study focused on alcohol as the addictive substance

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The addictive substance in the study was alcohol. The medication is a depressant that disrupts the consumer's nervous system, resulting in poor motor coordination, slurred speech, and poor judgment. Excessive intake can be fatal. Because they share the same chemical structure, the process for producing alcohol is nearly identical. The substance is created by fermenting or distilling vegetables such as cane sugar, as well as fruits and grains. The finished product is intended to have an impact on the consumers. Extreme consumption, on the other hand, kills essential human organs such as the heart, liver, and pancreas. Several studies have been conducted to document methods of preventing alcohol dependence. Furthermore, "strength-based therapy" has been beneficial. This approach focuses on the family and the entire community since they are the primary elements surrounding the addict and recommends major interventions.


Alcohol is a type of depressant (slows down the functioning of the human body). After excessive consumption, a person reflects signs of slurred speech, poor motor coordination, slow reactions, and disturbed perceptions (Brick, 2012). Furthermore, the substance lowers the ability of a person to think rationally and this leads to poor judgment. Alcohol can be a severe depressant if consumed heavily and beyond what the body can handle. This may lead to adverse effects such as inability to feel pain, poisoning where the body may vomit the substance, or worse, coma or death (Cunningham & McCambridge, 2012).

How Alcohol is Manufactured

The three most common types of Alcohol are “ethyl alcohol (ethanol), methyl alcohol (methanol), and isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol).” “All alcohols have a similar chemical structure and contain the hydroxyl group (-OH), attached to a saturated carbon molecule.” Therefore, alcohol is a simple molecule (CH3-CH2-OH), formed through the fermentation or distillation of vegetables, such as cane sugar and also fruits and grains (Kapoor & Raju, 2013). Fermentation is when yeast combines with water and sugar. The yeast further combines hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and water, which forms alcohol and carbon IV oxide (Frankenburg, 2014).

Different alcoholic beverages employ unique fermentation ingredients. For instance, wine manufacturing uses grapes, berries and other types of fruits rich in sugar and provides the needed oxygen for fermentation. Fermentation continues until the maximum alcohol concentration is attained, in this case, 15%, at which point the yeast dies (Galanter, Kleber & Brady, 2014). Conversely, beers utilize starch as a source of sugar found in cereal grains (barley). The starch is converted into sugar using enzymes in a process called malting. The fermentation process is stopped when the alcohol concentration reaches around 3% to 6%. The manufacturing design, biological processes, or both are the primary elements that determine the alcohol concentration in any beverage (Freudenberger, 2009). That is the reason why alcoholic beverage contents are normally expressed as a percentage of alcohol by volume.

What Consumers obtain from Alcohol

Despite its adverse effects, people still drink alcohol. Stress is one of the reasons people obtain alcohol. There is a belief among some consumers that the substance has the ability to relieve them off some life stressors for instance, work, money, and relationship problems (Rooney, 2010). According to Van Wormer & Davis (2016), “gender nonconformity and conformity in sex-role behaviour may be high stress factors because the victims do not conform to the society’s definition of sexuality.” For example, lesbians, adolescents, gays, and transgender persons are highly vulnerable to alcohol and other substance abuse. Cunningham & McCambridge (2012) assert that some people, especially teenagers take it since it is a social norm. They consume because they want to feel part of the community. Since it is a behavioral expectation in a given community setting, may feel a sense of belonging when they consume the substance. Some consumers earn courage and bravery after consuming alcohol. The substance helps them remove inhibitions so they may to do things they were not in a position to do while sober. Others consume the drug for fun and as preference. They prefer the beverage especially during parties in comparison to soda, tea or water.

How Alcohol is Administered

Different states have distinct legislations governing the administration of alcohol. Age is one of the primary elements governments use to curb the consumption of the substance. For instance, the legal drinking age in the US is 21 so selling the substance to people below the stated age is illegal (Hingson & Zha, 2009). The drug can be bought from licensed grocery stores, hypermarkets, supermarkets, and liquor stores. However, most people prefer consuming the product in nightclubs and bars. Gender and the consumption dose determine the effects of alcohol administration. Men are disposed to have extra muscle tissues and a smaller amount of body fat than women. Muscles carry more water than fat. Thus, alcohol is diluted easily in muscles than fatty tissues, which makes its concentration higher in women than in men (Pascual, Boix, Felipo & Guerri, 2009).

