- 1 Is alcohol classified as a drug True or false?
- 2 Are alcohol and drugs the same?
- 3 What is the point of alcohol?
- 4 Are alcohol drinkers happier?
- 5 Are alcohols classified?
- 6 Do some drugs contain alcohol?
- 7 Is Coffee considered a drug?
- 8 Why do people like to get drunk?
- 9 Is drinking OK sometimes?
- 10 Do people ever stop drinking?
Is alcohol addictive yes or no?
Many of us will have had the experience of deciding not to drink but then going ahead and doing it anyway. For some of us, alcohol becomes something we carry on consuming even though the negative consequences are plain to see. So, what is it about alcohol that keeps us coming back for more, and can we become addicted to drinking? Alcohol is a very simple chemical that can bring about big changes in the complex functions of the human brain.
When we drink alcohol, it triggers the release of other chemicals in the body that make us feel more content and less sensitive to pain. So, it is no surprise that once we start drinking, we often want to carry on. For some of us, alcohol becomes something we carry on consuming even though the negative consequences are plain to see.
Perhaps just as important as the pleasurable sensations that alcohol produces are all the things we associate with it. For many of us, a beer or wine marks the end of the working day or the end of childcare responsibilities. It’s a reward, a treat. It’s the way we socialise and celebrate and get to know people.
- So far, so good.
- But why do some of us carry on drinking when it’s quite clear that it’s doing us more harm than good? Are some of us ‘addicted’ to alcohol? There is a lot of debate about what exactly an ‘addiction’ is.
- Perhaps the simplest description is that it is doing something to the point where it harms us, and not feeling able to stop.
There are many reasons this can happen. Very often, someone will find that a substance or behaviour (like alcohol or gambling) gives them some kind of release – from ordinary everyday stresses, or from quite deep and troubling problems, such as depression, anxiety or traumatic memories.
- Over time, that substance or behaviour can start to take priority over other things and we can start to feel uneasy when we are not feeding our habit.
- This is sometimes called a ‘psychological addiction’.
- We don’t know exactly what causes it.
- It may be that some substances or behaviours are ‘addictive’ and our brains enjoy them and want more of them; or that some people are naturally prone to getting attached to a substance or behaviour; or simply that some people are so troubled by their feelings that they need to continue to blot them out.
As well as ‘psychological addiction’, alcohol can also produce physical dependency. Heavy drinking over a long period of time can leave the body needing alcohol every day, and if the drinker attempts to stop suddenly they may experience sweating, shaking and nausea, and may even go into shock and die.
People who are physically dependent on alcohol will need the support of a healthcare professional to stop drinking and may need to detox in hospital under medical or nursing supervision. Read more about alcohol withdrawal symptoms here. People who are physically dependent on alcohol will need the support of a healthcare professional to stop drinking.
Like ‘addiction’, ‘alcoholism’ is a term that stirs up a lot of debate. The idea of ‘alcoholism’ as a disease first grew in the 19th century. At that time, it was certainly a much more compassionate idea than the widespread belief that heavy drinkers were weak or immoral.
- The idea that someone is suffering from ‘alcoholism’ (and is ‘once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic’) has been enshrined since the 1930s in the work of Alcoholics Anonymous.
- Although there is very little scientific basis for it, it is an idea that has helped millions of people to turn their lives around.
There are countless people around the world today who are living happier and more fulfilled lives because they decided that they were ‘an alcoholic’ and decided to do something about it by never drinking again. Others experiencing alcohol problems find terms like ‘alcoholic’ and ‘alcoholism’ (or ‘addict’ and ‘addiction’) unhelpful.
- They may not wish to define themselves as ‘an alcoholic’ or ‘an addict’ and may see themselves more as someone who is struggling with life and overusing alcohol to cope.
- They may wish to reduce their alcohol consumption to more moderate levels, rather stopping altogether.
- Whether or not we accept terms like ‘alcoholic’ or ‘addict’, it is important to be cautious about how we use them.
Believing that problems with alcohol only happen to certain people who are ‘alcoholics’ or ‘addicts’ can be a convenient way to brush aside what may be quite serious alcohol issues in our own lives. The truth is that any of us who drink to excess may cause problems for ourselves and others, and may need help to overcome those problems – whatever words we chose to use to describe ourselves.
Is alcohol classified as a drug True or false?
Alcohol is classified as a drug in the context of abuse. The alcohol contained in alcoholic beverages is called ethanol.
Are alcohol and drugs the same?
Alcohol: Is It A Drug? – Yes, alcohol is a drug. Specifically, alcohol is a Psychotropic Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressant. Being a “psychotropic” drug means alcohol has an impact on cognition, emotions, and perception. Alcohol shares this designation with many other well-known drugs, such as Marijuana, Cocaine, and LSD,
Being a CNS Depressant means that alcohol slows the activity of the brain; it also shares this trait with many other drugs such as Ambien, Xanax, and Valium. Part of the reason some mistakenly don’t consider alcohol to be a drug is because of how normalized the consumption of alcohol is. Another reason is because of the way the phrase “drugs and alcohol” has entered the lexicon; the phrase misleadingly implies that alcohol is not itself a drug.
