students • Male freshmen drink less than male upperclassmen • Female freshmen drink more than female upperclassmen • Men are more likely to binge drink than women

  8. Binge Drinking Consequences • Half to 2/3 of campus homicides and serious assaults are believed to involve drinking • Women who binge drink are 150% more likely to be victims of date rape, sexual battering, or unplanned sexual activity • 9 out of 10 students report at least one adverse consequence of another student’s drinking including: • Physical assault, damaged property, interrupted sleep or studying, unwanted sexual advances, sexual assault, and having to care for a drunk student • Increased risk of encountering trouble with law enforcement including: • Public intoxication, driving under the influence, minor in possession, vandalism, and assault • Convictions such as these can jeopardize several career ambitions (engineering, medicine, law enforcement, and teaching)

  9. Why Do College Students Binge Drink? • Some students may use drinking for a variety of reasons: • As an assertion of autonomy and adult status • To ease social inhibitions, to fit in with peer groups • To reduce stress or cope with academic pressures • Easy access to alcohol • Social norms or perceived campus culture

  10. Effects of Alcohol on the Body • Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant • Slows down the activity of the brain and spinal cord • Once it reaches the brain, alcohol alters brain chemistry and neurotransmitter functions • As alcohol levels rise, feelings of relaxation and well-being and a lowering of inhibitions • As alcohol concentrations increase, more functions are depressed, and greater impairment occurs • Impaired thinking, balance, and motor coordination

  11. Effects of Alcohol on the Body

  12. Alcohol Metabolism • 90% is metabolized by the liver • Between 2-10% is not metabolized at all and is excreted in the breath, urine and through pores in the skin • In the liver, alcohol is converted to acetaldehyde (also known as ethanol) by an enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) • In a healthy adult, alcohol is metabolized at a rate of 0.5 oz of per hour

  13. Factors Affecting Alcohol Absorption • Food in the stomach • Gender • Age • Body fat • Drug interaction • Cigarette smoking • Mood and physical condition • Alcohol concentration • Carbonation • Tolerance

  14. Blood Alcohol Concentration • Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC): amount of alcohol (in grams) in 100 milliliters of blood, expressed as a percentage • 100 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood is equivalent to a BAC of 0.10% • Used as a measure of intoxication • Breath analyzers – provide an estimate of alcohol concentration in the brain • BAC is influenced by: • Amount of body water • Amount of body fat

  15. Possible Short-Term Results of Alcohol Consumption • Acute alcohol intoxication is a life-threatening blood alcohol concentration which can produce collapse of vital body functions • Vomiting may be activated if a BAC reaches .12% or higher in a rapid method (binge drinking) • A blackout may occur if a drinker has impaired memory function but stays conscious • This impairment is often associated with changes in the hippocampus (center of brain essential for memory and learning) • Hangovers are a result of a common reaction to alcohol toxicity which causes a variety of symptoms • Thought to be due to disruption in the body’s water balance

  16. Health Risks of Alcohol Use • Heart Disease & Stroke • Cardiomyopathy • Abnormal Heart Rhythm • Liver Disease • Fatty Liver • Alcoholic Hepatitis • Cirrhosis • Cancer • Brain Damage • Malnutrition

  17. Short- and Long-Term Effects of Alcohol On the Body

  18. Societal Problems Associated with Alcohol Use • Unplanned sexual behavior • Violence • Risk of injury • Drunk driving • Suicide risk

  19. Health Benefits of Alcohol • Moderate consumption may increase HDL cholesterol • Anti-clotting effect on the blood • Reduces stress • In younger adults, alcohol appears to have fewer, if any health benefits and is associated with more deaths, injuries, and accidents

  20. Alcohol Misuse, Abuse, and Dependence • Problem drinking: Pattern of alcohol use that impairs the drinker’s life, causing personal difficulties and difficulties for other people • Alcohol abuse: Pattern of alcohol abuse that leads to distress or impairment, increases the risk of health and/or social problems, and continues despite awareness of effects • Alcohol dependence: Disorder characterized by a strong craving for alcohol, development of tolerance for alcohol, and withdrawal symptoms • Alcoholism: Primary chronic disease characterized by excessive, compulsive drinking.

  21. Treatment Options • Brief Interventions • Inpatient Treatment • Residential Facilities • Detoxification • Medications • Counseling • Outpatient Treatment • Counseling • Self-help Approaches • Support Groups

  22. Public Policies and Laws Aimed at Alcohol Use • Minimum Drinking Age • Sobriety check points • Server liability laws • Liquor sale restrictions • Alcohol taxation • Interlock devices