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The science of alcohol
The science of alcohol

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Week 7: The long-term effects of alcohol consumption

Introduction

In this penultimate week, you will read about the long-term effects of heavy alcohol consumption. It is widely known that consuming a large volume of alcohol is degrading to a human’s health and this condition significantly affects other medical conditions. There is a drive for individuals to reduce, moderate or even cut out their consumption entirely. This is acknowledged by manufacturers themselves.

This is a photograph of a number of measuring containers.

In this week, you will first look at how alcohol consumption is measured to ensure that intake from different drinks is compared and normalised. Next you will consider how long-term intake affects the body physiologically and psychologically. Finally, you will briefly look at treatment methods.

By the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • explain how alcoholic intake is measured in terms of units
  • describe the features of alcohol use disorder (AUD) and explain why it can be thought of as a psychological and behavioural condition
  • describe some of the physiological conditions associated with the long-term harmful effects of drinking excessive alcohol.