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TEEN Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 3

Teenage Drinking 8

Effects 9

Causes 10

Reasons Teens Drink 10

Treatment 11

Alcohol abuse 12

Literature: 13

TEEN Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Alcohol abuse is a very dangerous condition in that it can cause many problems in a person’s life and affect many aspects of their lifestyle. Alcoholism (or alcohol abuse) somehow affects everyone’s life at some point in time; through a parent, a sibling, a friend, or even personal encounters. Alcohol abuse, as a medical diagnosis, refers to a pattern of behavior characterized by excessive alcohol consumption. This consumption can occur at regular intervals, regular weekend intervals, or during binges, which are considered as being intoxicated for at least two successive days. Difficulty in stopping, reducing the amount of alcohol use, and impaired social/occupational role functioning are all characteristics of alcohol abuse.

A number of theories in the medical field are used to explain alcohol abuse. These are the biologic-genetic model, learning/social model, the psychodynamic model, and the multidimensional model. Each different model, for alcoholism has varied explanations as to how and why people use and abuse alcohol.

The biologic-genetic model states that there is a specific genetic vulnerability for alcoholism. There have been extensive studies on factors in the genes that could determine or influence the use of alcohol from generation to generation. However, these studies have shown no hard evidence for an association between alcoholism and inherited factors.

The psychodynamic model of alcoholism proposes that problematic child rearing practices produce psychosexual maldevelopment and dependence/independece conflicts. It is believed that while habitual alcohol use is in process, the habitual drinker may use behavior such as exaggeration, denial, rationalization, and affiliation with socially deviant groups. Results of these behaviors may include decreased work efficiency, job loss, alienation of friends and family, or even hospitalization.

The multidimensional model of alcoholism combines the interaction of biological, behavioral, and sociocultural factors. These three factors contribute together to make the strongest model, in which most alcoholics fit. The biological model relates to the progression from occasional initial relief drinking, to the increase of tolerance, and from loss of memory during heavy drinking periods to an urgency of drinking. The behavioral model is helpful in the identification of high-risk situations, in which alcoholics are most likely to be ritualistally drinking. Sociocultural factors are present in peer interaction around drinking as a primary activity for entertainment. This can lead to the preference of drinking for social interaction. Ideas such as this are influenced greatly, and shaped by media through commercials, television portrayal of alcohol use as a coping skill, and the belief that the use of alcohol to reduce life’s stress is socially acceptable. Another area in which alcohol is looked at as all right, comes during the aging process. The death of a spouse, job relocation, retirement, or loss of health put older people at risk of alcoholism and is identified as having late-onset alcoholism (McFarland 458).

Alcoholism can be divided into several subtypes. Gamma alcoholism applies to binge drinkers who alternate periods of sobriety and drunkenness. An example of gamma alcoholism would be a college student who engages in heavy binge drinking. In contrast, beta alcoholism is manifested by physical complications of chronic alcohol use such as cirrhosis, weakening of the liver, heart, stomach, and esophagus. An example of a beta alcoholic would be a housewife who is a maintenance drinker and experiences withdrawal symptoms. A number of issues also arises among characteristics of alcoholism. Behavioral problems are often visible signs. Poor school grades, rambling speech, disciplinary problems, excessive fighting, truancy, vandalism, and hyperactivity are all possible signs of alcoholism.

Alcoholism is a disease that is very serious and complicated. The curing of alcoholism is a difficult process which requires accepting the presence of the condition, self realization, and support. As a person begins to achieve control over their drinking problem, by implementing new coping strategies, and increasing a sense of competence and hope, a new phase of life is entered.

Alcohol is a drug and, like all drugs, it has an effect on a person’s body and mind. Because drinking alcoholic beverages makes some people feel more alive and more outgoing, alcohol is sometimes seen as a stimulant. But in fact it is a depressant, and slows down the central nervous system, of which the brain is a part.

Small amounts of alcohol can affect a person’s coordination and judgment. Drinking a large amount of alcohol at one time can even cause death. Alcohol is estimated to be contributing factor in 20-30% of all accidents. In fatal car accidents involving young men after 10pm it is a contributory factor in 60% of these cases. About 30% of all drowning are estimated to be alcohol related. This proportion may rise to 50% between the ages 20-30. Alcohol is also a poisonous. It must be broken down and removed from the body. However, it leaves behind toxins, or poisons, that can cause health problems and contribute to serious diseases. Beer
contains the least amount of alcohol, about 3-6%. Wine is 8-14 percent alcohol. Distilled spirits have a much higher alcoholic content. The alcoholic content of gin, scotch, vodka, whiskey, rum, and bourbon is about 40%. When alcohol enters the body this is what happens. Within 20 minutes of entering the stomach, as much as 20% of the alcohol in a drink is absorbed into the bloodstream. The rest remains in the stomach where it stimulates the secretion of gastric juices. Large amounts of alcohol entering an empty stomach can irritate the gastric lining and cause the stomach to become inflamed. From the stomach, the alcohol passes into the small intestine. Here the rest of it is absorbed through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. From the bloodstream, about 5 percent of alcohol leave the body unchanged through urine, sweat, or exhaled breath.

