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Drugs & Behaviour - Chapter Six - Alcohol.pdf

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PSYC 3030
Masood Kamlani

Page 1 of 9 Chapter Six: Alcohol Alcohol is the most known, manufactured drug, and has been used the longest. Alcohol has had profound influences on the societies around the world in which it is used. “Alcohol” refers to several substances, example, isopropyl alcohol, methyl alcohol and ethanol. Ethanol is the alcohol we drink. In this chapter we look at the many facets of alcohol use and abuse. [ PAGES 104 – 137 ] Alcoholic Beverages Fermentation and Distillation  Alcohol is drunk in three ways of alcoholic beverages: beer, wine, and hard liquor (aka distilled spirits) 1  All of these beverages depend on the process of fermentation and then on the process of distillation for hard liquor  Fermentation begins when sugar is dissolved in water and exposed to air, which creates living environments for living microorganisms called yeasts.  Yeasts multiple rapidly by eating the sugar, which is then converted to ethanol and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide bubbles to the top of the mixture, leaving ethanol. As the yeasts grow, so does the percentage of ethanol – 10 – 15 percent  Fermented beverages do not have an alcohol content higher than 15 percent  Which kinds of beverages results from fermentation depends on what sugar-containing substance is used.  When grapes are used, the grape juice ferments to form wine, when grains are used, fermentation produces beer  Distillation was developed to increase ethanol content.  Distillation involves heating a fermented mixture. Because alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, the steam emitted through boiling has a higher alcohol content than does the original fermented mixture. The vapour then is condensed through cooling and the resulting liquid has a higher alcohol content than the original fermented mixture. Expressing the Alcohol content of a Beverage  Alcohol percentage is denoted by volume. This calculation is straightforward: 16 ounces of a beverage that is 50 percent ethanol contains eight ounce2 of alcohol  The alcohol content is also designated by proof . Proof is used primarily for distilled spirits and is equal to twice the percentage of alcohol by volume  A mixture that is 57 percent alcohol by volume, if poured over gunpowder would cause its ignition in a open flame History of Alcohol Use  Humans have used alcohol for thousands of years, and the first non-distilled alcoholic beverages were made inadvertently by natural fermentation  Researchers believe the first beers were produced in Egypt as long ago as between 6000 BCE and 5000 BCE 1 2Distillation: The process by which he heating of a fermented mixture increases its alcohol content Proof: the proportion of alcohol in a beverage, by volume. Proof typically is used in reference to distilled spirits and equals twice the percentage of alcohol Page 2 of 9  The resulting product of acid beer was called „boozah‟  The earliest references to distilled spirits appeared in China in about 1000 BCE  Alcoholic beverages have played a role in important social occasions, such as births, religious ceremonies, and weddings, however if consumed excessively, it can result in problems to the individuals and the society in which they live  A French professor dubbed alcohol aqua vitae, meaning „water of life‟  The attitudes towards alcohol consumption were positive, and alcohol was viewed as meeting an array of physical, psychological, and social needs. America became known as a country of drunkards.  In 1790, adult citizens drank annually six gallons of pure alcohol per capita – amounts to five alcoholic beverages a day for each adult  People began to speak out against the ravages of alcohol – most influential among these critics and a pillar of the temperance movement that was to gain strength in the 19 century was the physician Benjamin Rush.  Rush‟s treatise, „Inquiring into the Effects of Distilled Spirits on the Human Mind and Body‟ delineated the effects of distilled spirits on humans. It was also the basis of the idea that alcoholism is a disease.  In the 19 century in America, saloons were built, meeting places where drinking occurred  The saloon was the focal scapegoat of the temperance movement and was blamed for social ills such as thievery, gambling, prostitution, and political corruption. The temperance movement also changed its stand from support of moderate use of non-distilled beverages to total abstinence of alcohol  John Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Henry Ford supported the temperance movement and gave money to back their moral support.  The public remains ambivalent about alcohol. This reflected in the saying. „Everybody enjoys a drink, but nobody enjoys a drunk.‟  Since the 80s the general trend in Canada and US has been toward limiting alcohol use through changes in social attitudes and tighter governmental controls  Drinking remains a major part of many social rituals  The negative consequences of excessive alcohol use are more apparent than ever because of activists with access to sophisticated communication techniques Consumption of Alcohol and Heavy Drinking in Canada Prevalence of Alcohol Use in Canada  76.1% of Canadians reported drinking in the past 12 months  In Canada in 2009, beer and liquor stores sold $19.4 billion worth of alcoholic beverages  Beer is Canada‟s drink of choice and in 2009, 2.3 billion liters of beer was purchased  According to CADUMS, 5% of Canadians labeled themselves as heavy frequent drinkers (consuming five or more per drinking occasion, once or more per week per year); 4% of Canadians reported heavy infrequent drinking (less frequent than once per week)  Men reported more prevalence of drinking than women, and heavy drinking among youth (ages 15-24) is three times higher than the rate for adults 25 and older  The graph on page 110 shows that the most alcohol in Canada was sold in the Yukon and the least in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan Consumption of Alcohol and Heavy Drinking among College and University Students  The typical college or university student is in the young adult age range (18-24 years)  Surveys have shown that the majority of college and university students, both male and female, have reported drinking alcohol in the last year Page 3 of 9  For many students, “binge drinking” – consuming at least 5 (for men) or 4 (for women) drinks on at least one occasion – tends to be the most common consumption pattern throughout their university/college experience  It has been found that more Canadian students drink alcohol than American, however, American students tend to drink