Module 7: Key Terms

acetaldehyde: an alcohol metabolite (also present in tobacco smoke) that is carcinogenic, mutagenic, and toxic

alcohol by volume (ABV): a universal measure of alcohol concentration in beverages, refers to milliliters of pure ethanol in 100 milliliters of the beverage (at 68o F) converted to a percentage.

alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH): an enzyme abundant in the liver and involved in first-step metabolism of alcohol.

alcohol poisoning: term used for alcohol overdose resulting from drinking too much too quickly, raising blood alcohol concentration to high levels; potentially fatal.

alcohol proof: an indication of alcohol content in a beverage; in the U.S. proof is twice the ABV percentage.

alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD): term covering a variety of known morphological and organ system changes resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure. Note: ARBD as an abbreviation may also refer to alcohol-related brain damage experienced later in life as a result of alcohol misuse.

alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD): term covering a range of central nervous system changes (often characterized by dementia) caused by an adult’s prolonged alcohol misuse. Note: ARBD as an abbreviation may also refer to alcohol-related birth defects.

alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorders (ARND): refers to a range of neurodevelopmental and behavioral disabilities resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure.

aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH): an enzyme abundant in the liver involved in second-step metabolism of alcohol (metabolizes acetaldehyde produced in first-step).

ASAM levels of care: set of guidelines established by the American Society of Addiction Medicine matching recommended treatment intensity to assessment of individuals in need of alcohol or other substance misuse/use disorder treatment.

binge drinking (heavy episodic drinking): consuming 4 or more drinks within about 2 hours by women and 5 or more drinks in 2 hours by men.

blood alcohol concentration (BAC): refers to the percent of ethanol in a person’s blood (sometimes referred to as blood alcohol level, or BAL).

delirium tremens: confusion and other symptoms (e.g., shaking, shivering, irregular heart rate, sweating) related to alcohol withdrawal in some persons who have a history of heavy drinking.

denatured alcohol: ethanol that has been altered by additives to discourage consumption; may be poisonous/toxic or simply unpleasant (taste/smell).

detoxification (detox): a first step intervention to manage withdrawal from alcohol (or other substance) and used as a prelude to entering treatment.

ethyl alcohol (ethanol or “grain” alcohol): names for the main chemical in alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, spirits).

fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD): a continuum of conditions related to prenatal alcohol exposure.

fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS): on the FASD continuum, involving brain damage, impaired growth, and specific morphological differences of the face/head; may be full or partial outcome.

heavy drinking: 8 or more drinks per week for women and 15 or more drinks per week for men.

heavy episodic drinking (HED): see binge drinking

high-risk drinking: 4 or more drinks on any day (binge drinking) or 8 or more drinks per week for women (heavy drinking); 5 or more drinks on any day (binge drinking) or 15 or more drinks per week for men (heavy drinking).

standard drink measure: a way of indicating alcohol consumption, each standard drink equivalent is determined as 14 grams of pure ethanol in a beverage.

teratogen: any factor that disrupts fetal development, such as chemicals (including alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs), x-rays, viral or bacterial infections.

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