Alcoholism and Native Americans Essay

5068 WordsFeb 13, 201121 Pages
The continuous or excessive use of alcohol (ethanol) with associated pathologic results. Alcoholism is characterized by constant or periodic intoxication, although the pattern of consumption varies markedly. Individuals admitted for the first time to an alcoholism treatment center typically have been consuming 3–4 oz (80–100 g) of pure alcohol per day, corresponding to seven to nine drinks or bottles of beer or glasses of wine. Studies have shown that problem drinking in these populations starts at about 2 oz/day (60 g/day), that is, four to five drinks per day, and that these are consumed in rapid succession, leading to intoxication on three or more days per week. Individuals who consume these levels of alcohol have a greater-than-average…show more content…
Also, low doses are known to alter motor coordination and time and space perception, important aspects of car driving (about 50% of all fatal traffic accidents are caused by intoxicated drivers). Some effects are already seen at levels of 0.05%. Pain sensitivity is diminished with moderate doses. In some individuals, alcohol is known to diminish feelings of self-criticism and to inhibit fear and anxiety, effects which are probably related to an alcohol-induced sociability. These effects act, no doubt, as psychological reinforcers for the use of alcoholic beverages. | It is generally accepted that alcohol affects the nerve cell by preventing the production and propagation of electric impulses along a network consisting of axons and synapses. The brain functions much as an electronic system in which one nerve cell, acting as a current generator, communicates information to many other cells, which in turn receive impulses from many other areas. Some impulses are enhanced, others are blunted. Memory and conditioning appear to play an important role in integrating the impulses which are finally expressed as behaviors. Studies in the United States and England have shown that when alcohol becomes dissolved in the membrane of the cells, it fluidizes or disorganizes the membrane, which in turn leads to changes in the physical and biochemical characteristics of the latter. Chronic exposure to alcohol alters the composition of the membrane and its rigidity, so that alcohol
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