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  1. Alcohol What you need to know

  2. What is Alcohol? • Alcohol is a drug • It can lead to serious harm when abused • It can lead to health problems and injury to the user or others • It can cause dependence, overdose, and even death • Alcohol is produced by fermentation • This is a process in which yeast turns sugar and starches into alcohol, classified into 3 general groups • Wine • Beer • Spirits (liquor)

  3. Alcohol affects the brain and body • Alcohol has a special role in our culture • It’s legal for people over the age of 21 • It’s common in many social settings • Restaurants, TV programs, movies, home • It’s easy to get/purchase • 90% of 12th graders said that it is “fairly easy” or “very easy” to get • Almost everyone has been around people who have been drinking • Many people don’t think of alcohol as a drug • Although drinking is acceptable in many settings, people need to know that alcohol can be a dangerous drug

  4. How alcohol affects the body • Alcohol affects every organ in the body • The affects on the brain are often the most easy to see • Shows changes in mood and are less coordinated • Have poorer judgment and lower inhibitions • Depending on how much alcohol a person drinks, these effects could last up to 72 hours • Overtime, steady alcohol use (or binge drinking) can lead to serious health problems. • Some can be permanent • Teens who drink heavily on a regular basis can suffer ongoing and lasting damage before they become adults

  5. What happens when a person drinks? • When a person drinks, alcohol enters through the mouth and travels to the stomach • Some of the alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream • Most of the alcohol moves to the small intestine and is absorbed there • Once alcohol is in the blood, it circulated through the body. • It takes only moments for it to reach the brain • The presence of alcohol in the brain affects mood, thinking judgment, memory, and coordination • Alcohol is easily absorbed by cells, and most organs react right away

  6. Role of the Liver • The liver breaks down or metabolizes alcohol and removes it from the blood. • The liver can only break down small amounts of alcohol in a given time, no matter how much alcohol a person drinks • You can only process so much per hour • Until the alcohol has been broken down, it keeps circulating through the body, and continues to affect the brain and other body tissues • People can show signs of intoxication within 30-90 minutes • People can drink alcohol faster than their body can process or absorb it • When this happens, your body’s intoxication level can rise even when you have stopped drinking

  7. Immediate Physical Effects • When alcohol is in the bloodstream, it has many effects on the body • Liver – when metabolizing alcohol, it isn’t able to filter out waste and toxins well, and puts stress on the organ • Stomach – alcohol irritates the stomach lining, which can lead to nausea, stomach pain, and vomiting • Kidneys – alcohol disrupts the process of keeping fluid levels and chemicals balanced in the body • Circulatory system – alcohol leads to a lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, and slow breathing • Sleep – alcohol changes sleep rhythms, and lowers the quality of sleep, which leads to fatigue and weaken the immune system

  8. Defining Intoxication • Toxin means poison. Intoxication means that a poison is in the body • Being intoxicated mean that a person is under the influence of alcohol or another drug • A person can be intoxicated without being legally drunk • In the United States, the blood alcohol level of .08% is the intoxication point for drivers • However, well before people reach this limit, their driving is impaired and their risk for crashes goes up • If your blood alcohol level is .10, you are 10X more likely to crash

  9. Testing for BAL • BAL (Blood alcohol level) determines how much alcohol is circulating through your blood. • You can test for this through a breathalyzer test, field sobriety test, and blood tests. • .02-.04 – person might appear normal and feel fine • .04-.06 – people begin to have changes in alertness, judgment, coordination, ability to concentrate • .08 or over is legally considered drunk • .10-.25 – high risk for injuries or blackouts • .3-.4 – fatal for most people or may cause permanent brain damage

  10. What’s a Drink? • These standard drinks all have about the same amount (.6 ounces) of alcohol • Beer – 12 oz • Malt Liquor – 9 oz • Wine – 5 oz • Liquor – 1 ½ oz of 80-proof • Proof is a measure of the alcohol in a beverage and is TWICE the percent of alcohol by volume

  11. Effects of Alcohol • Low Dose • Feeling relaxed • Lower inhibitions, more impulsive • Difficulty concentrating • Moderate Dose • Slurred speech • Drowsiness • High Dose • Vomiting • Trouble breathing • Slower reflexes and reaction time • Less coordinated • Emotional changes • Unconsciousness, coma, and death

  12. How the body processes alcohol • Each body processes alcohol differently: • Weight and Size • The amount of blood determines whether a person is intoxicated. Larger bodies have more blood • Gender • Women are more affected than men, even if they are the same size. • Women have less body water • Women have less liver enzymes • Age • Teens feel the affects differently than adults • Ethnicity • Some ethnicities lack liver enzymes needed to process alcohol