In fact, some special interest groups have even lobbied for replacing the phrase “drugs and alcohol” with “alcohol and other drugs” so that it’s clear that alcohol belongs in the latter category.
What is the point of alcohol?
People drink alcohol for various reasons including relaxation, socializing, escaping problems, etc. For some people, consuming alcohol can lead to alcohol dependence if they drink too often.
Are alcohol drinkers happier?
Cheers to that! Drinking beer makes you happier and healthier than if you are teetotal, scientists confirm –
Study of 33,000 people in Spain found drinkers have higher levels of happiness READ MORE: Wine a day WON’T kill you, experts now claim of moderate drinking
Updated: 16:23 BST, 15 April 2023 Beer drinkers have better mental and physical health than teetotallers and ex-drinkers, scientists have found. Enjoying a pint or two sees people rate their levels of health and happiness more highly, according to a team at the University of Murcia in Spain,
- The researchers analysed data from 33,185 respondents to the country’s 2012 and 2017 National Health Surveys to see how beer consumption related to self-assessed health.
- The study found moderate drinkers enjoyed a higher rate of good physical health, rating it at 80 per cent compared to half of those who abstain from alcohol,
Meanwhile 90 per cent regarded their mental health as being ‘good’, with non-drinkers rating it at 80 per cent, The Sun reports. Enjoying a pint or two sees people rate their levels of health and happiness more highly, according to a team at the University of Murcia in Spain While heavier drinkers rated their health better, experts warned of a ‘double-edged habit’ as they ate more fast food and smoked more.
- Those partial to a drink were also half as likely to suffer ‘physical limitations’ in their daily lives than those who weren’t — 15 per cent compared to 30 per cent.
- But while drinkers were also more likely to exercise, they were found to eat less fruit and veg than non-drinkers.
- One of the study’s authors, Professor Ernesto De la Cruz-Sánchez said: ‘Beer consumption shows better indicators of physical, mental and emotional health than in abstainers and ex-drinkers.
‘Research has suggested low doses of alcohol can improve heart health and the immune system.’ The study also found that men were more likely to identify as moderate and heavy beer drinkers while women were more likely to be abstainers and occasional drinkers.
It also highlighted that beer, the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world, usually has a relatively low alcohol content. One of the study’s authors, Professor Ernesto De la Cruz-Sánchez said: ‘Beer consumption shows better indicators of physical, mental and emotional health than in abstainers’ And although the findings might appear to be a cause for celebration for many, the high calorie content in pints has recently seen calls from the Shadow Health Secretary to make people more aware of what they’re consuming.
Four pints of BrewDog Punk IPA can deliver half a day’s worth of calories, MailOnline found recently in a survey of the worst offending beers. Another recent study which reviewed the findings of 107 alcohol health surveys also found that many were flawed.
What percentage of the world is addicted to alcohol?
Alcohol Consumption Alcohol has historically, and continues to, hold an important role in social engagement and bonding for many. Social drinking or moderate alcohol consumption for many is pleasurable. However, alcohol consumption – especially in excess – is linked to a number of negative outcomes: as a risk factor for diseases and health impacts; crime; road incidents; and for some, alcohol dependence.
- This entry looks at the data on global patterns of alcohol consumption, patterns of drinking, beverage types, the prevalence of alcoholism; and consequences, including crime, mortality and road incidents.
- Related entries: Data on other drug use can be found at our full entry,
- Drug Use disorders are often classified within the same category as mental health disorders — research and data on mental health can be found at our entry,
- Support for alcohol dependency At the end of this entry you will and guidance if you, or someone you know needs support in dealing with alcohol dependency.
This interactive map shows the annual average alcohol consumption of alcohol, expressed per person aged 15 years or older. To account for the differences in alcohol content of different alcoholic drinks (e.g. beer, wine, spirits), this is reported in liters of pure alcohol per year.
The global average consumption was 6.1826344 liters per person in the latest year available To make this average more understandable we can express it in bottles of wine. Wine contains around 12% of pure alcohol per volume so that one liter of wine contains 0.12 liters of pure alcohol. The global average of 6.2 liters of pure alcohol per person per year therefore equals 53 bottles of wine per person older than 15.
Or to make it more memorable, around 1 liter of wine per week. As the map shows, the average per capita alcohol consumption varies widely across the world. We see large geographical differences: Alcohol consumption across North Africa and the Middle East is particularly low — in many countries, close to zero.
At the upper end of the scale, alcohol intake across Europe is highest at around 15 liters per person per year in Czechia. This equals around two bottles of wine per person per week. Only slightly behind the Eastern European countries are Western European countries – including Germany, France, Portugal, Ireland, and Belgium – at around 12 to 14 liters.
This interactive map shows the share of adults who drink alcohol. This is given as the share of adults, aged 15 years and older, who have drunk alcohol within the previous year. In many countries the majority of adults drink some alcohol. Across Europe, for example, more than two-thirds do in most countries.
Again, the prevalence of drinking across North Africa and the Middle East is notably lower than elsewhere. Typically 5 to 10 percent of adults across these regions drunk within the preceding year, and in a number of countries this was below 5 percent. When we look at gender differences we see that in all countries men are more likely to drink than women.
