CSAP, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. (1994). Rockville, Md.?: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Public Health Service.

‘Beneficial’ Effects Of Alcohol? Researchers Urge Caution On Recent Results, Suggest Life-Style Factors Real Source. (n.d.). ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 24, 2014, from

. (n.d.). . Retrieved June 24, 2014, from

Therafim RPG. (n.d.). Types Of Alcohol –. Retrieved June 24, 2014, from

. (n.d.). . Retrieved June 24, 2014, from

Alcohol History. (n.d.). History of Alcohol. Retrieved June 24, 2014, from

Social and Cultural Aspects of Drinking. (n.d.). Social and Cultural Aspects of Drining. Retrieved June 24, 2014, from


Recommended Actions


Alcohol Dependence and Treatment

In developing policies and approaches, several key components need to be taken into consideration. While some may be necessary under most conditions, others may not be appropriate or may be difficult to implement in all cases. The list below offers a menu of areas that need to be addressed, based on effective approaches that have been implemented elsewhere. Specific examples are provided in the online database Initiatives Reporting: Industry Actions to Reduce Harmful Drinking. 

Screening and identification

Availability of screening tools to identify dependent individuals.

  • Specialized instruments, such as AUDIT, MAST, CAGE.

Trained professionals who can administer instruments and identify dependent individuals. Professionals can include:

  • Health workers (nurses, doctors) in general practice and emergency rooms.
  • Reliance on other professionals where medical personnel is unavailable—e.g., health and social workers, pharmacists, educators.


Education of professionals to diagnose dependence.

  • Professional trained to offer assistance and treatment.
  • Attention to individual needs, culture, gender, goals for treatment outcome (i.e.,      abstinence or changed patterns).

Education of patients to change behavior.

  • Information about drinking patterns and outcomes.
  • Skills for coping and avoiding relapse.

Access to treatment

Availability of a range of treatment options.

  • Offer access to various treatment approaches.
  • Match patient with most appropriate treatment(s).
  • Range of treatment services targeting particular populations (e.g., young people,      women, the elderly).

Provision of services

  • Resources and services as integral part of healthcare system, with qualified      personnel.
  • Where resources are unavailable, greater reliance on alternative approaches,      such as through general practitioners, nurses, social workers, pharmacists,      and others.
  • Treatment and intervention available through employers, educators, community.
  • Access to support structure through involvement of broader community.
  • Support for those affected by dependent individuals (e.g., children, family).

Special considerations

  • Recognition of dependence as a medical condition, not criminal behavior.
  • Emphasis on sustainable behavior change.
  • Avoid stigmatization of dependent individuals.

Approaches to prevention/mitigation

Ten Tips for Prevention–Youth:

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No:  Sometimes, our fear of negative reaction from our friends, or others we don’t even know, keeps us from doing what we know is right.  Real simple, it may seem like “everyone is doing it,” but they are not.  Don’t let someone else make your decisions for you.  If someone is pressuring you to do something that’s not right for you, you have the right to say no, the right not to give a reason why, and the right to just walk away.
  2. Connect with Your Friends and Avoid Negative Peer Pressure:  Pay attention to who you are hanging out with.  If you are hanging out with a group in which the majority of kids are drinking alcohol or using drugs to get high, you may want to think about making some new friends.  You may be headed toward an alcohol and drug problem if you continue to hang around others who routinely drink alcohol, smoke marijuana, abuse prescription drugs or use illegal drugs.  You don’t have to go along to get along.
  3. Make Connections with Your Parents or Other Adults:  As you grow up, having people you can rely on, people you can talk to about life, life’s challenges and your decisions about alcohol and drugs is very important.  The opportunity to benefit from someone else’s life experiences can help put things in perspective and can be invaluable.
  4. Enjoy Life and Do What You Love – Don’t Add Alcohol and Drugs:  Learn how to enjoy life and the people in your life, without adding alcohol or drugs.  Alcohol and drugs can change who you are, limit your potential and complicate your life.  Too often, “I’m bored” is just an excuse.  Get out and get active in school and community activities such as music, sports, arts or a part-time job.  Giving back as a volunteer is a great way to gain perspective on life.
  5. Follow the Family Rules about Alcohol and Drugs:  As you grow up and want to assume more control over your life, having the trust and respect of your parents is very important.  Don’t let alcohol and drugs come between your and your parents.  Talking with mom and dad about alcohol and drugs can be very helpful.
  6. Get Educated about Alcohol and Drugs:  You cannot rely on the myths and misconceptions that are out there floating around among your friends and on the internet.  Your ability to make the right decisions includes getting educated.  Visit Learn About Alcohol and Learn About Drugs.  And, as you learn, share what you are learning with your friends and your family.
  7. Be a Role Model and Set a Positive Example:  Don’t forget, what you do is more important than what you say!  You are setting the foundation and direction for your life; where are you headed?
  8. Plan Ahead:  As you make plans for the party or going out with friends you need to plan ahead.  You need to protect yourself and be smart.  Don’t become a victim of someone else’s alcohol or drug use.  Make sure that there is someone you can call, day or night, no matter what, if you need them.  And, do the same for your friends.
  9. Speak Out/Speak Up/Take Control:  Take responsibility for your life, your health and your safety.  Speak up about what alcohol and drugs are doing to your friends, your community and encourage others to do the same.
  10. Get Help!  If you or someone you know is in trouble with alcohol or drugs, (What to Look For), get help.  Don’t wait.  You are not alone.




