Alcohol is one of the most widely used drugs in this society. It is accepted as a part of social life. Its use is widely promoted via sponsorship of sporting events. Advertising infers that drinking is the path to happiness, success, romance, etc. There are references to alcohol and its effects from earliest known writings. Alcohol is consumed in the beverage form and sold legally in this state to persons over 21.
Alcohol is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the stomach and small intestine. It is distributed by the blood throughout the body, affecting literally every organ it touches in a matter of minutes. Enzymes in the liver metabolize alcohol at a rate of 10-15 ml (less than one half ounce) per hour. Hence, only time can sober someone up. Coffee, cold showers, or exercise do not work.
The warm glow of disinhibition, 'letting go' is a major desired effect of alcohol.
People feel more sociable and talkative with small amounts of the drug. Alcohol is a relaxant, so many people drink to unwind from the demands of life. Because alcohol has been around for so long, its effects are well-known.
Two key concepts to understand in dealing with alcohol use and abuse are impairment and tolerance. They are both problems in themselves and signals of possible additional difficulties.
IMPAIRMENT refers to the deficits in performance, judgment, memory, and motor skills which occur because of alcohol consumption. Impairment becomes noticeable at blood levels of 0.05%, which can occur when as few as two drinks are consumed in an hour by a 160 pound person. The deceptive part about impairment is that, by definition, impaired judgment cannot recognize its own impairment. The individual thinks he or she is functioning well, when actually s/he is not. Later, there is impaired...