Alcohol (is a Depressant) Is a drug in certain beverages that slows down the central nervous system and harms body organs. Beverages containing alcohol: Beer Wine Wine coolers Mixed drinks Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Is the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood. BAC is given a percentage (decimal) The higher the BAC the greater the effects BAC depends on the below factors: How much a person drinks How fast a person drinks – alcohol is broken down by the liver and is excreted at a specific rate. Drinking quickly will increase the BAC to lifethreatening levels How much a person weighs BAC depends on several factors: How a person feels – alcohol is a depressant How much a person has eaten – alcohol passes more quickly into bloodstream when the stomach is empty than full When other drugs are in the bloodstream-the presence of a depressant drug increases the effects of alcohol Oxidation The process by which alcohol is changed to carbon dioxide and water. The liver can oxidize about onequarter to one-third ounce of pure alcohol an hour. Takes 2 hours for the body to fully oxidize one ounce of alcohol. Gastric ADH Enzyme the liver needs in order to oxidize or break down alcohol for excretion. Females produce less gastric ADH Problem Drinking A pattern of drinking that produces difficulties in a person’s life. Problem Drinker: A person who causes problems for themselves or others when drinking. Alcoholism Disease in which there is physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. Patterns in drinking and not able to controlling their drinking. Blackout – a period in which a person cannot remember what has happened. Enabler A person who knowingly or unknowingly supports the harmful behavior of another person. Enablers might develop CODEPENDENCE – a mental disorder in which a person denies feeling a copes in harmful ways. Effects of Alcohol on the body Body Senses: Taste, touch, smell, hearing, & sight senses are dulled. Increased chance of having accidents Reaction Time & Coordination Is slowed down because alcohol effects the part of the brain responsible for reasoning & judgment. Over 50% of all fatal accidents & More than 70% of all drowning deaths involve people who have been drinking. Immune System White blood cell count lowers, making it easier for abnormal cells to grow increasing the risk of disease, including cancer Mouth, Pharynx, Larynx, & Esophagus Damages the cells in the lining, which increases risk of cancer in these organs. Stomach Increases flow of gastric juices in the stomach. Increases risk of ulcers. Pancreas Can cause pancreatitis – inflammation of the pancreas. Increases risk of Diabetes Liver Alcohol causes most harm Cirrhosis – a disease in which the liver tissue is destroyed and replaced with scar tissue. Heart & Blood Vessels Causes blood vessels to dilate, causing a lower blood pressure Body heat lost Increases sugar in bloodstream Atherosclerosis – increased heart disease Increase in irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and stroke Brain & Nervous System Affects BRAIN CELLS Alcohol Dementia – brain impairment with overall intellectual decline. Affects on nervous system – blackouts, seizures, & nerve destruction Reproductive System Immediate effect during Puberty In Females: st Delay in the 1 menstrual cycle, irregular periods Affect breast development, increase risk of breast cancer In Males: Can affect the size of testes and development of muscle mass Can affect the age at which voice deepens & the amount of body & facial hair. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Severe birth defects in babies born to mothers who drink during pregnancy. Small eye slits, small head, mental retardation and slow growth Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Self-help treatment group. Attend meetings and support each other from drinking. Al-Anon support group for family members & friends of people with alcoholism &/or other addictions. Alateen Support group for young people who have been affected by the behavior of someone with alcoholism &/or another addiction.