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Alcohol Dependence: Comprehension and Application

Short Term: The immediate effect of alcohol consumption is the alteration of mood. It may be surprising to discover that though it makes people feel a sense of euphoria, happiness and relaxation, it is in-fact, a depressant. The direct result of alcohol in the bloodstream causes impairment of motor co-ordination and suppresses central nervous system activity, which gives the impression of clumsiness and can lead to alcohol related accidents.

The more intoxicated the person becomes the further their speech becomes slurred, vision blurred and loss of balance. Further more it switches off that part of the brain that controls judgement, leading to loss of inhibitions. This impairs the persons decision making which can result in greater risk taking. However drinking in large doses can result in the suppression of vital bodily functions which can lead to coma, or even death. Additionally a drunken person vomiting while passed out, can lead to death by asphyxiation.

Alcohol also impairs the memory of an intoxicated person by inhibiting the transfer and consolidation of information in long and short-term memory. Therefore this reduces the drinkers ability to remember information that he/she has learned before going out for drinks. Furthermore, the attention span of the drinker is dramatically decreased for periods of up to forty-eight hours after drinking. This can further affect the academic performance of a student and his/her ability to study outside of class.

REM and deep sleep is also suppressed (extremely important for restful sleep, memory consolidation and emotional well being. Thus when REM is suppressed it will give a feeling of tiredness when waking up the morning after being intoxicated. Alcohol use also impairs the functioning of the immune systemweakening the bodys ability to fight off infectious disease. In the short term this will increase the number of colds that the drinker experiences.

Long term: Drinking for prolonged periods of time can have detrimental effects on the human body. Since alcohol is in fact a poisonous substance, having it circulating in the body will contribute to severe intestinal dysfunction. However, although alcohol alone is not the sole cause of the problems outlined below, it simply increases the risk of developing certain diseases/dysfunctions.

Describe the differences between drinking and binge drinking: Binge drinking is the term to describe heavy drinking within a short period of time or drinking unremittingly over period of days or weeks. It can also be outlined in terms of standard drinks, being five or more drinks in one day for men and three or more drinks in one day for women. Binge drinking can be exceptionally harmful to the body as it causes immense strain on the liver to process excessive amounts of alcohol during one period. Normal drinking however, is the opposite of this and can be outlined as drinking moderately and is more constant over a period of time.

Describe the social consequences of drunkenness: Consuming extreme amounts of alcohol can have disastrous social consequences. Running of the mouth is apparent while under the influence in that it can cause inappropriate things to be said to friends (secrets, putdowns etc) which could cause a breakdown in the friendship or loss of a friend altogether. In addition, the intoxicated person is less in control when under the influence and may do things that you may not normally do. This may cause people to view them differently by their bizarre actions and afterwards finding out about the embarrassing things that he/she may have done during the night. While under the influence intoxicated persons are more likely to engage in regrettable sex sexual encounters which are later regretted. Furthermore, this could lead to the spread of HIV or STDs as you are less likely to engage in safe-sex, while under the influence.

Drinking and Driving: Comprehension and Application State the legal limit and how this relates to alcohol consumption: The legal limit has been stated to be a BAC level of .05 or less. For a female to stay under the limit they have to consume no more than one standard drink in the first hour and one standard drink every hour after that, to a maximum of three hours. For men it is no more than two standard drinks in the first hour and no more than one standard drink every hour after that, to a maximum of three hours. A standard drink is defined as containing 10 grams of pure alcohol. Using standard drinks as a measure of alcohol consumption can assist people to monitor their alcohol intake.

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