Alcoholism In Za Essay Research Paper ALCOHOLISMAlcoholism
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Alcoholism In Za Essay, Research Paper ALCOHOLISM Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive illness involving excessive ingestion of ethyl alcohol either in the form of beverages or as a constituent of other substances (e.g. cough mixture). It is an emotional and often physical dependence on alcohol, which frequently leads to brain damage and early death. Ten percent of adult drinkers in the United State are considered alcoholics. More males than females are affected but drinking among women and the young is on the increase. The development of alcoholism as opposed to heavy drinking has been thought of as a symptom of psychological or social stress as a learned, maladaptive coping behaviour. More recently and more accurately it has come to be viewed as a complex disease entity in its own right. Alcoholism develops over a period of years. Early subtle symptoms include placing importance on the availability of alcohol and ensuring that this availability influences choices of friends and activities. Alcohol is used more as a mood-changing drug than as a beverage. The alcoholic will have a high tolerance to alcohol consuming more and having fewer adverse effects than others. A person will start to drink against his own best interests, alcohol will become more important than personal relationships, work, reputation and physical health. Physical addiction to the drug will occur leading to round the clock drinking to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Medico-legal Aspects of Acute Alcohol Intoxication When an alcoholic beverage is drunk, alcohol can be absorbed directly into the blood stream from the stomach especially if no food has been taken recently. Absorption from the intestines. When alcohol is ingested in a diluted form it is absorbed more quickly than when it is concentrated. Absorption is usually complete within 1 – 3 hours. Heavy drinkers tend to absorb alcohol more quickly than occasional drinkers. Alcohol concentration in the blood rises steeply followed by a more gradual upward slope to reach a maximum which is more or less distinct. After this peak there is an irregularly curved fall to the period of diffusion equilibrium. This takes place over 15 – 30 minutes. Then the alcohol level in the blood falls progressively in a rectilinear fashion until it has been eliminated from the body. Forensic Medicine Gordon & Shapiro 2nd Edition Churchill Livingstone 1982 The peak concentration of alcohol in the blood is reached within 1 – 2 hours after ingestion. Physical Symptoms The effects of alcohol on the human body depend on the amount of alcohol in the blood. This varies at the rate at which the drinker s physical system absorbs and metabolises alcohol and at the rate of consumption. The higher the alcohol content in the drink consumed, the higher the blood alcohol level. The amount and type of food in the stomach also affects the absorption rate. When the stomach is full, drinking is less intoxicating than when it is empty. Alcohol absorption is delayed by foods, which contain fat and protein. The heavier the person, the slower the absorption of alcohol. After alcohol passes through the stomach it is absorbed through the walls of the intestines into the blood stream from where it is carried to the various organ systems where it is metabolised. Small amounts are processed by the kidneys and excreted in the urine. Small amounts are processed through the lungs and exhaled with the breath. By far the greater part of alcohol is metabolised by the liver. As alcohol is metabolised, heat is given off. The body metabolises alcohol at the rate of 22.5 – 30 ml of whisky per hour. Alcohol begins to impair the brain s ability to function when the blood alcohol concentration reaches 0.05 grams of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. Conc. Effect on the body 0.05% Begins to impair brain s ability 0.20% Difficulty in controlling emotions – may laugh or cry excessively. Difficulty in walking.