Next the alcohol travels via the bloodstream to the heart. Small amounts of alcohol produce a slight increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Larger amounts reduce pumping power of the heart and can cause an irregular heartbeat. The heart then pumps the alcohol through the blood vessels to other parts of the body, including the brain. Drinking puts on pounds, right? Wrong! It is widely thought that drinking alcohol leads to increases in weight, but this common belief is not supported by scientific evidence. For example, a recent review of 38 studies found that over two-thirds of them showed either weight loss or no relationship in alcohol and weight. The reason alcohol does not generally lead to weight gain is currently the subject of scientific debate and investigation. However, one thing is clear: the majority of medical research studies over the past ten years have found that moderate consumption of alcohol does not lead to weight gain. Recent Harvard study found the risk of death from all causes to be 21% to 28% lower among men who drank alcohol moderately compared to abstainers. (World Health Organization) Almost one half of seniors drink alcohol at least once a month, about 20% drink at least once a week. Nearly one third of ninth graders drink alcohol at least once a month 12% drink at least once a week. Regular use of alcohol has not changed significantly since 1989. Crime is inextricably related to alcohol and other drugs. (AOD) Alcohol is a key factor in up to 68% of manslaughter’s, 62% of assaults, 54% of murders or attempted murders, 48% of robberies, 44% of burglaries. In 1992 there were 6,839 deaths due to alcohol

Each and every case of FAS is a needless tragedy. Victims suffer serious physical deformities and often mental deficiencies. And, they suffer these problems for their entire lives. While most cases occur among alcoholics who consume alcohol heavily throughout their pregnancies, no one knows for certain what level of alcohol consumption is safe for a pregnant woman. Cirrhosis is probably the most widely recognized medical complication of chronic alcoholism. It is a grave and irreversible condition characterized by progressive replacement of healthy liver tissues with scars, which can lead to liver failure and death. There have been many procedures used to take precautions against irresponsible alcoholics. Police have taken action and have the power to breathalyse. Although this has helped catch drunk drivers the problem hasn’t stopped. The Police have asked for restrictions on breathtesting drivers to be removed. This would help them to use their powers more effectively both as a deterrent and also to target drunk drivers who remain undeterred. There is evidence that high profile breathtesting cuts casualty rates. An argument frequently implied by the alcohol industry against lowering the limit is that such a step would not effect casualties as road deaths tend to be caused primarily by drivers with very high blood alcohol levels who ignore a lower limit just as they ignore the present one.

The fact is that the number of alcohol related deaths occur when any level of alcohol is consumed. The same number of casualties occurs with a very low limit of alcohol in comparison to very high. Alcoholism can lead to many serious problems for the alcoholic and the people surrounding them. This is a disease that takes millions of lives every year and should be taken seriously. Alcoholism is a disease that can be helped. Many programs have been formed to help teach alcohol prevention. New laws and regulations provide a reinforcement to punish offenders, which may in the end teach them to stay sober. Whether you’re an alcoholic or not the facts are in print and the consequences remain, but the choice is yours.

Alcoholism is a wide-ranging and complex disease that heavily plagues society. Drinking is defined as the consumption of a liquid, and/or the act of drinking alcoholic beverages especially to excess. Every year alcohol is responsible for 1/2 of all murders, accidental deaths, and suicides; 1/3 of all drowning, boating, and aviation deaths; 1/2 of all crimes; and almost 1/2 of all fatal automobile accidents . Alcohol is a potent nonprescription drug sold to anyone over the national legal drinking age, 21. Unlike carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which can be manufactured by the body, alcohol is a substance that is not made within the body. It is a food, because it supplies a concentrated number of calories, but is not nourishing and does not supply a significant amount of needed nutrients, vitamins, or minerals.
These are empty calories that result in an unattractive “beer belly.” Most foods are prepared for digestion by the stomach so that their nutrients can be absorbed by the large intestine. However, 95% of alcohol is absorbed directly through the stomach walls or the walls of the duodenum (part of the small intestine nearest the stomach)and small intestine.

Various factors effect the speed of alcohol’s absorption into the body. – Watery drinks such as beer is absorbed more slowly. – Foods (especially fatty foods) delay absorption – Carbonated beverages speed up the emptying of the stomach into the small intestine where alcohol is absorbed more quickly. – The drinker’s physical and emotional state (fatigue, stress), and individual body chemistry affect absorption. – Gender: Women have less dehydrogenates (a chemical that breaks down alcohol in the stomach, so more alcohol is absorbed in the bloodstream. Within moments of ingestion, alcohol moves from the blood stream into every part of the body that contains water, including major organs like the brain, lungs, kidneys, and heart. Alcohol stimulates and agitates, depresses and sedates, produces calmness and tranquility, and begins a hypnotic state of drowsiness and sleep. Alcohol impairs your judgement, and strongly affects motor skills, muscle function, reaction time, eyesight, depth perception, and night vision. As a drinker continues to drink, alcohol depresses lung and heart function, slowing breathing and circulation. Death can occur if alcohol completely paralyzes breathing. However, this state is seldom reached because the body rejects alcohol by vomiting. Acute alcohol overdose leading to death occurs in colleges where individuals are encouraged to drink large amounts of alcohol rapidly. Relatively speaking, the twelve million U.S. College students drink over 430 million gallons of alcohol a year- that is 3,500 Olympic sized swimming pools filled with alcohol. Binge drinking is the number one public health hazard for more than six million college students in America. Only five percent of alcohol is eliminated from the body through the breath, urine, or sweat; the rest is broken down in the liver. In the Liver: -Alcohol is broken down in steps by enzymes until only carbon dioxide remain as by-products. -Alcohol is processed at the rate of three tenths of an ounce of pure ethanol per hour and unprocessed alcohol circulates in the body.

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