PSYC 3140 Lecture Notes - Alcohol Intoxication, Binge Drinking, Chronic Respiratory Disease
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Chapter 17: Substance-Related Disorders
A substance is any natural or synthesized product that has psychoactive effects – it
changes perceptions, thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.
Tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis are common substances (US and CAN).
o Cocaine use = higher in US; LSD use = higher in CAN.
Men are more likely than women to use an illegal drug in their lifetime.
o Women, however, are more likely to become dependent on it.
A substance-related disorder occurs when the use of a substance leads to
significant problems in everyday functioning; i.e., shirking responsibilities, acting
impulsively, endanger their own lives, etc.
Definitions of Substance-Related Disorders…
There are four types of disorders recognized by the DSM: substance intoxication,
substance withdrawal, substance abuse, and substance dependence.
Drugs are classified into five categories:
o CNS Depressants (alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and inhalants).
o CNS Stimulants (cocaine, amphetamines, nicotine, and caffeine).
o Opioids (heroin and morphine).
o Hallucinogens and phencyclidine (PCP).
There is a mixed group of drugs (club drugs), which includes:
o Ecstasy, GHB, ketamine, and Rohypnol.
o Substance intoxication is a set of behavioural and psychological changes
that occur as a direct result of the physiological effects of a drug.
o May suffer from hallucinations, attention is reduced, along with good
judgment. It’s harder to control their bodies; their reactions are slow or
o Either want to sleep a lot, or not at all.
o Their interpersonal relationships change: they may become gregarious,
o Intoxication declines when the amount of the substance in the body declines;
however, it may take hours or days for the substance to be completely out of
o Symptoms of intoxication depend on what was taken, how much was taken,
and the user’s tolerance.
E.g., initial high may be different from subsequent highs.
o Setting in which a substance is taken also affects symptoms experienced.
E.g., drinking at a party makes you loud; drinking at home makes you
E.g., may also be at a lower risk of harming oneself if drinking at home.
o A diagnosis of substance intoxication is usually only given when an individual
is experiencing significant disruptions in his or her life.
E.g., relationships, personal harm, etc.
o Substance withdrawal is a set of physiological and behavioural symptoms
that result when people who have been heavy substance users stop (or
o Symptoms are usually the opposite of substance intoxication of the same
o A diagnosis isn’t given unless it severely impacts the individual’s life.
E.g., side effects of caffeine withdrawal may be annoying (e.g.,
headache, etc.), they do not typically cause significant impairment.
o Caffeine withdrawal is not included in the DSM.
o Symptoms of withdrawal can begin a few hours after consumption stops.
End usually after a few days or weeks.
o Some withdrawal symptoms (e.g., seizures) may begin several weeks after
o Substance abuse is when a person’s recurrent use of a substance results in
significant harmful consequences.
o So, you can use a substance, but it isn’t abuse until you experience harmful
o Four categories of harmful consequences:
Fails to fulfill important obligations (work, school, home).
May fail to show up, unable to concentrate, etc.
Repeatedly uses the substance in situations in which it is hazardous to
Such as while driving.
Repeated legal problems.
Arrests for drunk driving, etc.
Continues to use the substance, despite having had legal or social
o Must show problems in at least one area within a 12-month period to qualify.
o Substance dependence (drug addict).
o Shows tolerance (a person experiences less and less effect rom the same
dose of a substance and needs greater and greater doses to achieve
intoxication) or withdrawal.
o E.g., a person who’s smoked for 20 years probably smokes so much that back
in the day it would have made them violently ill.
o A person who has a tolerance for a substance may have a higher blood-
concentration level, but show fewer symptoms (i.e., they’re unaware of it).
o Alcohol, opioids, stimulants, and nicotine have a high risk for tolerance.
PCP and marijuana have lower risks for tolerance.
o Those that are dependent often show severe withdrawal symptoms when
they stop taking it.
These people may take the substance to avoid the withdrawal
o Most people who are dependent crave the substance and will do anything to
o Their lives may revolve around getting the substance.
How a person administers a substance can effect how quickly a person becomes
intoxicated, and likely it will produce withdrawal symptoms.
Routes of administration that get it right to the blood stream create dependency
o Injecting, smoking, and snorting.
o Also more likely to OD.
The quicker they act on the CNS, the more likely they are to become dependent.
Substances with short-lasting effects are more likely to become dependent.
Slow the activity of the CNS.
In moderate doses, they relax people, reduce concentration, and impair thinking and
In heavy doses, they induce a stupor.
o Effects on the brain occur in two stages.
o Low doses = promotes confidence, relaxation, perhaps euphoria.
o Increasing doses = may induce symptoms of depression: fatigue and lethargy;
decreased motivation, sleep disturbances, etc.
o Alcohol intoxication = slurred speech, unsteady gaits, trouble with attention
and memory, slow and awkward in reactions. May act inappropriately;
aggressive or rude.
o A blackout is amnesia (once you’re sober) about when you were drunk.
o More food in your stomach longer it takes to get drunk (because it takes
longer to pass from the stomach to the small intestine).
o Countries where alcohol is consumed more regularly (e.g., France) show a
lower rate of alcohol-related disorders.
o The legal definition of alcohol intoxication = blood-alcohol content above
o Drinking in large quantities can result in death;
1/3 is the result of respiratory paralysis.
o Alcohol can react fatally (e.g., with antidepressant drugs).
o Most alcohol-related deaths are due to accidents (car, private plane/boat),
Almost ½ of fatal car accidents are due to alcohol.
Almost 1/3 of all drownings are alcohol-related.
o Believed that most murderers are under the influence of alcohol.
o Abuse and Dependence
1. Use it in dangerous situations (e.g., when driving).
2. Fail to meet obligations (e.g., school, work).
3. Have recurrent legal or social problems as a result of alcohol.
A substance is any natural or synthesized product that has psychoactive effects it changes perceptions, thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. Tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis are common substances (us and can): cocaine use = higher in us; lsd use = higher in can. Men are more likely than women to use an illegal drug in their lifetime: women, however, are more likely to become dependent on it. A substance-related disorder occurs when the use of a substance leads to significant problems in everyday functioning; i. e. , shirking responsibilities, acting impulsively, endanger their own lives, etc. There are four types of disorders recognized by the dsm: substance intoxication, substance withdrawal, substance abuse, and substance dependence. Drugs are classified into five categories: cns depressants (alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and inhalants), cns stimulants (cocaine, amphetamines, nicotine, and caffeine), opioids (heroin and morphine), hallucinogens and phencyclidine (pcp), cannabis. There is a mixed group of drugs (club drugs), which includes: ecstasy, ghb, ketamine, and rohypnol.