ERIC Number: ED374373
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992
Alcohol Impairment and Social Drinking.
Bates, Marsha E.
Cognitive abilities of social drinkers are generally thought to be affected by alcohol only during acute intoxication, but several studies suggest that sober-state performance may be affected by the quantity of alcohol consumed per drinking episode. Although the findings regarding sober-state mental deficits in social drinkers are inconclusive, the possibility that acute intoxication effects may persist into the sober state is important, especially for young drinkers who are developing cognitively. Probably no single, straightforward relationship between high-quantity consumption (more than five drinks per occasion) and decreased mental efficacy exists; rather, the relationship is complex. Other factors requiring further study include the individual's psychological distress level and concurrent use of other psychoactive drugs. Additionally, tests used in past research may not have been sensitive enough to detect subtle mental deficits. Longitudinal studies are needed to detect subtle decreases from previously higher levels of functioning within individuals. Specific knowledge about cognitive effects of certain drinking patterns may enhance prevention efforts, presenting messages that are consistent with users' experience and more valid than current, simplistic analogies comparing the user's brain to a fried egg, for example. (MSF)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Rutgers, The State Univ., New Brunswick, NJ. Center of Alcohol Studies.