This gender difference appears to be lowest in countries where the overall prevalence of drinking high. Where drinking prevalence is low-to-mid range, the prevalence of drinking in women tends to be significantly lower – often it is less than half the rate of men.
- Data on the share who drink alcohol by gender and age group in the UK is available,
- Alcohol consumption – whilst a risk factor for a number of health outcomes – typically has the greatest negative impacts when consumed within heavy sessions.
- This pattern of drinking is often termed ‘binging’, where individuals consume large amounts of alcohol within a single session versus small quantities more frequently.
Heavy episodic drinking is defined as the proportion of adult drinkers who have had at least 60 grams or more of pure alcohol on at least one occasion in the past 30 days. An intake of 60 grams of pure alcohol is approximately equal to 6, The map shows heavy drinkers – those who had an episode of heavy drinking in the previous 30 days – as a share of total drinkers (i.e those who have drunk less than one alcohol drink in the last 12 months are excluded).
The comparison of this map with the previous maps makes clear that heavy drinking is not necessarily most common in the same countries where alcohol consumption is most common. Data on the prevalence of binge-drinking by age and gender in the UK can be found ; and trends in heavy and binge-drinking in the USA,
Global trends on alcohol abstinence show a mirror image of drinking prevalence data. This is shown in the charts as the share of adults who had not drunk in the prior year, and those who have never drunk alcohol. Here we see particularly high levels of alcohol abstinence across North Africa and the Middle East.
- In most countries in this region, more than 80 percent (often more than 90 percent) have never drunk alcohol.
- Data on the share who don’t drink alcohol by gender and age group in the UK is available,
- The chart shows alcohol consumption since 1890 in a number of countries.
- Across these high-income countries the annual average today lies between 5.6 liters in Japan and 10.4 liters in Austria.
A century ago some countries had much higher levels of alcohol consumption. In France in the 1920s the average was 22.1 liters of pure alcohol per person per year. This equals 184 one liter wine bottles per person per year. Note that in contrast to the modern statistics that are expressed in alcohol consumption per person older than 15 years, this includes children as well – the average alcohol consumption per adult was therefore even higher.
- This chart shows the change in consumption of alcoholic beverages.
- By default the data for Italy is shown – here the share of beer consumption increased and now makes up almost a quarter of alcohol consumption in Italy.
- With the change country feature it is possible to view the same data for other countries.
Sweden for example increased the share of wine consumption and therefore reduced the share of spirits. Long-run data on alcohol consumption from the United States gives us one perspective of drinking since 1850. In the chart we see the average consumption (in litres of ethanol) of different beverage types per person in the USA from 1850 through to 2013.
- Over this long time period we see that per capita drinking quantities have been relatively constant — typically averaging around 8 to 9 litres per year.
- Over the period 1920-1933, there was a ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States (known as the ‘National Alcohol Prohibition’).
Since the statistics here reflect reported sales and consumption statistics, they assume zero consumption of alcohol over this time. However, there is evidence that alcohol consumption continued through black market and illegal sales, particularly in the sales of spirits.
- It’s estimated that at the beginning of Prohibition alcohol consumption decreased to approximately 30 percent of pre-prohibition levels, but slowly increased to 60-70 percent by the end of the period.
- As we see, following prohibition, levels of alcohol consumption returned to the similar levels as in the pre-prohibition period.
The charts show global consumption of beer, first in terms of beer as a share of total alcohol consumption, and then the estimated average consumption per person. Both are measured in terms of pure alcohol/ethanol intake, rather than the total quantity of the beverage.
Beer contains around 5% of pure alcohol per volume so that one liter of beer contains 0.05 liters of pure alcohol. This means that 5 liters of pure alcohol equals 100 liters of beer. The charts show global consumption of wine, first in terms of wine as a share of total alcohol consumption, and then the estimated average consumption per person.
Both are measured in terms of pure alcohol/ethanol intake, rather than the total quantity of the beverage. Wine contains around 12% of pure alcohol per volume so that one liter of wine contains 0.12 liters of pure alcohol. The charts show global consumption of spirits, which are distilled alcoholic drinks including gin, rum, whisky, tequila and vodka.
- The first map shows this in terms of spirits as a share of total alcohol consumption.
- In many Asian countries spirits account for most of total alcohol consumption.
- In India it is over 90%.
- The second map shows the estimated average consumption per person.
- Both are measured in terms of pure alcohol/ethanol intake, rather than the total quantity of the beverage.
Does alcohol consumption increase as countries get richer? In the chart we see the relationship between average per capita alcohol consumption – in litres of pure alcohol per year – versus gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, across countries. When we look at national averages in this way there is not a distinct relationship between income and alcohol consumption.
- As shown by clusters of countries (for example, Middle Eastern countries with low alcohol intake but high GDP per capita), we tend to see strong cultural patterns which tend to alter the standard income-consumption relationship we may expect.
- However, when we looking at consumption data within given countries, we sometimes do see a clear income correlation.
