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Blood Alcohol Level BAL Essay Research Paper

Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) Essay, Research Paper Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) MONITORING The amount of alcohol in your blood stream is referred to as Blood Alcohol Level (BAL). It is recorded in milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters

Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) Essay, Research Paper

Blood Alcohol Level (BAL)

MONITORING

The amount of alcohol in your blood stream is referred to as Blood

Alcohol Level (BAL). It is recorded in milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters

of blood, or milligrams percent. For example, a BAL of .10 means that 1/10 of 1

percent (or 1/1000) of your total blood content is alcohol. When you drink

alcohol it goes directly from the stomach into the blood stream. This is why

you typically feel the effects of alcohol quite quickly, especially if you

haven’t eaten for a while. BAL depends on: 1. Amount of blood (which will

increase with weight) and 2. The amount of alcohol you consume over time (the

faster you drink, the higher your BAL, as the liver can only handle about a

drink per hour–the rest builds up in your blood stream).

Understanding the effects of a rising BAL can be very useful in

controlling drinking. Below are the consequences of various Blood Alcohol

Levels,from a book by William R. Miller and Ricardo F. Munoz called, “How to

Control your Drinkling: A Practical Guide to Responsible Drinking (1982):

.02 MELLOW FEELING. SLIGHT BODY WARMTH. LESS INHIBITED.

.05 NOTICEABLE RELAXATION. LESS ALERT. LESS SELF-FOCUSED. COORDINATION

IMPAIRMENT BEGINS.

.08 DRUNK DRIVING LIMIT. DEFINITE IMPAIRMENT IN COORDINATION AND JUDGMENT.

.10 NOISY. POSSIBLE EMBARRASSING BEHAVIOR. MOOD SWINGS. REDUCTION IN REACTION

TIME.

.15 IMPAIRED BALANCE AND MOVEMENT. CLEARLY DRUNK.

.30 MANY PASS OUT.

.40 MOST PASS OUT; SOME DIE.

.50 BREATHING STOPS. MANY DIE.

As can be seen, the most reliably pleasurable effects of alcohol occur

when BAL rises to about .03-.05. Alcohol researchers have discovered that low

levels of alcohol have a specific effect on thinking; alcohol results in a

reduction of “self-monitoring.” (Hull & Reilly, 1986). What this means is that

small quantities of alcohol enable you to take your mind off yourself and your

worries. Not surprisingly, this effect reduces tension and enhances relaxation

in many people. Some people find this effect so rewarding that they continue to

drink. Unfortunately, these relaxing effects diminish as BAL rises above .05.

Instead emerge a host of negative effects, such as less emotional control,

coordination and judgment impairment, hangovers and obnoxious behavior.

One way of controlling alcohol is to learn to gauge BAL by internal

sensations and to attend to the reinforcing signs of a low BAL. Doing so will

enable you to be more in control of how much you drink and, by focusing your

attention on the initial pleasurable effects, be able to enjoy alcohol with less

negative consequences. Blood Alcohol Level Charts are available in a number of

resources. For example, “How to Control your Drinking: A Practical Guide to

Responsible Drinking” (Miller & Munoz, 1982) Contains tables which list BAL

values by gender, weight, number of drinks consumed and number of hours drinking.

THE FINAL CALL BREATHALYZER is a very useful tool in monitoring BAL.

The one-time use breathalyzers are small glass tubes which contain yellow

crystals that have been impregnated with a reactive chemical that turns green

when alcohol is present. One must breath into the balloon provided and then let

it deflate into the tube. The BAL reading appears in about a minute. Final Call

assesses BAL with a margin of error of plus or minus .02. The Final Call

Breathalyzer is useful because your BAL can be quickly assessed so that you get

immediate feedback.

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