PSY 6110 Prepare a Lecture on Models of Substance Use Disorder

PSY 6110 Prepare a Lecture on Models of Substance Use Disorder

PSY 6110 Prepare a Lecture on Models of Substance Use Disorder


Young people encounter numerous risks that ruin their health and general life. Since they are still developing physically and mentally, understanding common health risks and how to avoid them is crucial. Alcohol and tobacco use is common among young people and can have devastating effects if not controlled. This presentation focuses on the risks involved in alcohol and tobacco use and why the behavior should be avoided. To make positive decisions, young people should also understand alternative activities to drinking. Those activities will be illustrated too. Other presentation areas include methods for dealing with peer pressure and myths of alcohol use and effects on the body.

Alcohol and Tobacco Use: Risks Involved

Tobacco use is a significant health risk to the primary user and other people. The continued use of tobacco through smoking and sniffing causes diseases and disability. Many body organs, including lungs and the heart, are also damaged. The Centers for Diseases Prevention and Control (2020) demonstrated tobacco use as a health hazard since more than 16 million Americans have a tobacco-related disease due to smoking. Such diseases include cancer, lung diseases, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Secondhand smoke has similar effects and causes approximately 41,000 deaths annually (Centers for Diseases Prevention and Control, 2020). Therefore, tobacco avoidance is crucial to prevent these dangers.

To perform optimally, young people should make rational decisions. After consuming alcohol, decision-making becomes harder since the prefrontal cortex of the brain does not function as it should, which disrupts decision-making (American Addiction Centers, 2022). When consumed beyond moderation, alcohol increases the risk of injuries, including falls and burns.  Alcohol consumption is also associated with increased incidence of violence, including sexual assault, fights among friends, and intimate partner violence. Due to impaired judgment, young people’s probability of engaging in risky sexual behaviors increases. Such behaviors result in unintended pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases. If not controlled, these behaviors have profound long-term consequences.

Alcohol Use: Long-Term Consequences

Alcohol use has regrettable long-term effects that young people must strive to avoid. Like tobacco use, alcohol use is associated with chronic diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancers (Centers for Diseases Prevention and Control, 2022). The continued use of alcohol further weakens the immune system, which increases the chances of getting sick. Besides, alcohol use causes learning and memory problems, resulting in poor academic performance. Studies have also found a correlation between alcohol and mental health since alcohol dependence heightens the risk of depression (Luoto et al., 2021; McHurg & Weiss, 2019). The other adverse outcome of alcohol use is social problems at the family and workplace. These devastating effects underline the importance of alcohol avoidance, particularly when young.

Mixing Smoking and Drinking

Some people also mix smoking with alcoholism. The effects are multidimensional since alcohol is a depressant while tobacco is a stimulant (American Addiction Centers, 2022). In the short-term, the simultaneous consumption of alcohol and tobacco makes a person not realize how much the alcohol affects their body. Consequently, there is a high chance of excessive drinking. Since alcoholism hampers judgment, excessive alcohol intake makes a person make more poor judgments. Long-term effects of mixing alcohol and smoking are primarily health-related. The American Addiction Centers (2022) reported that the concurrent use of alcohol and tobacco is a major risk for throat and esophageal cancer. These adverse outcomes can only be prevented by avoiding alcohol and tobacco use.

Why Students and Young People Must Avoid Alcohol and Tobacco Use

Students work hard to live a healthy, productive life. Avoiding alcohol and tobacco use is a significant step towards

PSY 6110 Prepare a Lecture on Models of Substance Use Disorder
PSY 6110 Prepare a Lecture on Models of Substance Use Disorder

realizing this goal. Substance abuse leads to a costly lifestyle since Americans spend an average of $583 annually on alcohol (Own Your Limits, 2023). This is a huge amount of money that could be spent on other constructive activities like studying and eating healthily. The increased vulnerability to diseases implies that alcohol and tobacco use impedes healthy living. Alcohol-related violence hampers social life, and crime tendencies are higher among young alcoholics (Sontate et al. 2021). Young people can also prevent mental disorders including depression and anxiety by avoiding alcoholism and tobacco use.

