Alcohol Related Disorders.

Alcohol related disorder includes Alcohol use Disorder, Alcohol Intoxication, Alcohol Withdrawal. Alcohol is produced when certain yeasts react with sugar and water and fermentation takes place. Historically, we have been creative about fermenting alcohol from just about any fruit or vegetable, partly because many foods contain sugar. Alcoholic drinks have included mead from honey, sake from rice, wine from palm, mescal and pulque from agave and cactus, liquor from maple syrup, liquor from South American jungle fruits, wine from grapes, and beer from grains.

Apparent stimulation is the initial effect of alcohol, although it is a depressant. We generally experience a feeling of well-being, our inhibitions are reduced, and we become more outgoing. This is because the inhibitory centers in the brain are initially depressed-or slowed.

With continued drinking, however, alcohol depresses more areas of the brain, which impedes the ability to function properly. Motor coordination is impaired (staggering, slurred speech), reaction time is slowed, we become confused, our ability to make judgments is reduced, and even vision and hearing can be negatively affected, all of which help explain why driving while intoxicated is clearly dangerous.

Diagnostic Criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder.

A. A problematic pattern of alcohol use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by at least two of the following, occurring within a 12-month period:
1. Alcohol is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.

2. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol use.

3. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain alcohol, use alcohol, or recover from its effects.

4. Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use alcohol.

5. Recurrent alcohol use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.

6. Continued alcohol use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of alcohol.

7. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of alcohol use.

8. Recurrent alcohol use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.

9. Alcohol use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by alcohol.

10. Tolerance, as defined by either or both of the following:
a. A need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect.
b. A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol.

11. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following:
a. The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for alcohol (refer to Criteria A and B of the criteria set for alcohol withdrawal).
b. Alcohol (or a closely related substance such as benzodiazepine) is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Specify current severity:
Mild: Presence of 2-3 symptoms
Moderate: Presence of 4-5 symptoms
Severe: Presence of 6 or more symptoms.

Alcohol related disorder: Effect of alcohol.

Alcohol affects many parts of the body. After it is ingested, it passes through the esophagus and into the stomach, where small amounts are absorbed. From there, most of it travels to the small intestine, where it is easily absorbed into the bloodstream. The circulatory system distributes the alcohol throughout the body, where it contacts every major organ, including the heart. Some of the alcohol goes to the lungs, where it vaporizes and is exhaled, a phenomenon that is the basis for the breathalyzer test that measures levels of intoxication. As alcohol passes through the liver, it is broken down or metabolized into carbon dioxide and water by enzymes.

The long-term effects of heavy drinking are often severe. Withdrawal from chronic alcohol use typically includes hand tremors and, within several hours, nausea or vomiting, anxiety, transient hallucinations, agitation, insomnia, and, at its most extreme, withdrawal delirium (or delirium tremens-the DTs), a condition that can produce frightening hallucinations and body tremors. The devastating experience of delirium tremens can be reduced with adequate medical treatment.

The effects of alcohol abuse extend beyond the health and well-being of the drinker. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is now generally recognized as a combination of problems that can occur in a child whose mother drank while she was pregnant. Moreover these problems include fetal growth retardation, cognitive deficits, behavior problems, and learning difficulties.


David H. Barlow, V. Mark Durand. Abnormal Psychology, An Integrative Approach. (7th ed).

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