more heavily (41% versus 35%, respectively) Pharmacokinetics of Alcohol Absorption  Consumed alcohol must pass from the stomach to the small intestine for rapid absorption to occur  If vaporized, it can be absorbed through lungs and subcutaneous sites  Major factors influencing absorption are those that alter the rate of alcohol‟s passage from the stomach to the intestines  Can slow absorption by seating; the presence of food in the stomach retards absorption  Faster drinking means faster absorption  Higher concentration of alcohol (whiskey on rocks) is absorbed more quickly than a lower concentrated drink (scotch and water)  Beer has food substances that slow its absorption  Carbonated beverages are absorbed more quickly than noncarbonated ones (champagne over wine)  The time between stopping drinking and the peak concentration of alcohol in the blood may range from 30 to 90 minutes Distribution  Blood is about 70 percent water and gets a high concentration of alcohol  Alcohol effects primarily the CNS, especially the brain  Alcohol in the blood matches that of the brain because alcohol passes through the blood-brain barrier  Standard drink – 0.5 ounces of alcohol, which is the equivalent of one ounce of whiskey, or 12 ounces of four percent alcohol beer, or four ounces of table wine  Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) – a measure of the concentration of alcohol in the blood expressed in grams per 100 mL; the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream  Percentage of weight of alcohol per 100 units of blood volume  1 drop of alcohol in 1000 drops of blood gives a BAC of 0.01 percent  Factors besides dose of alcohol that peak BAC:  Total body mass – because alcohol is distributed in both muscle and fat. Heavier people will have a lower BAC than lighter after consuming same amount of alcohol  How much of a body consists of fat and muscle. Leaner people have lower BACs then a drinker with a higher percentage of body fat. Women have higher percentage of body fat and therefore have a higher concentration. Women also have less enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase in their stomachs, preventing metabolizing alcohol  Taking aspirin while drinking will result in a higher BAC. Aspirin suppresses alcohol dehydrogenase in the stomach  Differences in the rate at which a body metabolizes alcohol influence the peak BAC is reached  Estimated BAC = NSD x (0.025%) – NHD x (0.015%)  Equation estimates the BAC result of a 160lbs man  NSD = number of standard drinks  NHD = number of hours since drinking began Metabolism and Excretion  90 percent of absorbed alcohol is metabolized in the liver Page 4 of 9  The rest is excreted in pure form through the kidneys and lungs  In the liver, it is broken down to acetaldehyde by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase; acetaldehyde is then broken down to carbon dioxide and water, releasing energy (calories)  Oxidation is the process by which the energy in foods is releases in the form of heat  Little can be done to hasten sobriety; wait for liver to do its work in its own constant time  At 2am if a BAC is 0.15, you will not be alcohol free until noon (10 hours) Tolerance and Dependence Tolerance  Regular use of alcohol results in some dispositional tolerance; drinkers must consume a greater quantities of alcohol to maintain a certain BAC  Can be reversed with absences of alcohol for a period of time  Larger consumptions of alcohol has serious health risks; toxic alcohol poisonings Physical Dependence  Physical dependence can develop for chronic heavy drinkers of alcohol  Three phases and symptoms of dependence  1 – As soon as a few hours after drinking stopped; shakes, weakness, alcohol and other drug seeking  2 – Within 24 hours of drinking cessation; seizures  3 – About 30 hours after drinking cessation (lasting 3 to 4 days); confusion, disorientation, high body temperature  End of withdrawal after 5 to 7 days; exhaustion and severe dehydration  Don‟t have to follow all 3 stages, can skip from 1 to 3 Acute Effects of Alcohol  Both acute and chronic effects of alcohol consumption  Alcohols acute effects is that alcohol generally acts on the body as a depressant, and its acute effects are proportional to the magnitude of the BAC  As the BAC increases, acute effects increase in number and intensity. Physiological Effects  Alcohol taken at low doses has several physiological effects.  Alcohol inhibits the secretion of the anti-diuretic hormone, which causes increased urination  Alcohol also reduces the amount of body fat that is oxidized  This acute effect of alcohol accumulates to result in long-term increased body fat and weight gain when alcohol is used in addiction to normal food intake.  Alcohols dilating effect on peripheral blood vessels causes some loss of body heat, however, and such action was thought to ultimately decrease protection against the cold.  One acute alcohol effect is that it increases gastric secretion, which stimulates the appetite  Disruption of sleep patterns- alcohol suppresses REM sleep, which is the stage of sleep cycle we dream at, when the dose is low, REM sleep is suppressed only in the first half of the night, but REM time rebounds and increases in the second half.  Alcohol impairs short term memory, and when high BACs are reached rapidly, a blackout may occur. Blackouts are thought to be the result of transfer failure of information in short-term memory to long- term memory Page 5 of 9  People also have gray-outs in which they can partially recall events that occurred  Hangovers are thought to be a minor withdrawal syndrome because they are the body‟s readjustment to a non-alcoholic state  It interacts synergistically with other CNS depressants. I.e.) alcohol and barbiturates (lead to more unintended suicides)  Alcohol decreases the effects of certain prescribed medications such as antibiotics, anticonvulsants, anticoagulants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors  Alcohol causes slight respiratory depression t lower doses but this effect does not reach dangerous levels in healthy people unless they consume very high doses  A dose of alcohol could be lethal (Lethal dose 50 or LD 50 BAC of .45-.5 %) due to dysfunction of the more primitive areas of the brain like the medulla that control breathing and heartbeat. Sensorimotor Effects  At moderate (.05) to higher BACs, alcohol has several acute effects on the senses.  Vision decreases in acuity, and taste/smell are not so sensitive, pain sensitivity decreases when the BAC is in the .08-.1 percent range.  Reaction time begins to slow significantly at a BAC of .10 percent.  Alcohol strongly affects body sway- which is measured by asking
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