Ethanol more commonly referred to as alcohol, is produced by a process called fermentation or distillation. This class of substance known as alcohol is comprised of hundred of organic compounds. Alcohol is classified into two categories: Undistilled/Fermented or Distilled. Examples of Undistilled alcohol includes: beer and wine. Some examples of Distilled alcohol include: vodka, rum, gin and whiskey. Just as there are different types of alcoholic beverages, there are different types of consumers of alcohol. Alcohol users are classified based on their consumption of alcohol as current users, binge drinkers and heavy users. Alcohol is one of the most commonly used drugs, it is considered a psychoactive drug and is only second to caffeine in consumption. (Pociluyko 2003) Alcohol falls under the category of a depressant.
Chemistry of alcohol
Alcohols are characterized by a hydroxyl group (OH) bounded to a carbon atom. (Lexicon Universal Encyclopaedia). O is for one part oxygen and H is for one part hydrogen atom. There are many types of alcohol, but one common factor that binds them is the fact that they all have the same psychoactive agents in them. Alcohol may be classified as either primary, secondary or tertiary based on which carbon of the alkyl group is bonded to the hydroxyl group. Most alcohols are colourless liquids or solids at room temperature.
Root of administration
The most common method by which alcohol is consumed into the body is by oral ingestion as a liquid. However, there are other ways in which a person can ingest alcohol, they can ingest alcohol intravenously, or inhaled as a vapour.
Stages of substance abuse
It is important to understand that there is no set time frame for how long it takes to go through the stages of substance abuse. They are five (5) stages of substance abuse they are: experimentation, regular use, problem or risky use, dependence and addiction. The use of alcohol starts off with experimentation, here the use is infrequent. However, some people at this stage are able to stop using by themselves. On the other hand, there are those persons who believe their substance abuse is solving their problems or making them feel better so they begin to drink more alcohol. This then leads to regular use, they may drink with friends or alone. The next stage is the problem or risky stage, at this stage individuals suffer from problems that affect their performance, in the case of a teenagers change in behaviour and bad grades or a significant change in friends. Dependence follows regular use and persons continue the use of alcohol despite the harm and the bodily changes they experience. The last stage is addiction, at this stage the use of alcohol is compulsive and out of control.
Effects of alcohol on the Central Nervous System (CNS)
When alcohol is ingested it travels through the mouth directly to the stomach. At this point the alcohol passes through the wall of the stomach and into the bloodstream. Most of the...