Alcoholmd Glossary Page - B

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B Definition

An alcoholic beverage produced by fermentation of a blend of hop and barley malt; it usually containS 4-6% alcohol. However, recently new brands have come to the market, containing up to 12% for a 500 ml can. Beer can also be used in association with psychotropic drugs such as benzodiazepines to maximize their effects.


The way a person is acting. Alcoholic intoxication alters behavior in ways that are mostly detrimental to the person and his or her surroundings by removing inhibitions.

Behavioral therapy

Behavior therapy; a type of therapy that focuses on modifying overt behavior with little reference to unconscious or covert events.

Beneficial effects

Alcohol is commonly reported to increase relaxation and ease social situations; this may be viewed as a beneficial effect. However, most reported health benefits are outweighed by potential harm.


Benzodiazepines act through a specific site in the brain (BZ receptors). As a class, these drugs relieve anxiety and relieve and reduce muscle spasms without producing sedative effects. Benzodiazepines include minor tranquilizers, such as diazepam, chlordiazepoxide, lorazepam and oxazepam. Benzodiazepines may suppress autonomic hyperactivity and reduce seizure potential during withdrawal. Long acting BZ (chlordiazepoxide, diazepam) are preferred; lorazepam, has an intermediate half-life and is considered less sedative. It allows for less frequent dosing and induces less drug-seeking behavior.

Betty Ford Center

A famous detoxification center in Palm Springs, California. The founder is a former First Lady of the United States.

Binge drinking (drunk)

Heavy bouts of drinking (usually several days set aside for drinking) interspersed with periods of abstinence. See also Drunkenness, Overdose, Intoxication.

Biological effects

Extra- and intra-cellular effects of alcohol are unclear, although some receptor modifications have been noted such as decreased sensitivity of N-methyl-D-Aspartate (NMDA) receptors and increased sensitivity of the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors (GABA); these effects induce an inhibition on most major brain areas.


Affecting the biological, psychological and social aspects of a person's life. Alcohol abuse has consequences of biopsychosocial scope.


Technology of producing a substance by biological means as opposed to chemical means, usually by the use of living organisms.


Episodes of transient and global amnesia (acute anterograde amnesia with no formation of long-term memory are particularly distressing) resulting from the ingestion of alcohol or other drugs; i.e., a period of memory loss for which there is no recall of activities (See Anterograde amnesia).

Blood brain barrier

(BBB) The set of biological elements that limit the passage of certain substances between the blood and brain tissues. Most foreign objects will be denied passage to the brain through this mechanism. However, many psychoactive substances are allowed to cross this barrier because they have similar molecular structures to neurotransmitters.

Blood levels

Quantity of alcohol level in the blood. Can be expressed in g/l or as a percentage. See also Levels and Legislation on blood alcohol levels.

Blood test

Biological testing aimed at determining the blood levels of different compounds, whether they are naturally occurring in the body or toxic substances like alcohol. See also Test, Levels.


Organ of thought and nervous coordination. Alcohol intoxication greatly affects the function of the brain at both levels. See Brain Disease.

Brain disease

Disease affecting brain function. The chronic alcoholic may experience sleep disorders, illusions and hallucinations, cerebro-vascular accidents and alcoholic dementia. Epilepsy and delirium tremens are most likely to be associated with withdrawal. Alcohol coma is usually a consequence of acute intoxication.

Brain reward system

Psychoactive substances sites of action lie within a precise part of the brain called the mesolimbic system where instinctual drives, emotions and pleasant experiences reside; the ventral tegmental area (VTA) is at the center of the reward pathway and is linked to nucleus accubens (NA), a sort of relay for the frontal cortex; euphoria and craving produced by drugs are the result of specific stimulation of the VTA or AN; dysfunction in that system after repeated drugs use might explain the compulsive part of addiction.


Air exhaled during respiration, a common marker of alcohol levels in the blood, due to the volatile nature of alcohol See also Test, Breathalyzer, Bad breath. Breath Alcohol Analysis.


Device designed to detect the presence of alcohol in the blood by analyzing the level of alcohol vapors in the alcoholics breath.


Partial agonist synthetic opioid used in the treatment of addictions. Buprenorphine is a partial opiate agonist that can have a pleasurable effect. Misuse of Buprenorphine as a "drug of abuse" is a risk if not used in the realm of a physician-patient relationship. New sublingual preparations contain Buprenorphine and naloxine which eliminates intravenous drug abuse.

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