What is Alcohol?

Alcohol is produced by fermenting and sometimes distilling various fruits, vegetables, or grains. Fermentation is the process where sugars such as gluctose, fructose, and sucrose are converted into ethanol (alcohol) and carbon dioxide. When we consume alcohol, it provides our bodies with energy;each gram of alcohol contains 7 calories of energy.  By comparison, one gram of fat contains 9 calories, one gram of carbohydrate or protein 4 calories.

Why do people you know drink?

What are the pros and cons of drinking?

Can you go to a party and not drink and be accepted?

What are things that people have done while they are drunk that they’ve regretted?

What is the purpose of alcohol?

How can you stay away from the temptation of drinking?  Devise a strategy in groups of 2-3.

Affects of Alcohol on the Body

The Brain:

Alcohol is a depressant that slows brain activity.  Alcohol initially
induces individuals to feel relaxed – however additional drinks may cause
feelings of anxiety, depression, or aggression.
The most significant effect of alcohol on the brain is its ability to
distort judgment and lower inhibition. 


According to researchers, more than one or two drinks a week
may promote aging. Alcohol is considered a food with non-nutritional calories
that quickly add up. When you abuse alcohol, you tend to be undernourished,
making your hair dry, giving you cracked lips, aggravating acne, making your
eyes look glassy, and giving your skin a puffy, broken vein look.

Gastrointestinal Tract:

The stomach is irritated by alcohol.  Alcohol may cause increased stomach acid
production, heartburn and eventually ulcers. Alcohol use leads to destruction
of liver cells, fat accumulation around the liver, and cirrhosis which is a
fatal condition. Alcohol is also a diuretic – which ultimately leads to
dehydration and other illnesses.

Reproductive System:

Alcohol decreases the male hormone testosterone.  The use of alcohol in men and women causes
increased sexual desire, but decreased performance. Alcohol is toxic to unborn
children – potentially causing fetal alcohol syndrome.

Immune System:

Alcohol depresses the body’s immune system making it easier to get sick. It also disrupts your sleep patterns, further depressing the immune system.


  • Characteristics of people who use drugs.
  • Characteristics of people who cope in other ways.

Cycle of Addiction  

1. SHORT-TERM GRATIFICATION: First there is short-term gratification. You
feel good NOW. There is a strong short-term gain that causes you to
assume the drug or behavior is good for you.

2. LONG-TERM PAIN AND DYSFUNCTION: The short-term gratification
is eventually followed by long-term pain. This pain, part of which is
from physical withdrawal, and part of which is from the inability to cope
psycho-socially without drugs/alcohol, is the direct consequence of using the
addictive chemical/s.

3. ADDICTIVE THINKING: The long-term pain and dysfunction trigger
addictive thinking. Addictive thinking begins with obsession and
compulsion. Obsession is a continuous thinking about the positive effects
of using alcohol and drugs. Compulsion is an irrational urge or craving to use
the drug to get the positive effect even though you know it will hurt you in the
long run. This leads to denial and rationalization in order to
allow continued use. Denial is the inability to recognize there is a problem.
Rationalization is blaming other situations and people for problems rather than
drug use.

4. INCREASED TOLERANCE: Without your being aware that it is happening,
more and more of the drug is required to produce the same effect.

5. LOSS OF CONTROL: The obsession and compulsion become so strong that
you cannot think about anything else. Your feelings and emotions become
distorted by the compulsion. You become stressed and uncomfortable until finally
the urge to use is so strong that you cannot resist it. Once you use the
addictive chemicals or the addictive behaviors again, the cycle starts all over.

6. BIO-PSYCHO-SOCIAL DAMAGE: Eventually there is damage to the health
of your body (physical health), mind (psychological health), and
relationships with other people (social health). As pain and stress get
worse, the compulsion to use the addictive drugs or behaviors to get relief from
the pain increases. A deadly trap develops. You need addictive use in order to
feel good. When you use addictively you damage yourself physically,
psychologically, and socially
. This damage increases your pain which
increases your need for addictive use.

Scenario Activity

Scenario 1
Allison was having a bad year. After years of not getting along, her parents had finally decided to get a divorce. While there was a lot of tension in the house, her parents were trying hard to be polite to each other and considerate of Allison's and her younger brother's feelings. Always a good student, Allison continued to find comfort in studying hard and getting good grades in school. Her best friend, Susie, had really been there for her, too. Every weekend Susie had planned something fun for them to do by themselves or with other friends. Over the past several months, Allison and Susie had gone ice-skating on a regular basis, seen many movies, and gone bowling. Allison had also continued to play soccer on her school's team. Throughout the year, Allison had been able to talk to her parents about the pending divorce. Allison's parents had been willing to listen to her concerns and discuss her anger about this big change in her life. Allison felt really sad, but she also felt that she was going to be all right.

Scenario 2
Laura felt as if her life was falling apart. Her parents had just told her that they were getting a divorce. Although her parents hadn't gotten along for years, Laura had always hoped that they would find a way to stay together so they could continue to be a family. Instead, her parents didn't seem to have any time to talk to her about her feelings. Laura had always thought that she had a few good friends, but she wasn't feeling like she could turn to them now. Her friend Katy had a boyfriend, and she didn't get a chance to see her soccer teammates much outside of games and practices. Laura had always been a good student, and she continued to complete her assignments on time. But she had noticed that it was becoming increasingly difficult to concentrate on her schoolwork. Because she was feeling lonely and isolated, Laura was considering going to a party with Katy. She had heard that some kids brought drugs to these parties. For that reason, she had always stayed away. Now, however, she thought that it might be a way to get out of the house and forget about her problems for a little while. It might be fun. Laura was thinking that unless something else happened so that her social life improved, she might just go

Drugonym (due Thursday)

Forms, category, and how taken

Street or common names

Other drugs within this category

Short term effects Long term effects

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