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PSYC 3110 (51)
Chapter 8

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PSYC 3110
Kieran O' Doherty

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 growth 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  Genetic theories 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 drinking. 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
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