Week 5: Alcohol, Tobacco & Caffeine: Unacknowledged Drugs with Risk for Addictions
1. What percentage of students is estimated to consume alcohol? What do most
students think about the drinking habits of other students? Why are post-secondary
students more vulnerable to alcohol related problems?
- ~94.5% of students consume alcohol
- most students think that their friends drink much more than they do (and actual consumption is
higher than self-reports); such misinfo may promote or be used to excuse excessive drinking
- post-secondary students more at risk because: alcohol exacerbates their already high risk for
suicide, automobile accidents and falls; college customs and traditions encourage several
dangerous practices of alcohol use, misuse and abuse
- campuses are heavily targeted by advertising and promotions from the alcohol industry
- these students are particularly vulnerable to peer influences and have a strong need to be
accepted by their peers
2. Define blood alcohol concentration. Describe the general effects of a BAC of 0.02,
0.05. 0.08 and 0.10. What factors does BAC depend on?
- blood alcohol concentration: ratio of alcohol to total blood volume
- 0.02: feel slightly relaxed and mood is enhanced
- 0.05: relaxation increases, some motor impairment, willingness to talk
- 0.08: feeling of euphoria, further motor impairment
- 0.10: drowsiness sets in , further motor impairment, loss of judgement
- BAC depends on 1) amount consumed in a given time, 2) drinker’s size, sex, body build, and
metabolism, 3) type and amount of food in the stomach
3. What is learned behavioural tolerance?
- learned behavioural tolerance: ability of drinkers to modify their behaviours so that they
appear sober even when they have high BAC levels 4. Explain why women have a lower alcohol tolerance than men.
- higher body fat content in women (alcohol diffuses less rapidly into body as into water, so
alcohol concentration in body is higher), half as much alcohol hydrogenase as men
5. Define alcohol poisoning. When should you call 911?
- alcohol poisoning: occurs when an individual consumes a large amount of alcohol
- call 911 if you can’t wake them up, know they have consumed a large amount of alcohol,
suspect that they consumed other drugs, or if you see signs of injury
6. What is mitochondrial dehydration and how does it occur?
- mitochondrial dehydration: mitochondrion in CNS nerve cells cannot carry out their normal
function due to disrupted fluid balances
- the diuretic effect of alcohol pulls water out from the cerebrospinal fluid (fluid within brain and
7. Describe the symptoms of a hangover. What causes hangovers?
- symptoms: headache, upset stomach, anxiety, depression, thirst, overwhelming desire to crawl
back into bed
- causes not well known (maybe caused by effects of toxic forms of alcohol (congeners) which
are metabolized slower)
- might also be caused by mitochondrial dehydration
8. List the long-term physical consequences of chronic alcohol consumption.
- nervous system effects: decrease in brain size and weight accompanied by a slight loos of
- cardiovascular effects: some studies suggest that moderate drinkers suffer fewer heart attacks;
however, alcohol also contributes to high blood pressure; prolonged drinking may also lead to
deterioration of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)
- liver disease: cirrhosis, the last stage of liver disease associated with chronic heavy use of
alcohol, during which liver cells die and damage is permanent; alcoholic hepatitis: chronic
inflammation of the liver, which may be fatal or progress to cirrhosis
- cancer: higher risk of certain cancers (e.g. higher risk of breast cancer for women)
- other effects: irritant to GI tract 9. What are the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy?
- fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD): includes fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol
effects (without all the physical or behavioural symptoms of FAS)
10. Discuss the causes of alcoholism.
- biologic and family factors: higher rates of alcoholism among family members of individuals
addicted to alcohol; no “alcohol gene” found yet
- social and cultural factors: peer pressure to drink, to dull the pain of an acute loss of an
emotional or social problem (e.g. escape stress of univ.)
11. Discuss the potential non-physiological effects of alcohol abuse.
- effects on the family: dysfunctional family; family members forced to take on various
abnormal roles (e.g. children may become passive and quietly withdraw from upsetting situations
and family life); unique problems of adult children of alcoholics
- costs to society: benefits of alcohol sales; but also cost to economy of alcohol abuse and
12. Outline treatment options for alcoholism.
- detox (usually for any long-term addiction to alcohol, medical supervision is usually necessary)
- family therapy, individual therapy, group therapy: person and family members gradually
examine the psychological reasons underlying the addiction
- drug and aversion therapy (e.g. Antabuse)
- Alcoholics Anonymous, relies on group support to help people stop drinking
13. According to the article “What Colleges Need to Know Now: An Update on College
Drinking Research”, what is the link between becoming intoxicated before the age
of 19 and risk of alcohol dependency?
14. How is binge drinking defined by the NIAAA?
15. What are the three levels of the 3 in 1 approach for successful alcohol use
interventions among college students? 16. Based on the study by Timberlake as discussed in “What Colleges Need to Know”,
are college students at higher risk for alcohol abuse that their non-college peers?
17. What is social marketing? Is it beneficial for intervention in college student groups
to reduce alcohol abuse?
18. What is a social norms campaign? What factors determine its effectiveness in
reducing alcohol abuse among college students?
19. As discussed in “What Colleges Need to Know”, what makes Greenbaum’s study of
college drinking patterns unique? At what times during the academic year was
consumption of alcohol the highest?
20. What protective factors reduced harmful drinking behaviours as described in
“What Colleges Need to Know” based on research by Karam et al.?
21. How are “light” and “heavy” alcohol consumption defined by Agarwal?
22. What is the shape of the dose-response c