PS285 Lecture Notes - Heritability, Homicide, Operant Conditioning

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29 Jan 2013
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Chapter 8: Alcohol and Drinking
The Blessing and Curse of Alcohol: Past and Present Attitudes
- Modern views on alcohol as a social problem can be traced back to the
eighteenth century when distilled spirits became available for the first time
in Europe
- Hogarth’s prints of beer street and gin lane illustrate the prevailing view by
contrasting the pleasant and supposedly harmless effect of drinking beer
with the dire consequences of drinking spirits
Beer street: general sense of industriousness and well-beings
Gin Lane: depiction of emaciation, death and neglect of children
- Since the early 19th century popular beliefs about the dangers of alcohol have
been shaped by organizations known as temperance societies
Brought about the era of prohibition
Helped to establish medical opinion that alcoholics can never return
to moderate drinking but can only be cured by remaining abstinent
for the rest of their lives
- Predominant view is that alcohol is ‘all right in moderation but harmful in
excess
- In 2007, WHO estimated that 3.7% of global mortality and 4.4% of disease
was attributable to alcohol (doesn’t include social harm)
- In Britain a major source of concern is binge drinkinggovernment
authorities have been criticized for contributing to this by liberalizing the
drinking law
- Spain is not far behind; the equivalent phenomenon is known as ‘Botellon’,
literally ‘big bottle’ where young people gather in large numbers at public
places listening to music and drinking to intoxication
International Case Study: Alcohol consumption in India
- Misleading to characterize India as a dry or abstaining culture
- Although majority do abstain from alcohol; its estimated that 21% of males
and 5% of females do drink
- However, of this amount that drink, half drink at levels known to be
hazardous
- India is a target for expansion, multinational companies are taking over local
manufacturers
Dangers of Drinking Alcohol
1. Physical Health
- The dangers to health of alcohol consumption are not always found for light
and moderate drinkers, who may even experience health benefits compared
with non-drinkers
- Prolonged heavy drinking is known to be the main cause of liver cirrhosis
- Mortality from liver disease has doubled from 1991 to 2007
- Acute pancreatitis is another frequently fatal disease caused by heavy
drinking
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