Alcohol use and addiction is a prevalent problem. The percentage of adults who admit to at least one episode of heavy drinking in the past year is 24.9 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When alcohol use becomes abuse, people may even develop issues with alcoholism. In this case, alcohol rehab or drug rehab may become necessary to stop the progression of abuse.

Introduction to Alcohol

What is alcohol?

Alcohol is the ingredient present in beer, wine, or liquor that creates intoxication when consumed. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system.

How does alcohol affect a person?

In the short term, alcohol interferes with how the brain communicates with the rest of the body. In the long term, alcohol can lead to heart, liver, and pancreatic problems.

Why do some people react differently to alcohol than others?

A number of factors contribute to how alcohol affects a person. Age, gender, ethnicity, physical size, and taking other medications or drugs can impact alcohol’s affect on the body.

What is a standard drink in the United States?

Some people are surprised at what constitutes a “standard” drink in the United States. One beer, one glass of wine, or one shot of distilled liquor equals a standard drink.

Is beer or wine safer to drink than hard liquor?

Any type of alcohol can have the same effect on the body. Drinking beer or wine is no safer than hard liquor.

Drinking Levels

What does “moderate drinking” mean?

Health professionals have defined moderate drinking. Moderate drinking means women drinking no more than one drink per day and men drinking no more than two drinks per day.

Is it safe to drink alcohol and drive?

No. The amount of alcohol in the body is measured through the blood alcohol concentration. Impairment increases as BAC rises. With impairment, people lose their judgment ability, concentration, coordination, and visual acuity, which impacts their driving abilities.

What does it mean to be above the legal limit for drinking?

Individual states in the United States have set the legal limit for driving at a BAC of 0.08 percent. Anyone operating a motor vehicle with a BAC over this limit would be subject to penalties enforced by the state.

Excessive Alcohol Use

What does “heavy drinking” mean?

“Heavy drinking” is determined by the high frequency with which someone consumes alcohol. The CDC applies this label to a woman who has eight or more drinks a week or a man who has 15 or more drinks a week.

What is binge drinking?

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has defined binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that results in a BAC of 0.08 percent or above, which usually happens when a man has consumed five or more drinks or a woman has consumed four or more drinks in a two-hour period.

What is the difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse?

Alcohol abuse involves problematic drinking that causes issues in other areas of life, such as school, work, or family. The drinking situations may be dangerous, and the drinking may become more frequent or heavy. Alcoholism involves an addiction to alcohol, which is a chronic disease.

What does it mean to get drunk?

Getting drunk involves consuming alcohol to the point of intoxication. A drunk person will slur their speech, show reduced judgment, and have difficulty with motor functions such as walking.

Drinking Problems

How do I know if I have a drinking problem?

Assess your behavior if you think you might have a problem. If you have ever felt guilty about drinking or have bothered other people with your drinking behavior, you might have a problem with alcohol.

What can I do if I or someone I know has a drinking problem?

If you think that you or someone you know has issues with drinking, get help from a medical health professional. Screening and counseling are often free to help people with alcohol addiction.

What health problems are associated with excessive alcohol use?

A number of physical health issues and illnesses can occur over time with excessive alcohol use. People may experience cirrhosis, hypertension, enlarged heart, cancer, or dementia.

Special Populations

Is drinking bad for my health if I’m younger?

Yes. When teenagers drink, they may be more likely to have accidents and injuries. Teens who drink may also be more likely to develop alcohol problems as adults.

Is it OK to drink when pregnant?

No amount of alcohol is safe to consume during pregnancy. Alcohol passes to the developing fetus, possibly causing a variety of health issues.

Alcohol Abuse Information