  13. Continued • Physical conditions • People who are ill, tired, or are affected by other physical stressors may feel greats affects • Amount of food eaten • Food in your stomach and digestive systems slows the absorption of alcohol • Dehydration • Persons who are dehydrated will feel effects faster • Medicines or other drugs • Drugs may be stronger when mixed with alcohol, or could be less strong, creating greater stress on the body

  14. How alcohol affects the brain • Alcohol has an effect on all brain functions • Speech • Vision • Muscle movement • Complex behaviors • Autonomic responses • The higher the dose of alcohol, the greater affects. • At mild or moderate doses, the brain’s functions are impaired • At high doses, every function including the ability to breathe is at risk.

  15. What alcohol does to the brain • Alcohol has two effects on the brain that interfere in a big way with normal neuron function • First it slows down a neurotransmitter that sends signals between neurons • This means it takes longer for someone who has been drinking to make sense of events or understand • At the same time, alcohol enhances another neurotransmitter that acts to control signals to help regulate the actions of the synapses • For example, when a person leans over to pick up an object, brain synapses help manage the bending and pinching of the object • With alcohol, the neurotransmitter is less regulated, meaning muscles are less controlled and the body becomes more clumsy

  16. Alcohol interferes with higher brain functions • Thinking • Learning • Making judgments • Small amounts lower anxiety and feelings of tension • Quite people talk more, shy people are more outgoing • Some people may becoming verbally aggressive or fight • People take risks they normally would not • If a person keeps drinking, effects get stronger • Slurred speech • Blurred vision • Loss of balance • Confusion

  17. At very high levels, poisoning and overdose may occur • The brain no longer is able to manage or maintain breathing, heart rate, body chemistry and temperature • Person may go unconscious or go into a coma • May vomit and/or choke on vomit

  18. Alcohol Dependence • Some people drink in ways that cause problems or pose dangers for themselves or others. • Problem drinkers cannot fully control their drinking • Drinking might cause physical or mental health problems, social conflicts, legal problems, or trouble with school, family, or jobs • These behaviors are described as alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence (alcoholism)

  19. Binge Drinking • Binge drinking used to mean drinking heavily over several days. Now, however, the term refers to the heavy consumption of alcohol over a short period of time (just as binge eating means a specific period of uncontrolled overeating). • Today the generally accepted definition of binge drinking in the United States is the consumption of five or more drinks in a row by men — or four or more drinks in a row by women — at least once in the previous 2 weeks. Heavy binge drinking includes three or more such episodes in 2 weeks.

  20. Why Do People Binge Drink? • Liquor stores, bars, and alcoholic beverage companies make drinking seem attractive and fun. It’s very easy for a high school student to get caught up in the social scene with lots of peer pressure. • They are curious – they want to know what it’s like a drink alcohol • They believe it will make them feel good, not realizing it could just as easily make them sick and hung-over • They may look at alcohol as a way to reduce stress, even though it can end up creating more stress • They want to feel older

  21. Risks of Binge Drinking • Many people don’t think about the negative sides of drinking. Although they think about the possibility of getting drunk, they may not give much consideration to being hung-over or throwing up. • Excessive drinking can lead to difficulty concentrating, memory lapses, mood changes, and other problems that affect you day-to-day life.

  22. Alcohol Poisoning • Alcohol poisoning is the most life-threatening consequence of binge drinking. When someone drinks too much alcohol, and gets alcohol poisoning, it affects the body’s involuntary reflexes – including breathing and the gag reflex • If the gag reflex isn’t working properly, a person can choke to death on his or her own vomit. • Other signs include • Extreme confusion • Inability to be awakened • Vomiting • Seizures • Slow or irregular breathing • Low body temperature • Bluish or pale skin

  23. Binge Drinking Effects on Health • Physical Health • More likely to be overweight and have high blood pressure by the time they are 24. One beer typically contains 150 calories, which adds up with 4-5+ beers a night • Mental Health • Harder time in school, and more likely to drop out • Disrupts sleep patters, making it hard to stay awake and concentrate • Find friends drift away, since it can affect moods • Impaired Judgment • More likely to take risks they might not take • Drunk driving, injure self or others, unplanned pregnancy, STDs • In 2000, 1/3 of pedestrians 16+ who were killed walking by vehicles were intoxicated.