Taking 2016 data in the UK as an example we see that people within higher income brackets tend to drink more frequently. This correlation is also likely to be influenced by other lifestyle determinants and habits; the UK ONS also report that when grouped by education status, those with a university tend to drink more in total and more frequently than those of lower education status.
- There are also differences when grouped by profession: individuals in managerial or professional positions tend to drink more frequently than those in intermediate or manual labour roles.
- However, we also find correlates in drinking patterns when we look at groupings of income, education or work status.
Although those in lower income or educational status groups often drink less overall, they are more likely to have lower-frequency, higher-intensity drinking patterns. Overall these groups drink less, but a higher percentage will drink heavily when they do.
- This interactive chart shows the average share of household expenditure that is spent on alcohol.
- Data on alcohol expenditure is typically limited to North America, Europe and Oceania.
- Alcohol is one of the world’s largest risk factors for premature death.
- The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in its Global Burden of Disease study provide estimates of the number of deaths attributed to the range of risk factors.
In the visualization we see the number of deaths per year attributed to each risk factor. This chart is shown for the global total, but can be explored for any country or region using the “change country” toggle. Alcohol consumption is a known for a number of health conditions and potential mortality cases.
Alcohol consumption has a causal impact on more than 200 health conditions (diseases and injuries). In the chart we see estimates of the alcohol-attributable fraction (AAF), which is the proportion of deaths which are caused or exacerbated by alcohol (i.e. that proportion which would disappear if alcohol consumption was removed).
Across most countries the proportion of deaths attributed to alcohol consumption ranges from 2 to 10 percent. However, across a range of countries this share is much higher; across some countries in Eastern Europe nearly one-quarter of deaths are attributed to alcohol consumption.
- Shown here is the rate of premature deaths caused by alcohol.
- Globally the rate has declined from 43 deaths per 100,000 people in the early 1990s to 35 deaths in 2017.
- The chart shows the age distribution of those dying premature deaths due to alcohol.
- Globally almost three quarters are younger than 70 years.28% are younger than 50 years.
It is possible to switch this data to any other country or region in the world.
- Alcohol use disorder (AUD) refers to drinking of alcohol that causes mental and physical health problems.
- Alcohol use disorder, which includes alcohol dependence, is defined the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases (available ).
- At the we provide a number of potential sources of support and guidance for those concerned about uncontrolled drinking or alcohol dependency.
- A definite diagnosis of dependence should usually be made only if three or more of the following have been present together at some time during the previous year:
- (a) a strong desire or sense of compulsion to take the substance;
- (b) difficulties in controlling substance-taking behaviour in terms of its onset, termination, or levels of use;
- (c) a physiological withdrawal state when substance use has ceased or been reduced, as evidenced by: the characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the substance; or use of the same (or a closely related) substance with the intention of relieving or avoiding withdrawal symptoms;
- (d) evidence of tolerance, such that increased doses of the psychoactive substance are required in order to achieve effects originally produced by lower doses (clear examples of this are found in alcohol- and opiate-dependent individuals who may take daily doses sufficient to incapacitate or kill nontolerant users);
- (e) progressive neglect of alternative pleasures or interests because of psychoactive substance use, increased amount of time necessary to obtain or take the substance or to recover from its effects;
- (f) persisting with substance use despite clear evidence of overtly harmful consequences, such as harm to the liver through excessive drinking, depressive mood states consequent to periods of heavy substance use, or drug-related impairment of cognitive functioning; efforts should be made to determine that the user was actually, or could be expected to be, aware of the nature and extent of the harm.
The charts shown below present global data on the prevalence, disease burden and mortality cost of alcohol use disorders. It’s estimated that globally around 1.4 percent of the population have an alcohol use disorder. At the country level, as shown in the chart, this ranges from around 0.5 to 5 percent of the population.
- In Russia, for example, the prevalence is 4.7 percent meaning that almost 1-in-20 have an alcohol dependence at any given time.
- When we look at the variance in prevalence we see that globally the prevalence is highest in those aged between 25 and 34 years old (for which around 2.5 percent of the population have an alcohol use disorder).
At the extreme of country-level figures, prevalence amongst Russians aged 30-34 years old is just under 10 percent. This means 1-in-10 Russians in this age group has an alcohol dependency. Globally, people are estimated to have an alcohol use disorder.
This breakdown can be viewed by gender for any country ; 70 percent globally (75 million) were male relative to 32 million females. The scatter plot compares the prevalence of alcohol use disorders in males versus that of females. In 2017 — with the exception of Ukraine — the prevalence of alcohol dependence in men was higher than in women across all countries.
Deaths from alcohol dependence can occur both directly or indirectly. Indirect deaths from alcohol use disorders can occur indirectly through suicide. In our entry on, we discuss the link between mental health and substance use disorders with suicide.
- Although clear attribution of suicide deaths is challenging, alcohol use disorders are a known and established risk factor.
- It’s estimated that the in an individual with alcohol dependence is around 10 times higher than an individual without.
- The chart shows direct death rates (not including suicide deaths) from alcohol use disorders across the world.
