D.4.2 Discuss the social and physiological effects of the use and abuse of ethanol.
Ethanol: C2H5OH or C2H6O
Ethanol: C2H5OH or C2H6O

Ethanol is a central nervous system depressant and has a range of side effects, both long-term and short-term. It is also known as ethyl alcohol and is the alcohol found in alcoholic drinks.

Social Effects

Effects on the Family:
  • Can cause domestic violence because of impaired judgment
  • Alcoholics can be a burden as they are often too helpless to be able to find jobs
  • Parents/ older siblings will be setting a bad example for children/ younger siblings.
  • Alcoholics cannot be trusted with money
  • Increases chances of infidelity
  • It's a vicious downward cycle of addiction.
  • When pregnant women drink alcohol, it could possibly cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which can seriously damage the fetus.

Costs to Society:
  • Driving under the influence (DUI) puts your life, as well as the lives of others on the road in danger.
  • Increased crime and violence
  • Welfare costs due to family problems
  • Leads to the need to support foster children, or single parent homes.

(http://addictionrecoverybasics.com/how-alcohol-abuse-affects-family/) (http://www.helpguide.org/mental/alcohol_abuse_alcoholism_signs_effects_treatment.htm)

Physiological Effects
Short-term effects depend on a variety of variables including
  • Amount consumed
  • Hydration
  • Blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
  • Tolerance

Short-term effects:
Euphoria
(0.03%-0.12% BAC)
Lethargy
(0.09%-0.25% BAC)
Confusion
(0.18%-0.3% BAC)
Stupor
(0.25%-0.4% BAC)
Coma
(0,35%-0.5% BAC)
  • Improvement in mood
  • Increased self-confidence and courage
  • increased sociability
  • shortened attention span
  • flushed appearance
  • inhibited judgment
  • impaired fine muscle coordination
  • Sedation
  • Impaired memory or comprehension
  • Delayed reactions
  • Unstable walking
  • Impaired senses (vision)
  • Confusion
  • Increased ataxia (wobbliness and uncoordination)
  • Impaired speech
  • Mood Swings
  • Impaired senses
  • Inability to feel pain
  • Vomiting
  • Severe ataxia- defined
  • Consciousness, Unconsciousness
  • Anterograde amnesia-l
  • Vomiting
  • Respiratory depression (life-threatening)
  • Inability to control your bladder
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Death may occur due to aspiration of vomit while unconscious
  • Unconsciousness
  • Half of those with a BAC of higher than 0.4% die
Long Term Effects
  • Addiction
  • Permanently impaired nervous system
  • Alcoholic Liver Disease (see cirrhosis, due to alcohol abuse)
  • Fibrosis of liver (cirrhosis where liver cells are damaged and replaced with scar tissue)
  • Increased chance of heart failure
  • Increased chance of strokes
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
The legal blood alcohol concentration in most states of the US and many other countries is 0.08%.

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After drinking, the concentration of alcohol in the blood increases as the alcohol is absorbed into the blood and gradually declines with time as shown below:

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