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Aug 2015

Why the difference between men and women?

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Alcohol affects women differently than men. There are several reasons.

  1. On average, women weigh less and people who weigh less reach higher blood alcohol levels compared to people who weigh more.
  2. Women have more adipose tissue (fat), causing alcohol to be absorbed more slowly and the effects of alcohol to take longer to wear off.
  3. Women have less water in their bodies to dilute alcohol. If a woman and a man of the same weight drink an equal amount of alcohol, a woman’s blood alcohol concentration will be higher.
  4. Women have lower levels of the enzymes that break down alcohol. This lower level of enzymes means that alcohol remains in a woman’s system longer.

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Aug 2015

What can I do to avoid binge drinking?

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Personal steps can also be taken to avoid binge drinking:

  1. Be aware of the health consequences of binge drinking.Being aware of the problems associated with binge drinking is an important part of making a clear decision to overcome binge drinking.
  2. Avoid situations and possible triggers for binge drinking.Try to stay away from parties where drinking alcohol is the main focus of the event. Avoid participating in drinking competitions or games.
  3. Understand what a standard drink is.Be aware that most often the size served is larger than a recommended serving size.
  4. Consume slowly.Only take a few sips of your beverage at a time. Do not drink multiple drinks in an hour. Your body absorbs alcohol more than 90 minutes after your last sip, and you may not realize how your body is affected right away.
  5. Choose to drink soda or other non-alcoholic beverages.
  6. Go out with friends who have similar consumption limits in mind.Friends bring a lot of peer pressure to the situation. Choose friends who respect your limits and choose to not binge drink.
  7. Stay away from alcopops.Alcopops contain a lot of sugar so they taste and drink like traditional soda beverages. It is all too easy to drink large amounts of these in a short amount of time.
  8. Remember that alcohol, while socially condoned as a recreational drug, is not a competition, nor is it a way to look cool.

Ultimately increased awareness and understanding of the effects of binge drinking will help sway society to healthier behaviours. Parents and adults are encouraged to talk with kids and their community about the negative effects of binge drinking.

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Aug 2015

What are the signs of Alcohol Dependence?

Posted by / in Curbing Alcoholism / No comments yet

The signs of alcoholism and alcohol abuse are very similar, and are often just a question of degree or intensity.

Some signs and symptoms of alcoholism, as well as alcohol abuse, include:

  1. Drinking alone.
  2. Drinking in secret.
  3. Not being able to limit how much alcohol is consumed.
  4. Blacking out – not being able to remember chunks of time.
  5. Having rituals and being irritated/annoyed when these rituals are disturbed or commented on. This could be drinks before/during/after meals, or after work.
  6. Dropping hobbies and activities the person used to enjoy; losing interest in them.
  7. Feeling an urge to drink.
  8. Feeling irritable when drinking times approach. This feeling is more intense if the alcohol is not available, or there appears to be a chance it may not be available.
  9. Having stashes of alcohol in unlikely places.
  10. Gulping drinks down in order to get drunk and then feel good.
  11. Having relationship problems (triggered by drinking).
  12. Having problems with the law (caused by drinking).
  13. Having work problems (caused by drinking, or drinking as root cause).
  14. Having money problems (caused by drinking).
  15. Requiring a larger quantity of alcohol to feel its effect.
  16. Nausea, sweating, or even shaking when not drinking.

A person who abuses alcohol may have many of these signs and symptoms – but they do not have the withdrawal symptoms like an alcoholic does, nor the same degree of compulsion to drink.

The problems linked to alcohol dependence are extensive, and affect the person physically, psychologically and socially. Drinking becomes a compulsion for a person with a drink problem – it takes precedence over all other activities. It can remain undetected for several years.

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Jul 2015

Why Do Adolescents Drink?

Posted by / in Underage Drinking / No comments yet

Qualitative research suggests that underage drinking occurs for a range of reasons and that alcohol can perform several roles in social settings, from the symbolic to the practical; it is not simply a question of identifying with or copying ‘adult’ behaviour.
As a parent it’s important to understand why children may drink alcohol so you can influence your child to make sensible choices.

Children can still be drawn to alcohol even though their first experience of it may be unpleasant. They may not like the taste or how it makes them feel but they often persist. It’s important for them to understand the risks of underage drinking but they won’t listen or believe you unless you first address the upsides of alcohol and why people drink.

Risk-Taking—Research shows the brain keeps developing well into the twenties, during which time it continues to establish important communication connections and further refines its function. Scientists believe that this lengthy developmental period may help explain some of the behaviour which is characteristic of adolescence—such as their propensity to seek out new and potentially dangerous situations. For some teens, thrill-seeking might include experimenting with alcohol. Developmental changes also offer a possible physiological explanation for why teens act so impulsively, often not recognizing that their actions—such as drinking—have consequences.

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