Chapter 8- Alcohol and drinking
Temperance societies - since 19 society popular beliefs about the dangers of alcohol have been shaped by this organization.
o Their influence helped bring about the prohibition in the USA,
o Also helped to establish the medical belief that alcoholics can never return to moderate drinking, but can only be cured
by being abstinent.
Most countries, with the exception of some countries with a majority of muslim populations, alcohol is legally obtainable.
Drink industry criticized for doing nothing to discourage all you can drink happy hours.
Currently most states permit the sale of alcohol and drive 15-20% of their income from alcohol tax.
Drinks industry seeks to influence government by making contributions to political parties.
Dangers of drinking alcohol
Risks with any single occasion of heavy drinking
o Driving, industrial, household accidents
o Domestic and other forms of violence as perpetrator or victim.
o Unwanted pregnancies, HIV or other forms of sexually transmitted diseases.
Risks associated with regular heavy drinking
o Death from liver cirrhosis and acute pancreatitis
o Irreversible neurological damage
o Increased risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers
o Problems with alcohol dependence
o Exacerbation of pre-existing difficulties such as depression
o Loss of employment
Risks associated with women who drink during pregnancy
o Fetal alcohol syndrome- child suffers from particular type of facial abnormality as well as mental impairment and stunted
o Spontenous abortion
o Low birth weight babies
J function for light drinkers at lower risk than either abstainers or heavier drinkers.
Causes of alcohol dependence
o Biological determinist view- born alcoholics are bound to have a drink and become alcoholic sooner or later.
o Inheritability of alcoholism- quite low= 30-36%.
o there is no reason to assume some people are born alcoholics.
Addiction theories- once the addiction has been established the victims lose all voluntary control over their drinking.
Disease theories- focused increasingly on the at-risk individual who has a predisposition to become alcoholic once he or she starts
Alcoholic dependence syndrome- the syndrome was viewed as a psych-physiological disorder. Symptoms:
o tolerance: diminished effect of alcohol
o withdrawal symptoms following reduced consumption
o consumption of larger amounts for a longer time period than intended
o persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control drinking
o excessive time spent obtaining, consuming or recovering from effects of alcohol
o reduction of important activities due to drinking
o continued drinking despite knowing it causes exacerbated physical or emotional problems.
Operant conditioning- type of learning when animals are trained to respond in a particular way to a stimulus by providing rewards after
they make the appropriate response.
o Gradient of reinforcement- much stronger response when the reinforcement occurs right after the behaviour rather
than delayed reinforcement. Ex: when drinking alcohol a small amount of positive reinforcement, such as reduced
anxiety, may cause a strong habit to develop inspite of the counterbalancing such as a hangover.
Classical conditioning- process by which a response that occurs as a natural reflex to a particular stimulus can be conditioned to occur to
a new stimulus.
Compensatory conditioned response model- initially when a drug is taken, a physiological ho