Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug & other Addiction Services
Airport Executive Plaza
1321 Murfreesboro Pike Suite 155
Nashville, TN 37217
Phone: 615-780-5901 firstname.lastname@example.org
Things You Need To Know
|WHAT IS ALCOHOL?
natural substance formed by the fermentation that occurs when sugar reacts
with yeast, is the major active ingredient in wine, beer, and distilled
spirits. Although there are
many kinds of alcohol, the kind found in alcoholic beverages is ethyl
alcohol. Whether one drinks a
12-ounce can of beer, a shot of distilled spirits or a 5-ounce glass of
wine, the amount of pure alcohol is the same as one half ounce.
Ethyl alcohol can produce feelings of well-being, seduction,
intoxication, or unconsciousness, depending on the amount consumed.
Alcohol is a ‘psychoactive’ or mind-altering drug, the one most commonly
abused. It can alter moods,
cause changes in the body and become habit forming. Alcohol is called a ‘downer’ because it depresses the central
WHAT ARE THE PHYSICAL EFFECTS?
Alcohol works first on the part of the brain that controls inhibitions.
As people lose their inhibitions, they may talk more, get rowdy,
and do foolish things. After
several drinks they may feel ‘high’, but their nervous systems actually
are slowing them down. A
person doesn’t have to be an alcoholic to have problems with alcohol.
Every year, for example many young people lose their lives in
alcohol-related automobile accidents, suicides, and drowning.
Abuse of alcohol can lead to serious physical problems such as:
Pressure, Heart Attacks, and Strokes;
Ulcers, Irritable Colon, and Cirrhosis of the Liver;
the Brain, Pancreas, and Kidneys;
defects and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which causes mental retardation, small
head size, low birth weight, and limb abnormalities.
WHAT IS ALCOHOLISM?
Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and
environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations.
The disease is often progressive and fatal.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug
Dependence, Inc, and the American Society of Addiction Medicine,
alcoholism is characterized by continuous or periodic impaired control
over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite
adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial.
THE DISEASE OF ALCOHOLISM BE PREVENTED?
Yes. The first step is an
understanding of the disease and awareness of the early symptoms. Recognizing that alcohol is a drug and that its use includes
certain potential risks is a basis for personal prevention.
MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
Alcohol affects the mind and body depending on how much is consumed over
a certain amount of time. It
takes the body one hour to burn off an ounce of alcohol after it is
absorbed into the blood. Once
absorbed, nothing (drinking coffee, cold showers, etc.) will hurry away
its effects. Only time will
lessen the effects of alcohol.
Less concentrated alcoholic beverages, like beer and wine, can take longer
to absorb than spirits.
Drinks mixed with soda or carbon dioxide have increased absorption rate.
Even one or two drinks can significantly impair a driver’s judgment
and reaction time.
BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Concentration. BAC is expressed in percentage of alcohol to blood.
The higher the BAC number, the more impaired a person is.
In Tennessee, .10 is the legal level of intoxication. (A bill before the US House and Senate plans to make .08 the
national standard for drunk driving in all 50 states.)
This means that for every 800 drops of blood in a person’s body,
there is at least one drop of alcohol.
BAC changes with body weight, time spent drinking, and the amount
of alcohol that is consumed.
EFFECTS ON FEELING AND BEHAVIOR
.01 - .03
There is a mild lift in feeling.
You have some loss of judgment.
(1 drink within 15 minutes… BAC .03%)
.04 - .06 Most
People feel high and must decide whether to continue drinking.
You may get louder and have some loss of small muscle control, like
focusing your eyes. (2 drinks within ½ hour… BAC .06%)
.08 - .09 Your
sight and hearing are worse.
It’s harder to detect danger.
You have less sense of balance.
(3 drinks within 1 hour… BAC .09%)
.10 - .12 Many
people claim they’re not affected anymore, as if they could drink
themselves sober. You are
definitely not thinking straight.
(4 drinks within 2 hours… BAC .12%)
.13 - .15 You have far less muscle control than normal.
People feel happy even though they’re stumbling and acting
foolishly. Risk of an
automobile crash increases to 25 times the normal rate (5-7 drinks within
3 hours… BAC .15%)
.20 - .25
You’re confused. You usually
need help doing things, even standing up.
Those who drive are 50 to 100 times more likely to crash. The average alcohol-related highway death occurs at this
level. (8-12 drinks within 4 hours…
nothing gets through the senses.
An extremely life threatening BAC level.
condition ranges from conscious to comatose.
There is a chance of death from a ‘shut down’ of breathing.
Sources: U.S. Dept of Health and Human
Services, NCADD, TAADAS, and Dateline DREAM
TAADAS Meetings are held the 2nd Thursday each month 10 AM - Noon at the TAADAS office conference room.