The Psychological Effects of Alcohol Consumotion - Research Paper Example

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The Physiological and Psychological Aspects of Alcohol Alcohol has existed for centuries. In some cultures, it was used for only ceremonial purposes, but has since then developed into a recreationally used substance. The effects of alcohol are widespread and have prompted many to take action against it…
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The Psychological Effects of Alcohol Consumotion
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Download file to see previous pages Alcohol is created through a chemical process of fermentation usually involved in a process of brewing or distilling. There are three main classes of alcohol: beer, wine, and liquor. Each one is unique in their strength and how they are made. Beer is traditionally brewed from hops using yeast for fermentation. Wine is made from a variety of grapes which is fermented to increase the alcohol content. Hard liquors have the highest alcohol content and are often created through a process known as distillation. There have been many different legislative actions which have influenced the use of alcohol in United States history. The first major event was the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment which prohibited the sale of alcohol in the United States. This caused an increased crime rate and increased sales of alcohol on the black market. The only way in which a person could get alcohol legally was through the prescription from a licensed physician. This was repealed by the twenty first amendment which once again allowed alcohol to be sold legally. There has also been legislature which has determined that no one under the age of 21 may consume alcohol in the United States and states are given the right to set restrictions on types of alcohol sales and hours of operations for establishments selling alcohol (Gately, 2008). What is alcohol? Alcohol is both water and adipose soluble. The chemical composition for alcohol (ethanol) is C2H5OH. The polarity of the molecule caused by the oxygen is what allows alcohol to interact with the body. This means that alcohol can go in and affect around 90% of the body’s components and systems. It specifically functions as a depressant by lowering the neuroelectrical activity in the central nervous system which in turn affects other parts of the body. Ethanol is specifically linked to dealing with the inhibition of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine, GABA, serotonin, and NMDA receptors. Alcohol also stimulates the secretion of dopamine in the dopaminergic reward pathway which is what accounts for the euphoric effect associated with drinking (Begleiter, & Kissin, 1996). This is also seen in the interaction with GABA receptors. GABA is principally used by the body to control stress response. Alcohol stimulates these receptors on GABA neurons which are why people usually report feeling calmer and more relaxed after consuming alcohol. This is also what helps with the psychological effect because this good feeling is reinforcing the alcoholic behavior. In addition to the physiological effects that are caused by the disruption of the levels of these neurotransmitters, there are also psychological effects to be considered. Once alcohol enters the body, it is metabolized in the liver where the alcohol is converted into acetylaldehyde. This organic molecule is then broken down into acetate, water, and carbon dioxide. The human body is able to process approximately one drink an hour. This is however dependent on many factors. The first key difference is in gender. Males can typically process alcohol faster than women due to water to fat ratio. This is because alcohol is soluble in both water and fat. Metabolism is also another important key factor in the process of alcohol. Too much alcohol can cause damage to many different organs. First, the liver is the most susceptible to damage. Even though the liver is the fastest regenerating organ in the body, scarring caused by overdrinking can ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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