In 2019, Belarus had the highest death rate with around 21 people per 100,000 individuals dying from alcoholism. For most countries this rate ranges from 1 to 5 deaths per 100,000 individuals. It’s estimated that globally, around 168,000 people died directly from alcohol use disorders in 2019.
- The total estimated number of deaths by country from 1990 to 2019 are found,
- Global data on the prevalence and effectiveness of alcohol use disorder treatment is very incomplete.
- In the chart we see data across some countries on the share of people with an alcohol use disorder who received treatment.
This data is based on estimates of prevalence and treatment published by the World Health Organization (WHO). Do countries with higher average alcohol consumption have a higher prevalence of alcohol use disorders? In the chart we see prevalence of alcohol dependence versus the average per capita alcohol consumption.
Overall there is not a clear relationship between the two, although there may be a slight positive correlation, particularly when viewed by region (e.g. in Europe). There is not, however, clear evidence that high overall consumption (particularly in moderate quantities) is connected to the onset of alcohol dependency.
Measuring the health impact by mortality alone fails to capture the impact that alcohol use disorders have on an individual’s wellbeing. The ‘‘ – measured in Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) – is a considers not only mortality, but also years lived with disability or health burden.
- The map shows DALYs per 100,000 people which result from alcohol use disorders.
- DALY rates differentiated by age group can be found,
- Many of the risk factors for alcohol dependency are similar to those of overall substance use disorders (including illicit drug disorders).
- Further discussion on these risk factors can be found at our entry on,
In the chart we show results from a study conducted published by Swendsen et al. (2010). In this study the authors followed a cohort of more than 5000 individuals, with and without a disorder (but without a substance use disorder) over a 10-year period.
- Following the 10 year period they re-assessed such individuals for whether they had either a nicotine, alcohol or illicit drug dependency.
- The results in the chart show the increased risk of developing alcohol dependency (we show results for illicit drug dependency in our entry on ) for someone with a given mental health disorder (relative to those without).
For example, a value of 3.6 for bipolar disorder indicates that illicit drug dependency became more than three time more likely in individuals with bipolar disorder than those without. The risk of an alcohol use disorder is highest in individuals with intermittent explosive disorder, dysthymia, ODD, bipolar disorder and social phobia.
- The map shows the share of all road traffic deaths attributed to alcohol consumption over the national legal limit for alcohol consumption.
- In South Africa and Papua New Guinea more than half of all traffic deaths are attributable to alcohol consumption.
- In the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and many European countries alcohol is responsible for around a third of all traffic deaths.
- In the countries shown in light yellow over 90% of road deaths are not related to alcohol consumption.
Shown in this map is the share of all crimes which are considered to be alcohol-related. This includes two groups of criminal offenses:
- Offenses in which the alcohol consumption is part of the crime such as driving with excess alcohol, liquor license violations, and drunkenness offenses.
- Crimes in which the consumption of alcohol is thought to have played a role of some kind in the committing of the offense – including assault, criminal damage, and other public order offenses.
The differences between countries are large: in some countries – including Iran, Chile, and Scandinavian countries – the share is well below 5%. In the UK on the other hand it is over 50%. Whilst the World Health Organization (WHO) and most national guidelines typically quantify one unit of alcohol as equal to 10 grams of pure alcohol, the metric used as a ‘standard measure’ can vary across countries.
- Most countries across Europe use this 10 grams metric, however this can vary with several adopting 12 or 14 grams per unit.
- In North America, a unit is typically taken as 14 grams of pure alcohol.
- In Japan, this is as high as 20 grams per unit.
- World Health Organization. (1992).
- The ICD-10 classification of mental and behavioural disorders: clinical descriptions and diagnostic guidelines (Vol.1).
World Health Organization.
- Data : Prevalence of substance use disorders, trends in alcohol consumption
- Geographical coverage: Global by country
- Time span: Variable depending on datasets. Most inconsistent years post-2000
- Available at:
- Information : Guidance on the signs of alcoholism, unhealthy drinking behaviors, and support on where to go for help
- Geographical coverage: Universal guidance; support options for the United States
- Available at:
- Information : A social movement with the aim to reduce stigma around alcohol and to encourages people to consider their relationship with alcohol.
- Available at:
- Information : Test to assess your drinking patterns relative to the US population
- Geographical coverage: Global; assesses relative to US drinking patterns
- Available at:
- Information : An advisory and referral service for people who suffer from alcohol, drug, and behavioral addiction.
- Geographical coverage: Universal guidance; support options for the United Kingdom
- Available at:
- 74% of those who die are younger than 70 years.
- Alcohol.org has of the range of alcohol by volume of beer, wine, & liquor.
- 22.1 liters per person in France equals 22.1l / 0.12l = 184 bottles per year.
- Miron & Zwiebel (1991). Alcohol Consumption During Prohibition. The American Economic Review, Vol.81, No.2, pp.242-247, (May 1991). Available,
- Alcohol.org has of the range of alcohol by volume of beer, wine, & liquor.
- ONS (2018). Adult drinking habits in Great Britain. UK Office of National Statistics, Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/drugusealcoholandsmoking/datasets/adultdrinkinghabits.
- GBD 2017 Risk Factor Collaborators. “” (2018).
