Alcohol is a drug that is classified as a central nervous system depressant. There are three forms of alcohol, beer, wine and distilled spirits. Alcohol is one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States and has more adverse effects that most other drugs combined. There are many aspects to consider when thinking about alcohol as a drug. There are many myths surrounding alcohol, including who uses it, what its effects are on users, social and sexual situations and the amounts people drink. The vast majority of the American population uses alcohol and in many various ways and this also causes different effects. Alcohol is also has a great causation in crimes committed by users, social, medical, and educational problems as a result of use as well. There are various levels of use including, moderate and binge drinking, which all show different effects as a result of the amount used. The demographics of users play a significant role in the effects that are caused. The lives of users are quite different from those of non-users, including the crimes that are committed by users. There are also other effects that are not derived directly from alcohol use, including negative effects on motivation and mood swings. When you use alcohol you increase your chances of seeing negative consequences from the use, significantly more than non-users have of seeing these consequences. We also learn myths that are created by the media and extreme drug abstainers. Perhaps the most important thing we must learn when researching alcohol and its effects are the real life experiences that we go through as a result of this drug. It is important that we learn all the dimensions of the reality of this drug before we pass judgment on it. Many myths are created involving the use of alcohol, some of which based on truth, but the most wide heard myths are ones that are created to make alcohol look like a socially accepted and healthy drug with no side effects. The first of these myths is one that claims alcohol to be a stimulant. These complete opposite is true, alcohol is classified as a central nervous system depressant. The way this applies to users is that alcohol slows the heart rate and breathing and also lowers the blood pressure. One of the most commonly accepted myths is that alcohol is a sure way to relax and reduce stress. However, as we drink the adrenaline levels in our bodies increase. A feeling a relaxation may initially occur when we drink but as we continue to consume alcohol, there is an increased level of stress put on our bodies. A myth that many college age users like to believe is that there are numerous ways we can speed up the process of becoming sober. These commonly believed methods include, drinking coffee, taking a cold shower or exercising. There is only one way that a drinker can sober up and that is to let the liver breakdown the alcohol. This process can differ in people depending on their individual rate of metabolism, but overall this is a slow process that requires a significant amount of time and cannot be sped up by outside means. Another commonly accepted myth and one that is often encouraged is that drinking hard liquor will get you drunk faster than drinking beer. In fact, the amount of alcohol in one beer is equal to the amount of alcohol in one shot of hard liquor, (U.S. Department of Health, 1977). Although many of these myths would be beneficial to our drinking experiences, they are all in fact false and users of alcohol must be aware of them. Alcohol is one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States today. Sixty-three percent of Americans over the age of 18 said they have consumed alcohol at least once in the past year, (National, 2001). A survey, conducted by the Core Institute, of 55,026 college students, ranging from freshmen to seniors to non-seeking degree students, from across the United States showed that 84.1% of students consumed alcohol at least once a year...
Faupel, C; Horowitz, A; Weaver, G; (2004) The Sociology of American Drug Use.
Alcohol, Drug Abuse, & Mental Health Administration, 1977
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