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Flashcards in alcohol Deck (34)
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prevalence of alcohol in the UK?

90% of legal drink alcohol routinely


estimated number of alcohol related deaths in the UK in 2007?



what is the reward pathway? how does it work? what is it activated by?

the reward pathway is activated by a rewarding stimulus such as alcohol and drugs
the ventral tegmental area (VTA) has neurons which contain the neurotransmitter dopamine which it releases into several structures


what is the result of high levels of dopamine in the brain?

feeling of hapiness and improved mood


what is addiction?

addiction is a state in which an organism engages in a compulsive behaviour despite potential negative consequences


give an example of a drug which causes a huge surge of dopamine release?



key chemicals of addictive drugs?

dopamine and serotonin


is there an element of rational choice involved with taking e.g cocaine?

what does this show?

yes. when the rats who were pressing levers to stimulate their reward pathway were socialised and given sweets, they chose to stop pressing the lever

also, crack addicts were given the option between delayed cash or drugs and when the dosage was low, they chose cash

certainly a socio-economic element to choosing to take drugs as often a quick way of getting pleasure


effects of alcohol and other drugs on the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex?

the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex regulates impulses, judgment and decision making and is the last part of the brain to reach adult levels of development

damage to memory and attention span


percentage of men and women in the UK that are dependent on alcohol

7.5% of men and 2.1% of women
Rehm et al. (2005)


lifetime prevalence rate for alcohol dependence in US

20% for men and 5% for women


how many people in the UK are currently alcohol dependent?

200 000


what characterises dependence to a substance?

larger doses needed for same effect
functions normally on amount that impairs others
withdrawal symptoms


how is taking substances negatively reinforced?

to avoid pain of withdrawal

or while going through withdrawal to escape symptoms


what percentage or murders and suicides are alcohol related?

80% of suicides
50% of murders


percentage of long term alcohol mis-users to have medical conditions?



features of withdrawal

inability to sleep, depressed, anxious, high blood pressure and muscle tremours


percentage of alcohol abusers who also smoke

80 to 85%


percetage of people who suffer from alcohol or drug dependence have at least one other mental disorder?



heath care expenditure for people dependent on alcohol each year

$26 billion (2001)


effect of alcohol on neural systems in the brain

stimulates GABA receptors (reduces tension as GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter)

increases levels of serotonin and dopamine (pleasureable effect)

inhibits glutamate receptors (causes cognitive effects of drinking like slowing thinking and memory loss)


biological risk factors for alcohol dependency?

54% concordance for MZ and 28% for DZ (but same environment)

or "reward centre" inefficiency


socio-cultural risk factors?

stressful conditions e.g unemployment or bereavement
peers heavily drinking


psychodynamic risk factors?

dependent personality developed due to conflict in childhood
so dependent relationship with alcohol


argument against the role of an expert in bringing about changed drining patterns?

1/3 change behaviour without professional help
although 20%reduction in consumption after seeing a GP, 80% of problem drinkers won't be known to GPs


detoxification treatment


detoxification either in a hospital setting or as an outpatient service (no difference in effectiveness)

taking away alcohol so have very unpleasant withdrawal so more effective to be an inpatient if no social support, mental problems or environment that encourages alcohol abuse


popularity of self-help groups such as AA?

in 2009 over half people receiving treatment for alcohol or drug use disorders did so in self-help groups

SAMHSA, 2010


effectiveness of AA

mixed evidence as some found long participation in AA related to more positive outcomes
others have found that AA isn't any better than other treatments


contingency management therapy

cognitive behaviour treatment

teaching people and their loved ones to reinforce behaviours inconsistent with drinking e.g avoidig going to the pub

vouchers are provided for not taking a substance

teaches job-hunting and assertiveness training for refusing drinks


effectivenss of contingency management therapy?

has to be combined with detox to be successful and medication