Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. It affects virtually every organ
in the body and chronic use can lead to numerous preventable diseases, including
Alcohol depresses your central nervous system, lowers your inhibitions, and impairs your
judgment. Because alcohol lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment, consuming alcohol can
lead to risky behaviors, including practicing unprotected sex. This can lead to acquiring
HIV/AIDS as well as other sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancy. Alcohol
also hinders coordination, slows reaction time, dulls senses, and blocks memory functions.
The relationship between alcohol and motor vehicle crashes is widely acknowledged.
Drinking alcohol leads to a
loss of coordination, poor judgment, slowed reflexes, distorted vision, memory lapses, and
Alcohol can damage
every organ in your body. It is absorbed directly into your bloodstream and can increase
your risk for a variety of life-threatening diseases, including cancer.
If youre around
people who are drinking, you have an increased risk of being seriously injured, involved
in car crashes, or affected by violence. At the very least, you may have to deal with
people who are sick, out of control, or unable to take care of themselves.
Alcohol and other drug
problems affect people of every age, sex, race, marital status, place of residence, income
level, or lifestyle. Alcohol abuse is a pattern of problem drinking that results in health
consequences, social, problems, or both. However, alcohol dependence, or alcoholism,
refers to a disease that is characterized by abnormal alcohol-seeking behavior that leads
to impaired control over drinking.
Alcoholism is a diseasejust like diabetes or high blood pressure. But having the
disease is nothing to be ashamed of. Many teens have determined that they are alcoholics
and are getting help through Alcoholics Anonymous.
You can get help for
yourself or for a friend or loved one from numerous national, State, and local
organizations, treatment centers, referral centers, and hotlines throughout the country.
There are various kinds of treatment services and centers. For example, some may involve
outpatient counseling, while others may be 3- to 5-week-long inpatient programs.
While you or your
friend or loved one may be hesitant to seek help, know that treatment programs offer
organized and structured services with individual, group, and family therapy for people
with alcohol and drug abuse problems. Research shows that when appropriate treatment is
given, and when clients follow their prescribed program, treatment can work. By
reducing alcohol and/or drug abuse, treatment reduces costs to society in terms of medical
care, law enforcement, and crime. More importantly, treatment can help keep you and your
loved ones together.
How alcohol affects you.
1.) Alcohol affects
2.) Alcohol affects your brain.
3.) Alcohol affects your self-control.
4.) Alcohol can kill you.
5.) Alcohol can hurt youeven if you're not the one drinking.
Short-term affects of alcohol consumption
1.) Alcohol blocks the
messages going to your brain and alters your perceptions and emotions, vision, hearing,
2.) Alcohol goes directly into the bloodstream which is why it has effects on every system
in the body.
3.) Distorted vision, hearing, and coordination
4.) Altered perceptions and emotions
5.) Impaired judgment
6.) Bad breath; hangovers
Long-term affects of heavy alcohol consumption
1.) Loss of appetite
2.) Vitamin deficiencies
3.) Stomach ailments
4.) Skin problems
5.) Sexual impotence
6.) Liver damage such as cirrhosis and cancer of the liver
7.) Heart and central nervous system damage
8.) Memory loss
How to tell if you or someone close to you has a drinking problem.
1.) Inability to control drinkingit seems that regardless of what you decide
beforehand, you frequently wind up drunk
2.) You use alcohol to escape problems
3.) You experience a change in personality when drinkingturning from Dr. Jekyl to
4.) You experience increased tolerance for alcohol leveldrinking just about
everybody under the table
5.) You experience blackoutssometimes not remembering what happened while drinking
6.) Problems at work or in school as a result of drinking
7.) Concern shown by family and friends about drinking
8.) You believe that in order to have fun you need to consume alcohol and other drugs.
9.) You turn to alcohol and/or drugs after a confrontation or argument, or to relieve
10.) You drink and/or use drugs alone.
11.) Lying about how much alcohol youre using.
12.) You have trouble at work, school, or even get in trouble with the law because of your
drinking or drug use.
13.) You make promises to yourself or others that you'll stop getting drunk or using
14.) You feel alone, run-down, scared, miserable, depressed, or even suicidal.
15.) Getting drunk on a regular basis.
Common referral sources that are often listed in the phone book.
1.) Community Drug
2.) Local Emergency Health Clinics, or Community Treatment Services
3.) City/Local Health Departments
4.) Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or Al-Anon/Alateen
Quick facts about alcohol.
1.) Know the
lawAlcohol is illegal to buy or possess if you are under 21.
2.) Get the facts rightOne 12-ounce beer has as much alcohol as a 1.5-ounce shot of
whiskey or a 5-ounce glass of wine.
3.) Stay informedWine coolers look like juice sparklers but they have just as much
alcohol as a 12-ounce beer. One glass of clear malt can give a teenager a .02 on a
breathalyzer test. In some States that amount is enough for anyone under the age of 21 to
lose his/her driver's license and be subject to a fine.
4.) Be aware of the risksDrinking increases the risk of injury. Car crashes, falls,
burns, drowning, and suicide are all linked to alcohol and other drug use.
5.) Keep your edgeAlcohol can ruin your looks, give you bad breath, and make you
6.) Play it safeDrinking can lead to intoxication and even death.
7.) Do the smart thingDrinking puts your health, education, family ties, and social
life at risk.
8.) Be a real friendIf you know someone with a drinking problem, be part of the
solution. Urge your friend to get help.
9.) Remain alertStay clear on claims that alcohol means glamour and adventure. Stay
clear on what's real and what's illusion.
10.) Sweep away the mythsHaving a designated driver is no excuse to drink. Drinking
only at home, or sticking only to beer does not make drinking any safer.
What you should know about alcohol.
1.) Know the
lawIt is illegal to buy or possess alcohol if you are under 21.
2.) Get the factsOne drink can make you fail a breath test. In some states,
people under the age of 21 who are found to have any amount of alcohol in their systems
can lose their driver's license, be subject to a heavy fine, or have their car permanently
3.) Stay informedBinge drinking means having five or more drinks on one
occasion. About 15 percent of teens are binge drinkers in any given month.
4.) Know the risksMixing alcohol with medications or illicit drugs is
extremely dangerous and can lead to accidental death. For example, alcohol-medication
interactions may be a factor in at least 25 percent of emergency room admissions.
5.) Keep your edgeAlcohol can make you gain weight and give you bad breath.
6.) Look around youMost teens aren't drinking alcohol. Research shows that 70
percent of people 12-20 haven't had a drink in the past month.
Questions About Alcohol
Q. Aren't beer
and wine "safer" than liquor?
A. No. One 12-ounce beer has about as much alcohol as a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor, a
5-ounce glass of wine, or a wine cooler.
Q. Why can't
teens drink if their parents can?
A. Teens' bodies are still developing and alcohol has a greater impact on their
physical and mental well-being. For example, people who begin drinking before age 15 are
four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin at age 21.
Q. How can I
say no to alcohol? I'm afraid I won't fit in.
A. Remember, you're in good company. The majority of teens don't drink alcohol.
Also, it's not as hard to refuse as you might think. Try: "No thanks," "I
don't drink," or "I'm not interested."
chemical dependency as well as its toxic impact on family members. Raise your
children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs
free. Learn how
to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book seriesFrom Insanity to Serenity.