By David B. Cooper
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The more a population drinks (per capita consumption) the greater the number of individuals harmed. Serious physical damage, however, is infrequent, involving perhaps fewer than 10% of heavy drinkers, and is numerically insignificant compared with the considerable burden of psychological, socio-economic and legal problems. 2 Definition of drinking patterns (these figures are approximate guidelines) Drinking pattern Social - within normal limits Units per week men 21 women 14 Moderate - occasional drinking over limits Heavy - hazardous: socio-economic and minor physical problems - harmful: risk of physical damage men 22-29 women 15-35 men >50 women >36 Binge (on any one occasion) men 10 + women 7 + Dependent - drink takes over life men >50 women >36 Alcohol in the body Alcohol is a small molecule that is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and upper part of the small intestine and diffuses readily throughout the body.
Moreover, there are profound differences between societies. For instance, in some countries wine drinking is more popular in rural areas, especially if the country produces wine itself, whereas in Scandinavian countries, for example, drinking occurs mainly in urban settings. Marriage, parenthood and employment mostly occur in the early part of adulthood and demand the adoption of new social roles.
Fat is a poor absorber of alcohol because it has little blood supply; this may partly explain why women, with more subcutaneous fat and a smaller blood volume than men, achieve a higher BAG for a given amount of alcohol. They also have lower levels of alcohol dehydrogenases (see below) in the stomach, so that more alcohol is absorbed. 3). 3 Peak alcohol concentration and clearance after various amounts (standard drinks) of alcohol Standard drinks (or units) of alcohol Peak blood alcohol concentration mg/WOml Clearance hours 3 50 3 6 100 6 10 200 13 Alcohol is largely metabolised (broken down) by enzymes in the liver; only 2-5% is excreted unchanged in the urine, sweat and breath.
Alcohol Use by David B. Cooper