(2) Intensity of alcohol effects. A person who is not used to consuming
alcohol will usually show signs of drinking sooner than someone who is used to
drinking. The conditioned drinker has learned how to adjust his behavior to the changes
alcohol makes in his behavior. Physical reactions to alcohol range from the person
becoming more talkative, appearing slightly flushed, and becoming somewhat
uninhibited in his actions to the individual who staggers, has blurred vision, and shows
obvious signs of drunkenness. Alcohol consumption causes some people to become
emotional or amorous while other people become aggressive and hostile.
(3) General effects of alcohol. Very high doses of alcohol can cause a
person to pass out. If the central nervous system is slowed down enough, the person
may die. In moderate doses, alcohol usually reduces a person's ability to perform tasks
that require physical coordination or mental agility such as driving a car or performing a
desk job well. Driving a car while under the influence of alcohol is particularly
Long term effects of alcohol.
(a) Physical dependence. An individual can become physically
dependent on alcohol after a few weeks of heavy drinking or over a period of several
years of gradually increased drinking. Physical dependence is the point at which
withdrawal symptoms are experienced if the drinking stops. Signs and symptoms of
typical withdrawal for the physically dependent person include appetite loss, nausea,
anxiety, sleeplessness, severe agitation and irritability, confusion, tremors, vomiting,
illusions, and hallucinations. Signs and symptoms of cases of severe withdrawal
include delirium tremors, convulsions, exhaustion, and, perhaps, cardiovascular
(b) Psychological dependence. A person who finds himself drinking in
order to deal with the stresses and strains of daily living has become psychologically
dependent on alcohol. The early signs of this drinking pattern include drinking to relieve
boredom or depression; drinking to escape unpleasant emotional reactions or
situations; or drinking to relax just before going to new social situations.
(5) Related illness. Alcohol has been related to a wide range of illnesses.
Note these facts:
(a) An alcoholic has twice the chance of premature death than a
nonalcoholic person. Several forms of liver disease are associated with alcoholism.
Cirrhosis of the liver is the third fastest growing cause of death among males 20 to 40
years of age. Alcoholics have higher than normal rates of peptic ulcers, suicide,
pneumonia, cancer of the upper digestive and respiratory tracts, and tuberculosis.
Characteristic of many heavy drinkers are vitamin deficiency, gastritis, sexual
impotence, and infections. Alcohol- related neurological disorders include loss of
sensation, loss of memory, and mental confusion.