A l c o h o l

Introduction

Alcohol is the oldest and most commonly used drug in the world and is taken orally, and is the only drug that contains calories. It is rapidly metabolized and absorbed and distributed to cells throughout the body and is metabolized into carbon dioxide and water within a few hours. Alcohol produces few health effects in low doses, however it causes severe health problems with high doses and regular use.

Slang/Street Names

Booze, brew, hooch, juice, spirits

Pharmacokinetics

Alcohol initially stimulates the dopamine in the mesolimbic dopamine pathway, however these levels of dopamine decrease to normalcy as drinking continues. When not drinking, these dopamine levels drop so the person must continue to drink to feel the safe level of “normalcy” that was experienced when they were drinking. As alcohol levels increase, cognitive and motor skills diminish and at higher drinking levels, important centers of the brain (breathing, gag reflex) are impaired and could possibly lead to death.

Symptoms and Side Effects of Abuse/Dependence

Acute effects of Alcohol abuse include disinhibition, relaxation, euphoria, agitation, drowsiness, impaired cognition, impaired judgment and impaired memory as well as perceptual and motor dysfunctioning. People who abuse Alcohol may demonstrate hand tremors, stomach problems, diarrhea, morning nausea and vomiting, frequent urinating, impotence and headaches. Chronic dependence on Alcohol leads to memory blackouts, nightmares, insomnia, hallucinations, paranoia, intellectual impairment, dementia, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (a mental disorder brought on by alcoholism and marked by neural irritation, disturbances of memory and orientation).

Alcohol abusers and those who may be dependent on Alcohol experience depression, a deteriorating job performance, change in social interactions, as well as they have an increased risk for stroke and death in automobile accidents.

Withdrawal and Overdose

People who are withdrawing from Alcohol may experience some or all of the following withdrawal effects for up to 5 days after stopping drinking: Insomnia, irritability, headaches, delirium tremens (a form of acute insanity marked by sweating, stomach problems, restlessness, anxiety, mental confusion and hallucinations – auditory or visual). Untreated Alcohol withdrawal may include seizures, severe hyperthermia, and possibly death.

If you are struggling and abusing alcohol, please consider asking others for help, by clicking here.

Other HEAD GAMES Drugs of Abuse:

Amphetamines

Cocaine

Hallucinogens (Marijuana and LSD)

Opiates

Sedative/Hypnotics

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About Dr Ken McGill

Dr. Ken McGill is an ordained minister and has been involved in counseling for more than 25 years. Dr. McGill holds a Bachelor's degree in Religion from Pacific Christian College (now Hope International University), a Certificate of Completion in the Alcohol and Drug Studies/Counseling Program from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. Dr. McGill received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Family Psychology from Azusa Pacific University in May, 2003. Dr. McGill's dissertation focused on the development of an integrated treatment program for the sexually addicted homeless population, and Ken was "personally mentored" by dissertation committee member Dr. Patrick Carnes, a pioneer in the field of sex addiction work. Dr. McGill authored a chapter in the text The Clinical Management of Sex Addiction, with his chapter addressing the homeless and sex addiction. Dr. McGill is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the States of Texas and California and Mississippi, and is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, through the International Institute for Trauma and Addictive Professionals (IITAP). Dr. McGill had a private practice in Glendora, CA (Aspen Counseling Center), Inglewood, CA (Faithful Central Bible Church), and Hattiesburg, MS (River of Life Church), specializing in the following areas with individuals, couples, families, groups and psychoeducational training: addictions and recovery, pre-marital, marital and family counseling, issues related to traumatization and abuse, as well as depression, grief, loss, anger management and men's and women's issues. Dr. McGill also provided psychotherapeutic treatment with Student-Athletes on the University of Southern Mississippi Football and Men's Basketball teams. Dr. McGill served as the Director of the Gentle Path Program, which is a seven-week residential program, for people who are challenged with sexual addiction, sexual anorexia, and relationship issues. Dr. McGill also supervised Doctoral students in the Southern Mississippi Psychology Internship Consortium with the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. McGill was inducted into the Azusa Pacific University Academic Hall of Honor, School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences, in October, 2010. Dr. McGill currently works as a Private practice clinician with an office in Plano, Texas, providing treatment with people who are challenged in the areas mentioned above.

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