1/13/07

Alcoholism

Source: Wikipedia, some random lecture, and some random websites

Definition

Alcoholism is the consumption of or preoccupation with alcoholic beverages to the extent that this behavior interferes with the alcoholic's normal personal, family, social, or work life.

Consequence

The chronic alcohol consumption caused by alcoholism can result in psychological and physiological disorders. Estimates of the economic costs of alcohol abuse, collected by the World Health Organization, vary from one to six per cent of a country's GDP.

Alcohol Levels

One standard drink = 10 grams alcohol.

1 standard drink = pot of beer, alcoholic shot, port/sherry, restaurant wine = 0.8 S.D.
1.5 standard drinks = sparkling wine, champagne
Bottle of wine = 7 Standard Drinks
Bottle of spirits = 22 SDs (which is why you take only a nip)

Drinking and driving legal limits: 0.05 (0.05 grams per 100 ml blood = one more drink than the number of hours for men, and drinks equal the number of hours for women). For taxi, bus, heavy vehicle, learner and P plate drivers, the limit is 0.02 grams per 100 ml. At 0.05, the risk of an accident is doubled than that of someone who has not consumed alcohol. At 0.10, the risk is 7 times higher.

Low-risk drinking guidelines

Men: No more than 2 standard drinks in the first hour, and one per hour after that. No more than 4 standard drinks a day on average (never more than 6) and at least one or two alcohol-free days per week.
Women: No more than 1 standard drink per hour. No more than 2 standard drinks per day (on average) and never more than four and one or two alcohol-free days per week.

4 L’s of Alcohol’s harmful effects:
· Liver (injuries, brain disease)
· Lover (domestic violence)
· Livelihood (poor performance)
· Law (drinking and driving, assault)

Almost 100,000 deaths per year in USA are attributable to alcohol.

Alcohol Addiction

While alcohol use is required to trigger alcoholism, the biological mechanism of alcoholism is uncertain. For most people, moderate alcohol consumption poses little danger of addiction. Other factors must exist for alcohol use to develop into alcoholism. These factors may include a person's social environment, emotional health and genetic predisposition. In addition, an alcoholic can develop multiple forms of addiction to alcohol simultaneously such as psychological, metabolic, and neurochemical. Each type of addiction must be treated individually for an alcoholic to fully recover.

Alcohol Screening

The CAGE questionnaire, named for its four questions, is one such example that may be used to screen patients quickly in a doctor's office.

Two "yes" responses indicate that the respondent should be investigated further. The questionnaire asks the following questions:

Have you ever felt you needed to Cut down on your drinking?
Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
Have you ever felt Guilty about drinking?
Have you ever felt you needed a drink first thing in the morning (Eye-opener) to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?

Diagnosis of Alcohol Levels

There are reliable tests for the actual use of alcohol, one common test being that of blood alcohol content (BAC).

Alcohol content in blood can be directly measured by a hospital laboratory. More commonly in law enforcement investigations, BAC is estimated from breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) measured with a machine commonly referred to as a Breathalyzer.

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