- Ferrari et al. (2015). The Burden Attributable to Mental and Substance Use Disorders as Risk Factors for Suicide: Findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. PLOS ONE, Available,
- Swendsen, J., Conway, K.P., Degenhardt, L., Glantz, M., Jin, R., Merikangas, K.R., & Kessler, R.C. (2010). Mental disorders as risk factors for substance use, abuse and dependence: results from the 10‐year follow‐up of the National Comorbidity Survey. Addiction, 105 (6), 1117-1128. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.02902.x
- Full data with confidence intervals and statistical significance can be found at our table,
Our articles and data visualizations rely on work from many different people and organizations. When citing this topic page, please also cite the underlying data sources. This topic page can be cited as: Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2018) – “Alcohol Consumption”.
Are alcohols classified?
Main Types of Alcohols – Alcohols are differentiated based upon the presence of the hydroxyl group attached. The location of this hydroxyl group as well will change the physical and chemical properties of any alcohol. There are three types of alcohol. Alcohols are classified as primary, secondary or tertiary alcohols. Types of Alcohols The classification is done in accordance with the carbon atom of an alkyl group is attached to the, Most of the alcohols are known to be colourless liquids or even are said to behave as solid at room temperatures. Alcohols with less molecular weight are said to be highly soluble in water; and with their increase in molecular weight, they tend to become less soluble and their vapour pressures, boiling points, densities, and the viscosities to increase.
Do some drugs contain alcohol?
We received a report from a woman whose child began having seizures while taking a shower. The family immediately called for help. Paramedics took the 11-year-old child to a nearby hospital to be examined. All scans and x-rays were negative. Doctors then ordered blood tests on the child.
- It was found that the child had an elevated blood alcohol level.
- This was most likely the cause of the child’s symptoms.
- Doctors asked the child’s mother if there was anything new or different that this normally healthy child was taking.
- It was then the child’s mother remembered giving the child SSS Tonic.
SSS Tonic is an over-the-counter high potency liquid iron/B vitamin supplement. This product contains 12 percent alcohol, which is equivalent to a 24 proof beverage. The child was only taking this supplement for a few days and was taking the correct, recommended daily dose.
The child in this case had no other problems once the supplement was stopped. Many dietary supplements and additional liquid medicines (*see at bottom of page) contain alcohol to help preserve the product. Typically, giving these products at the recommended doses is safe and not a cause for alarm. But, some children may not be able to tolerate these small amounts of alcohol that are in such products.
In younger children, ethanol causes low blood glucose (an important sugar for brain cell function) because it suppresses the normal body functions that convert a liver substance called glycogen, which in children is not stored in quantities as large as adults. Here’s what you can do: Carefully read the labels on all over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements. Look at both the active and inactive ingredients. Check to see if the product contains alcohol. Avoid giving medicines and dietary supplements that contain alcohol to children under the age of two.
- Never give more that the recommended dose unless instructed by your child’s doctor.
- Never give the next dose before it is time unless instructed by your child’s doctor.
- Avoid giving children more than one product that contains alcohol.
- Parents should always be aware of any changes in behavior or any type of reaction their child may have.
This is especially important when new medicines or dietary supplements are being used. Contact your child’s doctor or pharmacist with any concerns you may have. *A few of the other products that contain alcohol include certain formulations of Benadryl, Cheracol Plus, Dimetane, Donnatal, Geritol, Novahistine, Robitussin, Sominex, Triaminic, Tylenol and Vicks.
Is Coffee considered a drug?
Caffeine | betterhealth.vic.gov.au
Caffeine is a drug that stimulates (increases the activity of) your brain and nervous system.Caffeine is found in many drinks such as coffee, tea, soft drinks and energy drinks. Chocolate also contains caffeine.Energy drinks often have more caffeine and sugar than soft drinks.Pregnant women, athletes and children should limit their caffeine intake.
Caffeine is naturally found in the leaves and fruits of some plants. It is in coffee, black and green tea, cocoa, cola and energy drinks. It may also be in chocolate bars, energy bars and some non-prescription medications, such as cough syrup and slimming tablets.
- Guarana (a popular additive in energy drinks) is also a natural source of caffeine.
- Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it increases activity in your and,
- It also increases the circulation of chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline in the body.
- In small doses, caffeine can make you feel refreshed and focused.
In large doses, caffeine can make you feel and have difficulty, Like many other drugs, it’s possible to develop a tolerance to caffeine, which means you need bigger and bigger doses to achieve the same effect.
Is sugar considered a drug?
According to a 2008 study, “intermittent access to sugar can lead to behavior and neurochemical changes that resemble the effects of a substance of abuse,” Any substance that we use for pleasure can be an addiction—this includes sugar. Research shows that our brains are hardwired for pleasure, and sugar works much like many addictive drugs in that it affects the brain’s limbic system, the part of the brain that’s associated with emotional control.
What is considered a drug?
(drug) Any substance (other than food) that is used to prevent, diagnose, treat, or relieve symptoms of a disease or abnormal condition. Drugs can also affect how the brain and the rest of the body work and cause changes in mood, awareness, thoughts, feelings, or behavior.