Types of treatment



Medications can be used to help reestablish normal brain function and to prevent relapse and diminish cravings.

We have medications for

Opioids (heroin, morphine)

Tobacco (nicotine)

Alcohol addiction

Most people with severe addiction problems, however, are polydrug users (users of more than one drug) and will require treatment for all of the substances that they abuse.

Medications. Medications can be used to help with different aspects of the treatment process.

Three medications have been FDA–approved for treating alcohol dependence:

  1. Naltrexone – blocks opioid receptors that are involved in the rewarding effects of drinking and in the craving for alcohol. It reduces relapse to heavy drinking and is highly effective in some but not all patients—this is likely related to genetic differences.
  2. Acamprosate – thought to reduce symptoms of protracted withdrawal, such as insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, and dysphoria (an unpleasant or uncomfortable emotional state, such as depression, anxiety, or irritability). It may be more effective in patients with severe dependence.
  3. Disulfiram – interferes with the degradation of alcohol, resulting in the accumulation of acetaldehyde, which, in turn, produces a very unpleasant reaction that includes flushing, nausea, and palpitations if the patient drinks alcohol. Compliance can be a problem, but among patients who are highly motivated, disulfiram can be very effective.


A fourth, topiramate, is showing encouraging results in clinical trials.



Medications offer help in suppressing withdrawal symptoms during detoxification. However, medically assisted detoxification is not in itself “treatment”—it is only the first step in the treatment process. Patients who go through medically assisted withdrawal but do not receive any further treatment show drug abuse patterns similar to those who were never treated.

Behavioral Treatments

Behavioral treatments help patients engage in the treatment process, modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse, and increase healthy life skills. These treatments can also enhance the effectiveness of medications and help people stay in treatment longer. Treatment for drug abuse and addiction can be delivered in many different settings using a variety of behavioral approaches.

Outpatient behavioral treatment


Encompasses a wide variety of programs for patients who visit a clinic at regular intervals. Most of the programs involve individual or group drug counseling. Some programs also offer other forms of behavioral treatment such as—

  • Cognitive–behavioral therapy, which seeks to help patients recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations in which they are most likely to abuse drugs.
  • Multidimensional family therapy, which was developed for adolescents with drug abuse      problems—as well as their families—addresses a range of influences on      their drug abuse patterns and is designed to improve overall family      functioning.
  • Motivational interviewing, which capitalizes on the readiness of individuals to change their      behavior and enter treatment.
  • Motivational incentives (contingency management), which uses positive reinforcement to      encourage abstinence from drugs.


Residential treatment programs


Can also be very effective, especially for those with more severe problems. For example, therapeutic communities (TCs) are highly structured programs in which patients remain at a residence, typically for 6 to 12 months. TCs differ from other treatment approaches principally in their use of the community—treatment staff and those in recovery—as a key agent of change to influence patient attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors associated with drug use. Patients in TCs may include those with relatively long histories of drug addiction, involvement in serious criminal activities, and seriously impaired social functioning. TCs are now also being designed to accommodate the needs of women who are pregnant or have children. The focus of the TC is on the resocialization of the patient to a drug-free, crime–free lifestyle.

Treatment within the Criminal Justice System

Treatment in a criminal justice setting can succeed in preventing an offender’s return to criminal behavior, particularly when treatment continues as the person transitions back into the community. Studies show that treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective.