How Alcohol Impacts the Body/Mind

Literature about alcohol and its effects is immense. Medical research indicates that alcohol impacts virtually every organ of the human body. Abnormal consumption of the substance is corrosive to various body tissues since it interferes with the biochemical and hormonal regulations of various cellular and metabolic functions in the body. Alcohol affects a staggering number of physiological systems. Frequent consumption leads to cardiomyopathy (a stretching of the heart) and arrhythmias (an irregular heartbeat). This damages the heart and increases blood pressure, which can cause stroke or worse, a heart failure (Tabakoff, Sutker, & Randall, 2012).

The liver is also one of the tissues that bears the greatest brunt of alcohol’s effects. Alcohol causes steatosis (fatty liver), alcoholic hepatitis, and fibrosis or cirrhosis. All the mentioned effects have an adverse effect on the user of the substance. Heavy consumption affects the pancreas, which can suffer from pancreatitis (inflammation of the blood vessels). Pancreatitis causes upper abdominal pain and swollen and tender abdomen. In some cases, it may lead to nausea and vomiting (Manzardo, 2008).

Chronic consumption exposes the body to certain forms of cancer for instance, cancer of the mouth, esophagus, throat, breast, and liver. Acute and chronic abuse significantly increases the risk for accidents, which may possibly leads to permanent impairment. It weakens the immune system and so this exposes the body to possible disease attacks. A hangover should be least of the worries for a habitual drinker of alcohol (Dasgupta, 2011).

The most Effective Treatments for Dependence upon Alcohol

According to Van Wormer & Davis (2016, p. 389), “addiction to substances and behaviors begins and ends in the context of social relationships and therefore must be treated in the larger context of the social network.” The authors affirm that the traditional approaches focus more on the individual treatment. However, they recommend the “strength-based therapy”, which narrows down to the family and other support systems. The methodology cushions dependence upon alcohol and is the most effective path to recovery. Strength-based therapy starts and stays where the person is, which means that this type of treatment emphasizes on the addict’s role in the family and community life. It reviews the history of the family with alcohol addiction and the addicted family members and prescribes an intervention process. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (2012) recommends “sanctions and enticements from the family, employers, and the justice systems to enhance treatment entry, retention rates, and the ultimate success of drug treatment interventions.”


Brick, J. (Ed.). (2012). Handbook of the medical consequences of alcohol and drug abuse. Routledge.

Cunningham, J. A., & McCambridge, J. (2012). Is alcohol dependence best viewed as a chronic relapsing disorder?. Addiction, 107(1), 6-12.

Dasgupta, A. (2011). The science of drinking : how alcohol affects your body and mind. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Frankenburg, F. R. (2014). Brain-Robbers: how alcohol, cocaine, nicotine, and opiates have changed human history. ABC-CLIO.

Freudenberger, R. (2009). Alcohol fuel: A guide to making and using ethanol as a renewable fuel. New society publishers.

Galanter, M., Kleber, H. D., & Brady, K. (Eds.). (2014). The American Psychiatric Publishing textbook of substance abuse treatment. American Psychiatric Pub.

Hingson, R. W., & Zha, W. (2009). Age of drinking onset, alcohol use disorders, frequent heavy drinking, and unintentionally injuring oneself and others after drinking. Pediatrics, 123(6), 1477-1484.

Kapoor, A. & Raju, S. (2013). Illustrated medical pharmacology. New Delhi: Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd.

Manzardo, A. (2008). Alcoholism : the facts. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. Tabakoff, B., Sutker, P. & Randall, C. (2012). Medical and Social Aspects of Alcohol Abuse. Boston, MA: Springer US.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). Retrieved from

Pascual, M., Boix, J., Felipo, V., & Guerri, C. (2009). Repeated alcohol administration during adolescence causes changes in the mesolimbic dopaminergic and glutamatergic systems and promotes alcohol intake in the adult rat. Journal of neurochemistry, 108(4), 920-931.

Rooney, A. (2010). Dealing with drugs. London: Evans.

Van Wormer, K., & Davis, D. R. (2016). Addiction treatment. Cengage Learning.

April 19, 2023

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