  24. Alcoholism • Alcoholism is a chronic disease in which your body becomes dependent on alcohol. When you have alcoholism, you lose control over your drinking. • You may not be able to control when you drink, how much you drink, or how long you drink on each occasion. If you have alcoholism, you continue to drink even though you know it's causing problems with your relationships, health, work or finances. • It's possible to have a problem with alcohol but not have all the symptoms of alcoholism. • This is known as "alcohol abuse," which means you drink too much and it causes problems in your life although you aren't completely dependent on alcohol.

  25. Alcoholics • Show four main symptoms • Cravings – they have the strong urge to drink • Loss of control – they aren’t able to stop drinking once they start • Physical dependence – they go through withdrawl if they stop drinking, causing painful physical symptoms • Tolerance – over time they need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to feel the same affects Some people with alcohol dependence also have blackouts or periods of time they can’t remember

  26. Other symptoms • Having legal problems or problems with relationships, employment or finances due to drinking • Drinking alone or in secret • Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms — such as nausea, sweating and shaking — when you don't drink • Not remembering conversations or commitments, sometimes referred to as "blacking out" • Making a ritual of having drinks at certain times and becoming annoyed when this ritual is disturbed or questioned • Losing interest in activities and hobbies that used to bring you pleasure • Irritability when your usual drinking time nears, especially if alcohol isn't available • Keeping alcohol in unlikely places at home, at work or in your car • Gulping drinks, ordering doubles, becoming intoxicated intentionally to feel good or drinking to feel "normal"

  27. Long-term Health Effects • Chronic, heavy drinking over time greatly increases the risk for many illnesses • Even moderate drinking may be risky for some people • Alcohol can have harmful effects on many parts of the body: • Immune system – changes responses, especially in the liver which can increase the risk for liver disease and cancer • Liver – great stress on the liver, and can cause three types of liver disease, most seriously scarring of the liver. • Fatty liver • Alcohol hepatitis • Alcohol cirrhosis

  28. Heart disease – increase risk for several diseases of the heart and blood system • Disease of the skeleton – interferes with the growth and repair of healthy bone tissue • Cancer – linked to a variety of cancers, mainly mouth and throat, but also stomach, colon, and liver • Brain – half of alcoholics develop problems with brain functions • Early death – more likely to die at younger ages through accidents, violence, suicide, and disease

  29. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome • Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a condition that results from prenatal alcohol exposure. If you drink during pregnancy, you place your baby at risk of fetal alcohol syndrome. • The defects that are part of fetal alcohol syndrome are irreversible and can include serious physical, mental and behavioral problems, though they vary from one child to another. • Women have less water in their bodies than men, so alcohol raises the BAL faster • This exposes their brains and organs to more toxins from the alcohol

  30. Fetal alcohol syndrome isn't a single birth defect. It's a cluster of related problems and the most severe of a group of consequences of prenatal alcohol exposure. Collectively, the range of disorders is known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). • Fetal alcohol syndrome is the most common — yet 100 % preventable — cause of mental retardation. The severity of mental problems varies, with some children experiencing them to a far greater degree than others.

  31. Physical • Low birth weight • Delayed growth • Growth deficiency • Small head • Short space between eyelids • Short nose • Characteristic facial features • Short eye openings • Thin upper lip • Flattened midface • Flattened upper lip groove • Cleft lip • Cleft palate • Skull malformations • Brain malformations • Heart murmur during first year

  32. Mental • Intellectual impairment • Mental retardation • Hyperactivity • Developmental delay • Learning difficulty • Memory difficulty • Problem solving difficulty • Impaired coordination • Speech impairment • Hearing impairment • Low I Q • Fine motor dysfunction • Weak grasp • Poor eye-hand coordination • Tremulousness • Infant irritability

  33. Social/ Emotional • Behavioral problems • Hyperactivity • Inattention • Impulsivity • Poor judgment • Distractibility • Difficulty recognizing social cues • Abnormal behavior

  34. Treatment • There's no cure or specific treatment for fetal alcohol syndrome. The physical defects and mental deficiencies typically persist for a lifetime. • Heart abnormalities may require surgery. • Learning problems may be helped by special services in school. • Parents often benefit from counseling to help the family with a child's behavior problems.

  35. Teens and Drinking • Alcohol can have a negative effect on young people’s growth and development. • Effects bone development or be unable to grow strong bones • Markers of liver damage • Affect hormones and puberty / development • Reduce growth hormones • Effects on the brain • More likely to develop alcoholism or ongoing alcohol abuse problems • If you start drinking at 14 or younger you are 4 times more likely to become alcohol dependent that those who start drinking after 21