My Drinking History

Age 16:

Drinking on weekends a party every 2 months or so

Keg beer 3-4 glasses

Age 17

Drinking more often 2 party’s a month

Keg Beer 3-4 glasses

Smoked pot for the first time

Age 18

Partying every weekend

Keg beer 3-4 glasses

Age 19

Partying on weekends and sometimes weekdays

A 6-8 beers

Had smoked pot about 4-5 times by now

November 2002 left for basic training no drinking and no drugs


Age 20

April 2003 left for Germany

Drinking every weekend 6 pack with 2-3 shots

August 2003 Still in Germany

Drinking every weekend and on Wednesday’s

7-9 beers and 5-10 shots

Age 21

January 2004

Turned 21 in Germany

No change to drinking habits

July 2004

Found out I was going to Iraq

Started drinking more often almost Daily

Same amount 7-9 beers

Sometimes less

Age 22

January 2005

Left for Iraq

No Drinking

July 2005

Home on leave

Drinking probably 9 out of 21 days home

December 2005

Returned from Iraq to Germany

Age 23

January 2006

Drinking 5-6 beers on weekends

March – May 2006

Abstained from drinking

June 2006

Returned to drinking

3-4 Beers occasionally

September 2006

Returned home from army

Moved out of home

Drinking on weekends only

Usually a 6 pack of beer

December 2006

Drinking increased to 8-10 beers on weekends

One or two nightly drinks

Age 24

July 2007

Got first DUI

Started Classes

Abstained from Drinking

September 2007

Moved from Monroe to Beloit

Started drinking on weekends again

4-5 beers

November 2007

Got Second DUI

While in classes

Had 8 Drinks

December 2007

Drinking decreased to no more than 4 drinks

Age 25

January 2008

Drinking Every weekend 6 pack per night

June 2008

Drinking all the time 3 drink minimum

Age 26

January 2009

Drinking habits continued

March 2009

Drinking habits changed to drinking only on the weekends

Drinking 3-4 drinks per weekend day

June 2009

Still drinking on the weekends

Drinking during the week too

One or 2 days a week 2-3 mixed drinks

September 2009

Drinking only on weekends

3-4 drinks per weekend day

Smoked pot for the first time again

October 2009

Abstained from drinking

December 2009

Returned to drinking

One drink per time going out

Age 27

January 2010

Drinking 2-3 drinks per time going out

Starting to have problems at home


Starting drinking more again 4-5 drinks

One – 3 shots per night out

Got busted for possession of pot

Moved out of house

Started drinking nightly

Called Rehab unit and Set up date for intake

March 2010

Still drinking daily 3-4 glasses of wine

Left for Rehab on March 17th

April 2010

Released from Rehab on the 16th of April

Attended AA every Thursday

May 2010

Still attending AA every other Thursday

Meeting with Group Sessions Every other Thursday also

In Couples counseling as well

June 2010

Stopped AA

Stopped Group Sessions

Meeting with Counselor on individual basis

July 2010

Returned to School

Meeting with Brian (substance abuse counselor) every Thursday

August 2010

Finished School

Meeting with Brian 1 x per week

September 2010

Started Fall Semester again

Still seeing Brian 1 x per week!

7) Overall Health impact

The benefits that have been theorized about moderate alcohol consumption cannot be questioned when looked at within the context of other social and lifestyle factors such as income, education, gender, and age. The short term and long term potential health dangers greatly outweigh any theorized benefits.  , this link has detailed information on how alcohol affects all systems of the human body.

Boston University Medical Center. (2010, August 19). Moderate drinking, especially wine, associated with better cognitive function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 12, 2014 from

Boston University Medical Center. “Moderate drinking, especially wine, associated with better cognitive function.” ScienceDaily. (accessed June 12, 2014).


6) Current Benefits

A large prospective study of 5033 men and women in the Tromsø Study in northern Norway has reported that moderate wine consumption is independently associated with better performance on cognitive tests. The subjects (average age 58 and free of stroke) were followed over 7 years during which they were tested with a range of cognitive function tests.

Among women, there was a lower risk of a poor testing score for those who consumed wine at least 4 or more times over two weeks in comparison with those who drink < 1 time during this period. The expected associations between other risk factors for poor cognitive functioning were seen, i.e. lower testing scores among people who were older, less educated, smokers, and those with depression, diabetes, or hypertension.

