Alcohol

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					Alcohol
Do you know?                                      Short-term Effects
• Ethyl alcohol (ethanol) is the type of          While using alcohol a person may:
  alcohol found in alcoholic drinks. It is a      • feel more relaxed and sociable
  depressant (a drug that slows down your
                                                  • feel drowsy, dizzy and flushed
  brain functioning). It is produced when
  fruits, vegetables and grains ferment, or       • do things they would not normally do
  it can be man-made.                             • make poor decisions
• Another kind of alcohol is called methyl        • have trouble walking or moving
  alcohol (methanol). It is found in some         • have slurred speech and blurred vision
  household and industrial products, such as
                                                  • have lowered blood pressure, breathing,
  hairspray and antifreeze, and is poisonous
                                                    pulse
  to drink.
                                                  • show aggressive or violent behaviour
• A standard drink is considered to be one
  355 ml bottle of beer, which has the same       • not be able to remember what they did
  amount of alcohol as one 150 ml glass             or said (called a blackout)
  of wine or approximately 40 ml of spirits,      • pass out (become unconscious), reflecting
  such as whiskey, vodka, rum or scotch.            a degree of coma
• The more alcohol in the body, the more
  intoxicated (drunk) a person is, and the        Long-term Effects
  longer it takes for the alcohol to leave the
                                                  After heavy use over a long period of time,
  body.
                                                  a person may experience:
• It takes about one to two hours for an
                                                  • skin problems and stomach ulcers
  adult liver to break down the alcohol in
  one standard drink. If a person drinks more     • vitamin deficiencies
  than this, the alcohol builds up in the body.   • sexual problems, such as decreased sperm
  For example, if you have two drinks in one        production, impotency (the inability to have
  hour, it could take the body up to four           sexual intercourse) and infertility (the
  hours to get rid of all the alcohol. That is      inability to have children
  why drivers should not drink at all.            • mood changes and emotional changes
• In Manitoba, it is legal for people age 18      • brain damage and memory loss
  and over to consume alcoholic beverages.
                                                  • liver damage, heart and circulatory
                                                    problems, and many types of cancer
 A Danger for Regular Drinkers
 Regular users of alcohol may not seem
 drunk, but they are still not safe when
 doing things that need judgment, such
 as driving.
                                                                                Continued on Back…
Tolerance and Dependence                         • People can become ill if they mistake methyl
                                                   alcohol, which is poisonous, for ethyl alcohol.
• Drinkers can become psychologically              Always ensure that all types of alcohol are
  dependent (they feel they need it) as well       properly labeled and stored in their original
  as physically dependent (the body needs it)      containers.
  on alcohol.
                                                 • Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause
• Tolerance (a need for more alcohol to get        permanent damage to the developing baby.
  the desired effect) builds up the more a         There is no safe amount of alcohol that
  person drinks.                                   can be consumed during pregnancy.
                                                 • Alcohol and other drugs used by a nursing
Withdrawal Symptoms                                mother can pass from her bloodstream
Withdrawal symptoms range in severity:             through breast milk to the nursing baby.
                                                   Alcohol use may: slightly reduce milk
• Less severe symptoms include hangovers,
                                                   production and impair milk release; affect
  which are common. Hangovers often
                                                   baby's sleep patterns; influence gross
  include headaches, shakiness, sensitivity to
                                                   motor development and early learning.
  light and sound, nausea and vomiting.
• More severe withdrawal symptoms can
                                                  REMEMBER: A person's experience with any
  occur after long periods of regular, heavy
                                                  drug can vary. Here are a few of the many things
  drinking. They include aches, pains,
                                                  that may affect the experience: the amount and
  increased blood pressure, rapid pulse and
                                                  strength of the drug taken, the setting, a person's
  breathing, nausea, vomiting, panic,
                                                  mood and expectations before taking the drug,
  seizures, hearing and seeing things that
                                                  gender, overall health, past experience with that
  aren’t there, depression and even death.
                                                  drug and whether more than one drug is being
• Professional supervised care is                 used at the same time. Using alcohol and other
  recommended for dependent drinkers.             drugs at the same time can be dangerous.
 – If severe withdrawal symptoms are
   being experienced, consult a medical
                                                 Sources and For More Information
   professional immediately.
                                                 Alcohol: The ABC's, AADAC, 2004.
                                                 Alcohol Use and Mental Health (brochure), VIHA.
Other Risks                                      A Primer of Drug Action, Robert Julien, Henry Holt and
                                                 Company, 2001.
• When mixed with drugs, alcohol can
                                                 Buzzed, Duke University Medical Centre, 1998.
  be dangerous. Talk to your doctor or
                                                 Canadian Health Network website: www.canadian-health-
  pharmacist about drinking alcohol while        network.ca
  taking medication.                             Drugs and Drug Abuse, 3rd Edition, CAMH, 1998.
• Drinking a lot of alcohol very quickly is      Fast Facts on Alcohol, AFM, 2002.
  called chugging and is usually done in         Mayo Clinic F.A.Q. 2002.
  drinking games. Drinking a lot of alcohol      National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  is called binge drinking. (For example, five   (NIAAA) Website: www.niaaa.nih.gov
  or more drinks for men and four or more        National Institute on Drug Abuse Website:
                                                 www.nida.nih.gov
  drinks for women).
                                                 Straight Facts about Drugs and Drug Abuse, Health
  – Both chugging and binge drinking can         Canada, 2000.
    cause alcohol poisoning, which is an over-   Street Drugs: A Drug Identification Guide, Publishers
    dose of alcohol that results in vomiting,    Group, LLC, Plymouth, MN, 2005.
    passing out and sometimes death.
                                                 For more information or for help with a drug or alcohol problem:
• People can put themselves in risky             Contact your local Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM) office or visit
  situations when drinking (driving while        the website at www.afm.mb.ca. AFM offers a broad range of prevention
                                                 and rehabilitation services, including harm reduction and abstinence-based
  impaired, having unprotected sex, taking       programs for alcohol, other drugs and gambling.

  unsafe actions which could cause injury).      AFM Disclaimer: This information is not intended as a substitute
                                                 for professional advice. Every effort has been made to ensure that the
                                                 information was accurate at the time of publication.

                                                 Permission to reproduce is granted by AFM. If you wish to order
                                                 multiple copies of this or other topics in The Basics Series, please contact
                                                 the AFM Library at 1-866-638-2568 or library@afm.mb.ca.

				
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