Ch. 4: Summary

In this module, you were introduced to the first of our examinations of a specific type of substance: alcohol was the focus. You learned what alcohol is and how it is processed in the human body (metabolized). You also learned that much of the physical harm related to drinking to excess has to do with the first-step metabolite, acetaldehyde. Dosing of alcohol was examined in terms of alcohol concentrations (ABV and “proof” designations), as well as in terms of volume consumed—and how standard drink equivalents are calculated. This led to a presentation concerning low-risk drinking guidelines (defining “moderation”) and how binge and heavy drinking are defined. A number of health and cognition/behavior risks associated with alcohol misuse were explored, including the topic of prenatal alcohol exposure and resulting FASD. Biomarkers for alcohol consumption and alcohol effects were presented, as well. You read about the meaning of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and how it might be estimated using interactive tools. In the second chapter, you explored epidemiological information concerning drinking behavior and possibly confronted some common stereotypes. The gap between the identified need for alcohol treatment and seeking treatment was explored, along with different options for changing one’s alcohol-related behavior—when formal treatment might be in order was considered. One factor that tends to promote alcohol misuse during adolescence and emerging adulthood was next in our list of topics: how social media (Twitter in particular) may play a role by influencing both social norms and social learning. Finally, we examined evidence concerning the significance of drinking contexts in determining drinking consequences; specifically, men’s perpetration of sexual aggression. At this point, you are prepared to review the key terms presented in Module 7 and to move forward to our next module.

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