It has long been known that “moderate people do moderate things.” The authors state the same thing: “A positive effect of wine . . . could also be due to confounders such as socio-economic status and more favorable dietary and other lifestyle habits.”

The authors also reported that not drinking was associated with significantly lower cognitive performance in women. As noted by the authors, in any observational study there is the possibility of other lifestyle habits affecting cognitive function, and the present study was not able to adjust for certain ones (such as diet, income, or profession) but did adjust for age, education, weight, depression, and cardiovascular disease as its major risk factors.

The results of this study support findings from previous research on the topic: In the last three decades, the association between moderate alcohol intake and cognitive function has been investigated in 68 studies comprising 145,308 men and women from various populations with various drinking patterns. Most studies show an association between light to moderate alcohol consumption and better cognitive function and reduced risk of dementia, including both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Such effects could relate to the presence in wine of a number of polyphenols (antioxidants) and other micro elements that may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline with ageing. Mechanisms that have been suggested for alcohol itself being protective against cognitive decline include effects on atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), coagulation (thickening of the blood and clotting), and reducing inflammation (of artery walls, improving blood flow).

(Boston University Medical Center. “Moderate drinking, especially wine, associated with better cognitive function.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 August 2010. <>.)

5) Causes for Concern

Acute Toxicity

Short-Term Health Risks

Excessive alcohol use has immediate effects that increase the risk of many harmful health conditions. These immediate effects are most often the result of binge drinking and include the following—

  • Injuries,      including traffic injuries, falls, drowning, burns, and unintentional      firearm injuries.
  • Violence,      including intimate partner violence and child maltreatment. About 35% of      victims report that offenders are under the influence of alcohol.      Alcohol use is also associated with 2 out of 3 incidents of intimate      partner violence. Studies have also shown that alcohol is a      leading factor in child maltreatment and neglect cases, and is the most      frequent substance abuse among these parents.
  • Risky      sexual behaviors, including unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners,      and increased risk of sexual assault. These behaviors can result in      unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Miscarriage      and stillbirth among pregnant women, and a combination of physical and      mental birth defects among children that last throughout life.
  • Alcohol      poisoning, a medical emergency that results from high blood alcohol levels      that suppress the central nervous system and can cause loss of      consciousness, low blood pressure and body temperature, coma, respiratory      depression, or death.

Chronic Toxicity

Long-Term Health Risks

Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases, neurological impairments and social problems. These include but are not limited to—

  • Neurological      problems, including dementia, stroke and neuropathy.
  • Cardiovascular      problems, including myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation      and hypertension.
  • Psychiatric      problems, including depression, anxiety, and suicide.
  • Social      problems, including unemployment, lost productivity, and family problems.
  • Cancer of  the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast. In      general, the risk of cancer increases with increasing amounts of alcohol.
  • Liver      diseases, including—
    • Alcoholic       hepatitis.
    • Cirrhosis,       which is among the 15 leading causes of all deaths in the United States.
    • Among       persons with Hepatitis C virus, worsening of liver function and       interference with medications used to treat this condition.
  • Other      gastrointestinal problems, including pancreatitis and gastritis.

Dependence potential

Alcoholism is a term commonly used to describe the medical disorder of alcohol dependence. Many health professionals prefer more precise language that distinguishes between alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse.

Alcohol dependence is an illness with four main features:

  • Physical      dependence, with a characteristic withdrawal syndrome that is relieved by      more alcohol (e.g., morning drinking) or other drugs;
  • Physiological      tolerance, so that more and more alcohol is needed to produce the desired      effects;
  • Difficulty in      controlling how much alcohol is consumed once drinking has begun;
  • A craving for      alcohol that can lead to relapse if one tries to abstain.

Alcohol abuse is different from alcohol dependence. Abusers are not necessarily physically addicted to alcohol, but develop problems as a result of their alcohol consumption and poor judgment, failure to understand the risks, or lack of concern about damage to themselves or others. Because they are not addicted, alcohol abusers remain in control of their behavior and can change their drinking patterns in response to explanations and warnings. An alcohol abuser either:

  • Persists in      habitual drinking or occasional binge drinking that causes or exacerbates      a persistent or recurrent social, work, financial, legal, or health      problem;
  • Or uses alcohol      repeatedly under circumstances which are physically dangerous, such as      driving while intoxicated.

