Chapter 12 – Alcohol and Tobacco

Central nervous system depressant slows down activity

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Unformatted text preview: less likely to die of heart disease (compared to heavy drinkers and abstainers) • heavier drinking: triggers release of free radicals (harmful oxygen molecules) – can increase risk of heart disease, stroke, cirrhosis of liver • alcohol can weaken heart muscle, causing cardiomyopathy Immune System • chronic alcohol use: inhibit production of both white blood cells (fight off infections) and red blood cells (carry oxygen to all organs and tissues) • cold or flu – alcohol interferes with body’s ability to recover – increases chance of bacterial pneumonia in flu sufferers Brain & Behaviour • at first, feel “up” – in low dosages, affects regions of brain that inhibit or control behaviour, so feel more relaxed • also experience losses of concentration, memory, judgement, fine motor control, have mood swings and emotional outbursts • moderate & heavy drinkers: show signs of impaired intelligence, slowed- down reflexes, difficulty remembering • heavy drinking depletes brain of dopamine, gamma aminobutyric acid, opioid peptides, serotonin – responsible for feelings of pleasure and well- being • promotes release of stress chemicals – CRF (corticotropin releasing factor) – create tension and depression • central nervous system depressant – slows down activity of neurons in brain – dulling responses of brain and nervous system • one or two drinks – tranquilizer or relaxant • additional drinks – progressive reduction in CNS activity leading to sleep, general anaesthesia, coma, even death • moderate amounts – effects on perception and judgment: o impaired perceptions – less able to adjust to bright lights, less able to distinguish between sounds or accurately determine source o dulled smell and taste o diminished sensation o altered sense of space o impaired motor skills o impaired sexual peformance Increased Risk of Harm and Dying • people who use alcohol...
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