Alternative Activities to Drinking

Living a risk-free life requires young people to understand alternatives to alcoholism and tobacco use. However, young people should be determined to achieve positive goals to maintain these positive habits. An important social activity that can replace alcoholism is hanging out with friends. Socializing with the right people helps to release feel-good hormones like serotonin and oxytocin (Manosa, 2022). When choosing friends to hang out with, young people should select those friends with similar life goals. Physical activities include riding a bike, playing games, and walking. Such activities help people to replace adverse behaviors with positive ones while alleviating stress levels.

The other alcohol-free way of unwinding is to experiment with nonalcoholic drinks. One of the things that make young people experiment with alcohol or tobacco is the idea that nonalcoholic options cannot produce a good feeling to excite them. However, there are many options of nonalcoholic drinks with caffeine and other ingredients to produce the excitement. Young people can also dance on their own or in groups. Research shows that music releases dopamine, the same chemical that makes people feel good while taking alcohol (Ferreri et al., 2019). Since dancing does not have adverse health effects, young people should opt for it instead of behaviors that risk health.

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The other beneficial activity that can replace alcohol and tobacco use is meditation. Unlike alcoholism that drowns out stress, meditation relieves it by calming the brain. Therefore, meditation does not cover the stress up hence improving a person’s health and well-being. The calmness that a person achieves through meditation is a reliable source of inner peace. Young people can choose different ways to meditate depending on the time available and their goals. In guided meditation, people visualize a place they find relaxing. Mantra meditation entails repeating a calming word. Young people can also practice mindfulness meditation to increase awareness of living in the present moment.

Methods of Dealing with Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is something that many people encounter routinely in school, work, and social activities. Young people, including students, are at a high risk of peer pressure since their brain is still developing. If they understand peer pressure, how it occurs, and coping with it, young people can avoid alcohol and tobacco use. Young people usually encounter direct peer pressure. This type of peer pressure involves a person offering someone else a drink or encouraging them to drink. It is common among students and can make them start drinking or consume excess. Less overt peer pressure occurs via social modeling where popular people consume alcohol to influence behavior.

There are several strategies that a person can use to overcome peer pressure for alcohol and tobacco use. The first strategy is standing with personal principles. This means that a person should never do something they do not intend to do or put them in danger. It is a very important factor for risk-free life since such a person does not worry about the opinion of peers. Choosing friends wisely implies finding friends with common values. This reduces the chances of engaging in negative behaviors and being pressurized to imitate others. Above all, young people should be determined to seek advice before trying something or finding an excuse if they know it will ruin them.

Myths of Alcohol Use and Effects

Myths about alcohol use are widespread and can mislead people when making decisions about drinking. The first myth is about the nutritional value of alcohol where some people claim that it be used as a food supplement. The truth is alcohol has no nutritional value, although it can have some calories (Missouri Department of Mental Health, 2023). Its lack of essential nutrients implies that alcohol is a health risk that should be avoided. The other myth is that alcohol warms the body. However, this is not true since alcohol lowers the body pressure in the long run. The body temperature remains unstable as long as alcohol stays in the body.

Some people have also consumed alcohol for a long time arguing that it stimulates the body. The argument stems from alcohol’s potential of producing a feel-good effect. Unlike tobacco which is a stimulant, alcohol is a depressant; thus, it sedates the central nervous system (Missouri Department of Mental Health, 2023). As a result, it has the potential to hamper the brain’s normal functioning, leading to poor judgment. The other mythical view about alcohol is that people get hangover since they switch drinks. It must be understood that hangover and other adverse reactions depend on the amount of alcohol that a person consumes.

The other misconception surrounding alcohol use is who an alcoholic represents. Some people view alcoholics as people who drink daily, implying that they are the ones at risk of addiction. It is important to note that alcoholics vary and include daily, weekly, and routine drinkers. In this case, alcoholism does not depend on when a person drinks. Rather, it is about whether a person is able to control themselves. Lastly, there are people who view beer as a less risk since it has relatively low alcohol content. It is important to know that drinking beer is as much risky as taking hard liquor.


To close this presentation, it is crucial to highlight the main points. As discussed throughout, alcohol and tobacco use is a significant health risk since it causes heart problems, cancer, and mental disorders. Young people increase the risk for depression when they abuse alcohol. Due to the health dangers associated with substance abuse, young people should avoid related behaviors to live healthily and productively. One way of achieving this goal is to adopt alternative activities to substitute alcohol and tobacco use. These activities include physical activities, meditation, and hanging up with friends with common values. It is also important to resist peer pressure since it misleads many young people into alcoholism and tobacco use.