Many people who abuse alcohol eventually become alcohol dependent.

Warning Signs

The presence of any of the following indicators suggests that an individual may have a serious alcohol problem or be at high risk for developing one. Any one indicator is not conclusive evidence of a serious problem, but it is relevant circumstantial evidence and should be noted.

  • Drinking is causing      or exacerbating a persistent or recurring social, work, financial, legal,      or health problem. This is the heart of the alcohol issue.
  • Individual has      tried unsuccessfully to cut down the extent of alcohol use. Or, once the      person starts drinking, he/she sometimes loses control over the amount      consumed. Both are indicators of alcohol dependence.
  • Individual commonly      drinks while alone. Regular solitary drinking, as compared with social      drinking, indicates potential current or future alcohol dependence.
  • Individual drinks      to relax prior to social events, as compared with using alcohol at      social events. Drinking prior to social events indicates potential current      or future alcohol problems.
  • Individual drinks      first thing in the morning as an “eye-opener” or to get rid of a      hangover. This is a strong indicator of dependence.
  • Individual claims a      high tolerance for alcohol, for example, makes statements such as: “I      can drink a lot without it’s having any effect on me, so I don’t have to      worry.” High tolerance is an indicator of alcohol dependence — it      takes more and more to have the same effect on the body.
  • Individual uses      alcohol as a means of coping with life’s problems. This indicates possible      psychological or emotional problems and greatly increases the likelihood      that alcohol already is or will become a problem. On the other hand, if      motivation is experimentation, peer pressure, or adolescent      rebelliousness, this does not necessarily predict future abuse.
  • There has been a      recent increase in individual’s drinking. A change for the worse in      drinking pattern may signal the existence of other relevant issues.
  • There is a family      history of alcohol abuse. Genetic studies indicate that alcoholism tends      to run in families and that a genetic vulnerability to alcoholism exists.      The disruption of family life in an alcoholic home also plays a role in      creating vulnerability to alcoholism later in life. On the other hand,      many children react to parental alcoholism by carefully avoiding alcohol      themselves. According to one study, the chances the child will follow in      the parent’s footsteps depend, in part; upon which parent are the      alcoholic and the nature of the relationship with that parent. Children of alcoholic mothers are at far greater risk than children of alcoholic fathers.

Social Problems

Alcoholism carries with it a host of social problems. Both the drinker and the family unit are affected. Alcohol can have devastating effects on the family. Numerous marriages have been destroyed by alcohol, both emotionally and financially. Children of alcoholics are emotionally fractured by alcoholic parents. Approximately 20 percent of adults grew up with a family member with an alcohol problem. These adults themselves are at risk for developing substance abuse problems. Emotional issues such as guilt, depression, and relationship problems are often found in children of alcoholics.

Alcoholics may have additional problems that compound the alcohol issue. Drugs, both prescription and illegal, may cause a synergistic effect in which the overall whole effect of the combined substances is greater than the sum of the parts. This, of course, can have devastating, even fatal, consequences. Psychological problems ranging from depression to schizophrenia are often seen in the alcoholic. These people may attempt to self-medicate with alcohol, not realizing that alcohol may exacerbate the symptoms of their mental illness.

Communities suffer the cost of alcohol abuse. An enormous amount of money is lost each year in the workplace because of alcohol. Insurance costs, decreased productivity, workplace injuries, and work-related grievances are just a few of many problems associated with alcohol. Alcohol is also a leading factor in motor vehicle accidents and injuries. Alcohol-related vehicular accidents are especially prevalent among teenagers and young adults, for whom they are the leading cause of accidental death. Falls, fires, drowning, and suicides are also frequently associated with alcohol.

4) Alcohol Pharmacology

Central nervous system depressant

Drinkers often perceive alcohol to be stimulating.

This perception, which usually occurs at lower levels of alcohol intake, results from a depression of inhibitory control mechanisms in the brain.

Alcohol is classified as a general anesthetic, which produces a range of central nervous system (CNS) effects similar to those of other sedative/hypnotic drugs.

First it destroys the integrating control of the brain which may cause thought processes to become disorganized and chaotic. The drinker may become confused and disoriented. In addition motor functions may become less fluid.

Alcohol absorption

Alcohol is absorbed from the stomach and small intestine by diffusion.

Most absorption occurs from the small intestine due to its large surface area and rich blood supply.

The rate of absorption varies with the emptying time of the stomach.