What drugs are like alcohol?
4. Other Molecules That Work to Enhance GABA – Many other natural and synthetic molecules also interact with the GABA A R. Most well-known are those that enhance the effect of GABA—the so-called positive allosteric modulators or PAMs. These include synthetic molecules such as benzodiazepines (BZs) as well as endogenous molecules such as neurosteroids (see Section 5 below).
- By reducing brain activity, they can stop epileptic seizures and reduce anxiety.
- PAM molecules that enhance GABA A R function are found in the brain (e.g., neurosteroids) and elsewhere in nature, especially in plants and some fungi.
- Over the past century a range of synthetic compounds have also been developed and subsequently discovered to share this potentiating action.
These include the benzodiazepines, e.g., Valium and Z-drugs that are used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and epileptic seizures. Low doses of some of these have been shown in human studies to have effects that are indistinguishable from low doses of alcohol, suggesting they might be alternatives to alcohol,
On the other hand, there are molecules that reduce the effects of GABA (the so-called negative allosteric modulators or NAMs), and these shift the balance between brain inhibition and excitation in favour of the latter, leading to seizures and anxiety. Finally, an important point is that for some of the benzodiazepine PAMs there is a class of molecules that block (antagonise) their positive effect on GABA, e.g., flumazenil.
These are clinically available and can very quickly and effectively reverse the sedative actions of these PAMs, e.g., when used for sedation in surgery.
Why alcohol is wrong?
Long-Term Health Risks – Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including:
- High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems.6,16
- of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum.6,17
- Weakening of the immune system, increasing the chances of getting sick.6,16
- Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance.6,18
- Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.6,19
- Social problems, including family problems, job-related problems, and unemployment.6,20,21
- Alcohol use disorders, or alcohol dependence.5
By not drinking too much, you can reduce the risk of these short- and long-term health risks.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention., Accessed April 19, 2022.
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- Leonard KE, Rothbard JC., J Stud Alcohol Suppl 1999;13:139–146.
Why is it so hard to get drunk?
How much is too much? – Because getting drunk is a subjective experience, there are no universal rules about what constitutes too much. There’s no international consensus on what constitutes low-risk drinking. In any case, guidelines only limit the impact of alcohol’s negative effects, so they are not a useful tool to consider how drinking might make you feel.
- Your experience of drinking too much may change, even day by day.
- All sorts of factors will affect your experience of being intoxicated: your drinking environment, your weight, your body fat distribution, your health, your mood, whether you’re alone or with friends, whether you’ve eaten, how fast you drink, and even whether you expect to get drunk.
Ethanol has the same effect on our body however it’s delivered. But we do respond to different types of drinks in different ways. So your experience of drinking too much may change, even day by day. Recent research led by Dr Emma Davies of Oxford Brookes University explored the drinking habits of over 60,000 people around the world,
- Feel the effects of alcohol
- Be as drunk as they would like to be
- Reach a tipping point, where they began to feel more drunk than they would want to be.
Grams and units of alcohol are complicated to envisage, so let’s translate them into wine. On average, in the data they looked at, the researchers found:
- Most people drink about a large glass and a half of wine before they feel the effects of alcohol
- They approach a bottle of wine to feel as drunk as they want to be
- And they only reach a tipping point at about a bottle and a half.
Within this data, there are a couple of really striking issues. Firstly, the average amount that people drink to be as drunk as they want to be is 50% higher than the UK guidance on binge drinking. So to get as drunk as we want to be, we drink a lot more than is good for us.
Why do people like to get drunk?
Abstract – People typically drink alcohol to induce euphoria or reduce anxiety, and they frequently drink in social settings, yet the effect of alcohol on human brain circuits involved in reward and emotion has been explored only sparingly. We administered alcohol intravenously to social drinkers while brain response to visual threatening and nonthreatening facial stimuli was measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
Alcohol robustly activated striatal reward circuits while attenuating response to fearful stimuli in visual and limbic regions. Self-ratings of intoxication correlated with striatal activation, suggesting that activation in this area may contribute to subjective experience of pleasure and reward during intoxication.
These results show that the acute pharmacological rewarding and anxiolytic effects of alcohol can be measured with fMRI. Keywords: striatum, nucleus accumbens, alcohol, addiction, reward, amygdala
Why do I feel so happy when drunk?
The human brain uses a number of chemicals – known as neurotransmitters – to carry messages. One of the most important of these is dopamine, which is often thought of as a ‘happy hormone’. When we start drinking alcohol, our bodies produce extra dopamine, which travels to the parts of the brain known as ‘reward centres’ – the bits that make us feel good and make us want to do more of whatever we’re doing,
- So, our first couple of drinks are likely to make us feel good.
- They’re also likely to make us want more to drink.
- However, if we continue drinking, the dopamine high will eventually be pushed aside by the less pleasant effects of alcohol: confusion, clumsiness, nausea and dehydration.
- Alcohol is sometimes described as a ‘disinhibitor’ – it makes us less cautious and more inclined to do things we would normally be shy or hesitant about.
