Unit 4 Understanding and Avoiding Hazardous Substances Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc. 282 Alcohol Use and Violence People who have been drinking are more likely to behave violently than those who have not been drinking. About 35 percent of victims of some type of violent attack report that the person who assaulted them was under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol use is also associated with many cases of violence within families, including child abuse and violence between romantic partners. (You will learn more about abuse and violence in Chapter 15.) Alcohol-Use Disorders Like smoking, drinking alcohol can be addictive, especially for some people more than others. Alcohol use can increase the risk of developing alcohol-use disorders. Alcohol-use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol causes problems that interfere with a person’s health and responsibilities at school, home, or work. Alcohol-use disorders may range from mild to moderate to severe. They generally follow the stages of addiction (Figure 9.10). The first stage of addiction is experimentation. Experimentation occurs when people are trying a substance. Young people may try alcohol after seeing their parents or someone in a movie try alcohol. They may also feel pressured by their friends to try alcohol. Some people who experiment with alcohol decide they do not like it and quit drinking. For other people, experimentation with alcohol can lead to regular use. During this stage, people develop a habit of using a substance on a regular basis. People who engage in moderate drinking limit their alcohol intake so they do not drink too much. Regular use, however, often causes people to drink more than they should, resulting in a mild to moderate alcohol-use disorder. Regular use of alcohol causes the body to develop a tolerance for alcohol. In this stage, a person’s body gets used to a certain amount of alcohol (Figure 9.11). Gradually, a person must consume larger amounts of alcohol than were previously needed to feel the same effects. Regular use of alcohol can easily lead to heavy drinking, a severe alcohol-use disorder, and dependence on alcohol. Dependence occurs when the user is psychologically and/or physically dependent on alcohol. Once a person is dependent on alcohol, he or she must have the substance in the body to function “normally” and feel “normal.” At this stage, a person may experience withdrawal symptoms if he or she tries to stop drinking. These symptoms may include hallucinations, impaired coordination, and disruptions in brain function. Stages of Addiction Experimentation Regular use Tolerance Dependence Addiction 1 3 4 2 Figure 9.10 People who never drink alcohol will never develop an addiction to alcohol. When does an alcohol-use disorder occur?
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