Fact Sheet on Alcohol

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					Fact Sheet on Alcohol                                    1

                           “Fact Sheet on Alcohol”

                                Amy Andrews

                        Moraine Park Technical College
Fact Sheet on Alcohol                                                                       2

What is Alcohol?

Alcohol is a psychoactive substance, which means that it has the ability to change

consciousness and to alter perceptions and behavior. The alcohol found in beverages is

known as ethanol or ethyl alcohol. This is the only type of alcohol that is safe to

consume, and then only in small quantities.

Alcohol is an extremely popular social beverage, the second most widely used and

abused psychoactive drug (after caffeine), and widely misunderstood. (Hanson,

Venturelli, & Fleckenstein, 2009)

Social Impact of Alcohol Consumption in Wisconsin:

Alcohol consumption in Wisconsin seems to be pretty standard. It is everywhere you

look; concerts, baseball and football games, tailgating, happy hour at every bar and

restaurant. But how does it affect us each year? In 2009 the amount of alcohol impaired

driving fatalities were a staggering 213. 75% were over .15+ involving high BAC drivers.

In Wisconsin there were 10,839 people killed in drunk driving crashes. ("WI drunk

driving," 2009)

“Standard Measure of Alcohol”

In all alcoholic beverages- beer, wine, liqueurs or cordials, and distilled spirits – the

psychoactive agent is the same, but the amount of ethanol varies. Ethanol is the

consumable type of alcohol that is the psychoactive ingredient in alcoholic beverages.

The amount of alcohol is expressed either as a percentage by volume or, in the older
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proof system, as a measurement based on the military assay method. The percentage of

alcohol volume is one-half the proof number. For example, 100 proof whiskey has a 50%

alcohol content. (Hanson, Venturelli, & Fleckenstein, 2009)

Physiological Effects from the Abuse of Alcohol:

      There is a list of many effects alcohol has on a person…

      Visual-spatial deficits: difficulties with recognizing actual distances between

       objects or with depth perception

      Language impairments: confusing or mispronouncing previously known words, or

       having difficulty expressing ideas

      Memory impairments the inability to recall words, names, or previously familiar

       basic ideas. Also a reduced capacity to take in and retain new information

      Alcoholic dementia syndrome in which the alcoholic suffers problems in almost

       every area of thinking, feeling, remembering, and behaving

Symptoms of Alcohol Dependence

Those who are alcohol dependent meet all of the criteria of alcohol abuse, but they will

also exhibit some or all of the following:

      Narrowing of the drinking repertoire (drinking only one brand or type of alcoholic


      Drink-seeking behavior (only going to social events that will include drinking, or

       only hanging out with others who drink).
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       Alcohol tolerance (having to drink increasing amounts to achieve previous


       Withdrawal symptoms (getting physical symptoms after going a short period

        without drinking).

       Drinking to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms (such as drinking to stop the

        shakes or to "cure" a hangover).

       Subjective awareness of the compulsion to drink or craving for alcohol (whether

        they admit it to others or not).

       A return to drinking after a period of abstinence (deciding to quit drinking and not

        being able to follow through). ("Alcohol abuse vs.," )

Withdrawal Effects from Alcohol

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome reaches its peak intensity within 24 to 48 hours. They will

range from mild to severe.

•Feeling of jumpiness or nervousness

•Feeling of shakiness

•Anxiety, depression

•Irritability or easily excited

•Emotional volatility, rapid emotional changes


•Difficulty with thinking clearly

•Headache - general, pulsating

•Sweating, especially the palms of the hands or the face
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•Nausea and Vomiting

•Loss of appetite

•Insomnia, sleeping difficulty


•Rapid heart rate (palpitations)

•Eyes, pupils different size (enlarged, dilated pupils)

•Involuntary, abnormal movements of the eyelids

•A state of confusion and hallucinations (visual) -- known as delirium tremens



•"Black outs" -- when the person forgets what happened during the drinking episode

Short Term Health Risks

      Loss of conditioned reflexes

      Increase of heart rate

      Induces drowsiness and cause sleep

      Difficulty in walking, talking, and thinking

      Hangovers

      Dependence (Hanson, Venturelli, & Fleckenstein, 2009)

Long Term Health Risks

There are many long term affects that affect the organs systems and bodily functions.
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      Brain and Nervous System

      Liver Damage

      Digestive System

      Blood

      Cardiovascular System

      Sexual Organs

      Endocrine System

      Kidneys

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Effects

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a condition affecting children born to alcohol-consuming

mothers that is characterized by facial deformities, growth deficiency, and mental

retardation. The severity of FAS appears to be dose related. The more the mother drinks,

the more severe the fetal damage can be. (Hanson, Venturelli, & Fleckenstein, 2009)
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 Hanson, G, Venturelli, P, & Fleckenstein, A. (2009). Drugs and society. Sudbury MA:

                          Jones and Bartlett Publishers, LLC.

          WI drunk driving & underage drinking stats. (2009). Retrieved from


             Alcohol abuse vs. alcohol dependence. (n.d.). Retrieved from


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