What is alcohol?
Alcohol is any type of drink that causes the drinker to become “drunk.”
- liquor (vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey)
What should I do if I need help?
How does alcohol affect me?
Alcoholic drinks have a chemical called ethanol in them. When someone drinks ethanol, they become intoxicated or drunk. This means that they aren’t able to think or act normally.
As people become more and more drunk, they will:
- have delayed thoughts and actions
- have a hard time standing straight or walking upright
- feel sleepy
- have poor decision-making
- act uncontrollably
Some short-term effects of drinking are:
- feeling nauseous and vomiting
- having headaches
- experiencing memory loss
- difficulty moving
Some long-term effects of drinking are:
- having high blood pressure, which can lead to other issues
- heart disease
- liver disease
- memory problems
- becoming addicted
Frequently asked questions
How does a person stop being drunk?
The only way for a person to stop being drunk is time. A drunk person’s liver will eventually break down all of the alcohol in their body until the person is no longer drunk.
However, if a person drinks too much at one time, they can suffer from alcohol poisoning. If this happens, they will have to go a hospital for emergency care.
Why do some people react differently to alcohol than others?
Like many things in life, different people react differently to different things. The way that alcohol affects someone can depend on many things, like:
- height and weight
- family history
- use of other drugs
What is a hangover?
A “hangover” refers to the bad feeling that some people get after drinking. It usually includes feeling nauseous and having a bad headache.
Is beer and wine safer to drink than liquor?
No, this is a common misconception. While beer and wine have lower alcohol content in them compared to liquor, they are not any safer to drink.
12 ounces of beer is about the same as five ounces of wine and 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor. If someone drinks enough of any of them, they will become drunk.
What does blood alcohol content mean?
Blood alcohol content (BAC) refers to the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood.
For example, a BAC of .02% mean that there is .02 grams of alcohol for every 100 grams of blood in a person’s body.
In the United States, the legal BAC limit for driving is .08%.
What is alcoholism?
Alcoholism is a mental health disorder that causes someone to be unable to control the amount of alcohol they drink.
Alcoholism can develop by drinking too often or by relying on alcohol to make yourself numb to other feelings.
How do I know if I have a drinking problem?
If you rely on drinking alcohol to control your emotions or if you feel like you have to drink in order to feel normal, you may suffer from alcoholism or other mental health disorders.
If you’re unsure if you have a mental health disorder, take our mental health screening assessment tool.
Is it ever safe to drink alcohol?
Yes, it is safe to drink alcohol if you are an adult (21 years or older) and if you drink only a little at a time. It is never safe to drink and drive.