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Chapter 11

PSY240H1 Chapter 11: Week 7 Reading Notes

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Christine Burton

Following up on somatic effects of alcohol: Dementia and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome These two can occur as a result of long-term heavy use of alcohol. Dementia is the general loss of intellectual abilities (in the context of alcohol, it’s as a result of neurotoxicity). The disease does not go away once the brain has been damaged (side note: mild to moderate intake of alcohol can serve a protective role in cognitive decline as we age). Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome results in confusion, loss of muscle coordination, and unintelligible speech as a result of a thiamine deficiency (a vitamin metabolized poorly by heavy drinkers). Following up on sedative effects of alcohol: Mixing caffeine with alcohol Caffeine reduces the sedative effect of alcohol and this can increase the likelihood of later dependence (recall people who respond less to sedative effects have a bigger chance of dependence) Following up right after those 7 ways to treat substance use disorders Harm Reduction This approach is embedded within the Controlled Drinking interventions. It is also embedded in the idea of safe injection sites (SIS) (Canada’s first ever in Vancouver). Drug use by injection causes a risk of overdose and HIV/AIDS + Hepatitis C infections. At these sites it is legal for users to inject their drug and can do so using clean equipment and under medical supervision. SIS can also direct substance-dependent clients to treatment programs and operate as primary health-care units. Controversy: SIS condones/encourages drug use and so a strict abstinence approach would better contain drug use. Scientific evidence supports SIS and their effectiveness at reducing the risks of regular injection drug use and increased the number of
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