The higher the alcohol concentration of the beverage, the faster the rate of absorption. Above a certain concentration, the rate of absorption may decrease due to the delayed passage of alcohol from the stomach into the small intestine.

The maximum absorption rate is obtained with the consumption of an alcoholic beverage containing approximately 20-25% (by volume or v/v) alcohol solution on an empty stomach.

The absorption rate may be less when alcohol is consumed with food or when a 40% (v/v) alcohol solution is consumed on an empty stomach.

The rate may also slow down when high fluid volume/low alcohol content beverages, such as beer, are consumed.

Elimination of alcohol

Alcohol is eliminated from the body by excretion and metabolism.

Most alcohol is metabolized, or burned, in a manner similar to food, yielding carbon dioxide and water.

A small portion of alcohol is excreted, such as through the breath, leaving the body as alcohol, unchanged.

It is this latter process that allows for breath alcohol testing.

Average rate of elimination

Elimination occurs at a constant rate for a given individual.

The median rate of decrease in BAC is considered to be 15 milligrams percent (mg %) per hour.

The range of decrease in BAC is 10-20 mg% per hour.

This range represents the extreme ends of the rate encountered in a normal population.

Most people eliminate at a rate of between 13 and 18 mg% per hour.

The majority eliminates at the higher end.

Very few people eliminate at as low a rate as 10 mg% per hour.

Drinking data

Time consumption began

Time consumption ceased

Approximate time at which each drink was consumed

Consumption pattern

— Evenly spaced

— More drinks at the beginning

–more at the end of the drinking time interval)

Meals eaten (times and description).

Each drink should be identified by beverage size and alcohol content.



Container type (cans, bottles, draft glasses etc.)

Whether it was light, regular or extra-strength.



Alcohol content

Wine glasses should be described by beverage volume.

Liquor, liqueurs and shooters

“Shot” size


Alcohol content whenever possible.

Shooters with multiple ingredients should be identified according to the components used to formulate the mixture and the proportions used.

Drug Affect on synapse and physiological effects

  • Vision: (visual acuity, depth      perception; peripheral vision; and glare recovery)
  • Reaction time: simple, choice      and complex reaction times
  • Tracking tasks: compensatory      and pursuit tracking
  • Cognitive functions:      concentrated attention; divided attention; rates of information      processing; judgments; and decision-making.
  • Psychomotor skills:      coordination; body sway; manual dexterity; and    general      walking
  • Driving simulators and closed      course driving experiments: braking and stopping efficiency; steering; lane      position; evasive maneuvers; parking; and emergency response
  • Other aspects: memory;      risk-taking; overcompensation
  • Epidemiological studies:      increased risk of accident with increasing BACs

Psychological Effects

Drinking profoundly alters mood, arousal, behavior, and neuropsychological functioning.

Studies have found that the specific effects depend not just on how much someone drinks, but also on whether blood alcohol content (BAC) is rising or falling.

While in the process of drinking, alcohol acts as a stimulant

As drinking tapers off it begins to act more as a sedative.

As BAC ascends, drinkers report increases in elation, excitement and extroversion, with simultaneous decreases in fatigue, restlessness, depression and tension.

A descending BAC corresponds to a decrease in vigor and an increase in fatigue, relaxation, confusion, and depression.

Researchers found that drinking increases levels of norepinephrine, the neurotransmitter responsible for arousal, which would account for heightened excitement when someone begins drinking.

The regions of the brain with the greatest decrease in activity were the prefrontal cortex and the temporal cortex.

Decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex, the region responsible for decision making and rational thought. Explains why alcohol causes us to act without thinking.

The prefrontal cortex also plays a role in preventing aggressive behavior, so this might help explain the relationship between alcohol and violence.

The temporal cortex houses the hippocampus, the brain region responsible for forming new memories.

Reduced activity in the hippocampus might account for why people black out when drinking.

Alcohol also decreases energy consumption in the cerebellum

A brain structure that coordinates motor activity.

