Pharmacology of Alcohol

  • Walter A. Hunt


Ethanol is the most abused substance in the world today. In the United States, roughly two thirds of the population drinks alcoholic beverages without ill effects. However, over 7% of adults, based on a 1992 survey, are considered alcoholic, with many more classified as alcohol abusers (B. F. Grant et al., 1994). Excessive ethanol consumption accounts for 3% of all deaths, including 50% of traffic fatalities, 38% of drowning deaths, 50% of homicides, 30% of suicides, most cases of cirrhosis of the liver, and fetal alcohol syndrome, the leading cause of mental retardation. This chapter provides the essential pharmacology of ethanol, including its basic properties, how the body processes it when ingested, its behavioral effects, and its possible mechanisms of action.


NMDA Receptor Ethanol Consumption Experimental Therapeutics Chronic Ethanol Fetal Alcohol Syndrome 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter A. Hunt
    • 1
  1. 1.Neurosciences and Behavioral Research BranchNational Institute on Alcohol Abuse and AlcoholismBethesdaUSA

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