Alcoholism : Data And History Essay, Research Paper
Social Issues Oral Presentation
Intro: For my social issues project I picked teen alcoholism. I picked teen alcoholism because almost all my friends and people I know drink and because drinking is a major growing issue in the world today since it causes 43% of all car cashes in the US at this time and rising.
In this presentation I will be covering what alcohol is and where it all began? What it does to your body and eye site. How alcohol is popular among teens and why they do it. How it can have an effect on your children later in life. How advertisement effects the young. And I will be showing a brief segment of a video and showing some graphs, and data.
Where did alcohol come from? Alcoholic beverages have been used since the dawn of civilization and is the most widely used psychoactive drug known to man. Chemically known as ethanol or ethyl alcohol, it can be produced synthetically or naturally by fermenting fruit, grains or vegetables. When the Arabs introduced the process of distillation into Europe in the middle ages, the alchemists believed that alcohol was thought to be the long-sought elixir of life, as indicated in the term whiskey (which in Gaelic is usqubaugh, meaning water of life. ) Obviously today the social value of alcohol is much lower.
(Now, what is alcohol?) Alcohol is classified in one of three categories of stimulants, depressants, or psychedelics. Alcohol is classified as a depressant. Alcohol produces some of its effects by depressing various brain functions and is also a local anesthetic, chemical solvent, and an irritant. Many of alcohol s side effects are due to these actions rather than the sedative effect of the agent. Alcohol is found in many different alcoholic beverages and in many non-prescription and prescription medicines. Alcohol in low doses causes suppression of inhibitory centers and produces apparent stimulation while impairment of abstract thinking lessens anxiety. At moderate doses, alcohol can cause drowsiness, slowed reflexes and incoordination. In large amounts, alcohol decreases vital brain functions, produces sedation, slows the breathing rate, and can cause death.
Alcohol is absorbed from all parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Most of the alcohol enters the bloodstream from the stomach and small intestine. The peak Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) occurs 60 to 90 minutes after ingestion when the stomach is empty. It readily passes from the blood into nearly every tissue in the body, including the brain. The presence of food in the stomach slows the rate of absorption. However the amount of alcohol absorbed remains unchanged.
While no one would get drunk from the alcohol in one or two teaspoons of cough syrup, liver and stomach enzymes cannot deactivate large amounts of alcohol consumed at one time. Alcoholic drinks, including beer cause the amount of alcohol in the blood to rise. Excessive drinking may lead to vomiting and other unpleasant toxic effects. These symptoms are part of the automatic defense systems of the body, which are activated to prevent more alcohol from being absorbed. When drinking stops, the liver enzymes will eventually convert excess alcohol into less harmful substances. The final products of alcohol metabolism are carbon dioxide and water.
According to recent news reports, Americans are at risk for a variety of sleep-related health problems. Alcohol use affects sleep in a number of ways and can exacerbate these problems. Because alcohol use is widespread, it is important to understand how this uses affects sleep to increase risk for illness. For example, it is popularly believed that a drink before bedtime can aid falling asleep. However, it also can disrupt normal sleep patterns, resulting in increased fatigue and physical stress to the body. Alcohol use can aggravate sleeping disorders, those with such disorders should be cautious about alcohol use.
What alcohol does to the body? I had said that in order to get to the peak blood alcohol level it takes about 60 to 90 minutes but to completely absorb all the alcohol it may require 2-6 hours or more. The presence of food, the time it takes to ingest the drink and individual peculiarities being major influences on the rate of absorption. Alcohol is attributed through all tissues and fluids of the body, including fetal circulation during pregnancy. 90-98% of the alcohol is completely metabolized, and then it goes through a series of steps, which effect the synthesis of cholesterol, fatty acids and other tissue constituents. (This chart illustrates the average time to eliminate equivalent amounts of alcohol found in one 12 oz beer, 5 oz bottle of wine or one shot-1/2 oz- of whiskey.) The ethanol in alcohol appears to enhance the cancer causing agents of it. The use of alcohol and tobacco agents mixed together increases the risk of developing cancer of the tongue, mouth, esophagus and liver by as much as 44 times greater incidence for esophageal cancer. Alcohol induced cirrhosis and liver failure account for over 30,000 deaths annually. It can also damage the stomach and small intestine, while most male alcoholics complain of impotence and loss of libido.
What it does to your eyes is alcohol usually has a relaxing effect resulting in less voluntary control over all general body muscularity, including the fine delicate control of the muscles which move and focus your eyes. Light enters the eye through the pupil and passes trough the lens, which focuses light rays on the sensitive retina in the back of the eye. Anything which interferes with this operation effects the clarity of the picture transmitted to and interpreted by the brain. Since 85-90% of the information we receive concerning traffic scenes comes through our eyes it makes accident free driving seem almost impossible.
When it comes to teens, Alcohol is the most popular drug used in the US. The statistics are shocking: more than four million teens use alcohol in any given month, alcohol-related car crashes are the leading cause of death among teens, and kids often begin drinking alcohol around age 11-13. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), in 1993 67% of 8th graders had tried alcohol.
Why is using and abusing alcohol so popular among teenagers? First, it’s easy to get. Most of us have some alcohol in our homes right now. And, in a survey, two-thirds of teens that drink alcohol said they could buy it, even though it’s illegal to sell alcohol to minors.
Second, alcohol use is more tolerated in our society than using other drugs. Alcohol is seen as less dangerous, even though it can affect judgment, slow down reaction time, and cause birth defects in a pregnant teen’s unborn child. And alcohol overdose can kill. Kids may see their parents and other adults using alcohol, and they may get pro-alcohol messages from movies and advertising, too. Then there’s the effect of peer pressure. In a survey, 66% of teens cited peer pressure as a reason for drinking and using other drugs. Alcohol does, of course, have a real effect – drinking alcohol can relax a person and give a feeling of confidence. In fact, 79% of teen surveyed said they drink or use drugs because it feels good.
(In that paragraph about reasons for teen alcoholism I talked about advertisement so I m going to show some charts about the effects of advertisement on teens and pre-teens.) SHOW GRAPH!
One of the worst things I feel is how it can effect children later in life after the parent had been an alcoholic or had been drinking during pregnancy. Alcohol has been implicated in 200,000 deaths annually, including 50% of deaths by motor vehicles and fires, 67% of murders and 33% of suicides. 67% of all incidents of domestic violence, including 33% of all child abuse cases are alcohol related. 13% of our national child abuse cases in hospitals are also alcohol related. Alcohol reduces life expectancies by 11-14 years. Infants that are exposed to moderate amounts of alcohol appear to suffer from a spectrum or developmental mental and motor delays. Severe problems as seen in the classical Fetal Alcohol Syndrome include light birth weight, moderate mental retardation, small midface, heart and kidney problems.
So in conclusion I feel that if we were to limit the production of alcoholic beverages and make laws stating that if anyone under the age of 21 is caught drinking that there will be severe punishment and the same goes with drunk driving. ANY QUESTIONS