With a cerebellum running at half-speed, it would be hard to walk a straight line or operate heavy machinery

Six Stages of Alcohol Intoxication

  • Euphoria
    Difficulty concentrating
    Lowered inhibitions
    Brighter color in the face
    Fine motor skills are lacking
  • Excitement
    Senses are dulled
    Poor coordination
    Beginnings of erratic behavior
    Slow reaction time
    Impaired judgment
  • Confusion
    Exaggerated emotions
    Difficulty walking
    Blurred vision
    Slurred speech
    Pain is dulled
  • Coma
    Low body temperature
    Possible death
    Shallow breathing
    Slow pulse
  • Death
    Death as a result of respiratory arrest
  • Stupor
    Cannot stand or walk
    Unconsciousness is possible
    Decreased response to stimuli

Alcohol use in the US

Recent Alcohol Use in the US

(According to The National Survey on Drug use and Health 2007 survey)

A) What classifies as a drink?

  • One can or bottle of beer
  • One glass of wine, or wine cooler.
  • One shot of liquor (1.5 oz.)
  • One mixed drink

B) Drinking Rates based on Age and Gender

  • Under 12 years old
    • 56.6% of Males
    • 46.0% of Females
    • 12 – 17 years old
      • 15.9% of Males
      • 16.0%  of Females
    • 18 – 25 years old
      • 65.3% of Males
      • 57.1% of Females

 C) Different classifications of usage

  • Current use (past month) ~ at least one drinks in thirty days.
  • Rates of current alcohol use by age 2007
    • 12 – 13 years 3.5%
    • 14 – 15 years 14.7%
    • 16 – 17 years 29%
    • 18 – 20 years 50.7%
    • 21 – 25 years 68.3%
    • 26 – 29 years 63.2%
    • 60 – 64 years 47.6%
    • 65 and up 38.1%
      • Binge use ~ Five or more drinks on one occasion
      • Rates of binge drinking by age 2007
        • 12 – 13 years 1.5%
        • 14 – 15 years 7.8%
        • 16 – 17 years 19.4%
        • 18 – 20 years 35.7%
        • 21 – 25 years 45.9%
        • 26 – 34 years 35.1%
        • 35 – 64 years 18.9%
        • 65 and up 7.6%
          • Heavy use ~ 5 or more drinks on one occasion for 5 or more days in the past 30 days
          • Rates of heavy drinking by age 2007
            • 18 – 25 years 14.7%
            • 65 and older 1.4%

D) Drinking Rates of Pregnant women ages 15 – 44 years

  • 11.6% reported current use
  • 3.7% reported binge drinking
    • 6.6% reported binge drinking during their first trimester
    • 0.7% reported heavy drinking

E)   Drinking Rates By Race

Current use

  • White ~ 56.1%
  • American Indians/Alaskan Natives ~ 44.7%
  • Hispanics ~ 42.1%
  • Black ~ 39.3%
  • Asian ~ 35.2% 

Binge Use

  • White ~ 24.6%
  • Hispanic ~ 23.4%
  • 2 or more races ~ 23.2%
  • Black ~ 19.1%
  • Asian ~ 12.6%



  • The actual origin of consumable alcohol is unknown, but it is believed that its use can be dated back over thousands of years.  
  • Before 10,000 B.C ~ Anthropologists speculate that humans may have settled and cultivated ingredients for beer, this liquid diet preceded bread as a provider of needed nutrition, calories, and medicine.
  • 7,000 B.C ~ Early evidence has been found for the production of an alcoholic beverage in China.
  • 4,000 B.C ~ Early Egyptians produced fermented beverages.
  • 3,000-2,000 B.C~ Sura, a beverage of distilled rice was made in India.
  • 2,700 B.C~ Babylonians worshiped the Wine Goddess
  • 1,500 B.C~ In Greece they made Mede out of fermented honey and water.  Stories written during ancient Greek times often warn of the dangers of over-drinking.
  • 1400~ Native Americans made a variety of fermented beverages using corn, grapes, or apples in pre-Columbian times.
  • 16th Century~ Alcohol was used primarily for medical purposes, and referred to as spirits.
  • 18th Century~ The Parliament in Brittan encouraged farmers to use their grains for fermentation and distilling purposes. This made for an abundance of inexpensive spirits that were widely accessible. The consumption of Gin would go up to an astonishing 18 million Gallons and an epidemic of alcoholism was wide spread.
  • 19th Century~ new attitudes about consumption of alcohol began to emerge and The Temperance Movement promoted moderation. The Temperance Movement would soon evolve into an all out push for complete probation of alcohol.
  • 1920~ Probation of alcohol becomes a reality and the manufacturing, exporting, and importing of alcohol is now illegal. This new law prompted a huge market for illegal trade that spiked in 1933 and it lead to the end of probation laws.