Sometimes, we might be quite glad of that. Sometimes it can lead us to do things that may be a bit annoying but not particularly problematic, like singing loudly or talking too much. Other times, the consequences can be more serious – for example if we say something hurtful we regret later on, or try to drive ourselves home.
- Alcohol is also a depressant and slows down the parts of the brain where we make decisions and consider consequences, making us less likely to think about what might happen if we do something.
- Although alcohol is often described as a ‘depressant’, that’s not quite the same as saying it will make you depressed.
In small doses, alcohol can make you feel quite cheerful for a short while. What alcohol does, though, is depress the body’s central nervous system – the system that lets our brain tell our body what to do. That means that alcohol makes us less co-ordinated, more accident-prone, and less aware of danger.
However, alcohol can make us feel depressed too. The hangover after a heavy drinking session can be a thoroughly miserable experience. A combination of dehydration, low blood sugar, and various by-products of alcohol can leave us struggling to move or think. In the longer-term, the body becomes used to the dopamine boosts it’s getting from alcohol, and starts making less dopamine to compensate.
That means that if drinking becomes a habit, we may become dopamine-deficient and this could contribute to us experiencing low mood. Alcohol has been described as a ‘favourite coping mechanism’ in the UK and is commonly used to try and manage stress and anxiety, particularly in social situations, giving us what’s sometimes called ‘Dutch courage’,
Since alcohol can increase the body’s production of dopamine and serotonin, two of the body’s ‘happy hormones’, it can temporarily make us feel less anxious. Long term drinking, however, can lower levels of both these hormones as well as lowering blood sugar and increasing dehydration, leading to worse anxiety.
There is also a risk of becoming reliant on alcohol to manage anxiety, leading to other physical and mental health problems. If you are feeling anxious, low or experiencing any other symptoms of mental health problems, or you think that you are drinking too much, you deserve support.
Is alcohol good for anxiety?
How alcohol affects anxiety – Alcohol is a depressant. It slows down processes in your brain and central nervous system, and can initially make you feel less inhibited.10,11 In the short-term, you might feel more relaxed – but these effects wear off quickly.
What European countries drink the most?
Which country drinks the most in Europe? – In 2019, the top 10 European countries with the highest alcohol consumption per capita were Czechia (14.3 litres), Latvia (13.2), Moldova (12.9), Germany (12.8), Lithuania (12.8), Ireland (12.7), Spain (12.7), Bulgaria (12.5), Luxembourg (12.4), and Romania (12.3).
The top 10 countries that consume the least alcohol across the WHO European Region are Tajikistan (0.9 litres), Azerbaijan (1.0), Turkey (1.8), Uzbekistan (2.6), Turkmenistan (3.1), Israel (4.4), Armenia (4.7), Kazakhstan (5.0), Albania (6.8), and North Macedonia (6.4). It’s worth noting that most countries in this list, except for North Macedonia, Armenia and Israel, have Muslim-majority populations, for whom the consumption of alcohol is prohibited and condemned.
By contrast, within the EU, not a single country has an annual per capita consumption of fewer than five litres of pure alcohol, in fact, only five countries are below an annual per capita consumption of 10 litres: Italy (8.0), Malta (8.3 litres), Croatia (8.7), Sweden (9.0) and the Netherlands (9.7).
Which European country has the most alcoholics?
Top 10 Countries with the Highest Rates of Alcohol Use Disorder/Alcoholism (both genders): –
- Hungary – 21.2%
- Russia – 20.9%
- Belarus – 18.8%
- Latvia – 15.5%
- South Korea – 13.9% (tie)
- Slovenia – 13.9% (tie)
- United States – 13.9% (tie)
- Poland – 12.8%
- Estonia – 12.2% (tie)
- Slovakia – 12.2% (tie)
Hungary has the highest prevalence of alcohol use disorders overall, with 21.2% of the total population afflicted. However, the per-gender numbers are even more informative, with 36.9% of men and 7.2% of females. This illustrates a common trend: Males tend to exceed females in both alcoholism and overall alcohol consumption by a wide margin.
Is drinking OK sometimes?
Pros and cons of moderate alcohol use – Moderate alcohol consumption may provide some health benefits, such as:
- Reducing your risk of developing and dying of heart disease
- Possibly reducing your risk of ischemic stroke (when the arteries to your brain become narrowed or blocked, causing severely reduced blood flow)
- Possibly reducing your risk of diabetes
However, eating a healthy diet and being physically active have much greater health benefits and have been more extensively studied. Keep in mind that even moderate alcohol use isn’t risk-free. For example, even light drinkers (those who have no more than one drink a day) have a tiny, but real, increased risk of some cancers, such as esophageal cancer.
Do people ever stop drinking?
What Is Alcoholism? Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence, is a disease that includes the following four symptoms:
Craving — A strong need, or urge, to drink. Loss of control — Not being able to stop drinking once drinking has begun. Physical dependence — Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness and anxiety after stopping drinking. Tolerance — The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to get “high.”
For clinical and research purposes, formal diagnostic criteria for alcoholism also have been developed. Such criteria are included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association, as well as in the International Classification Diseases, published by the World Health Organization.
Is Alcoholism a Disease? Yes, alcoholism is a disease. The craving that an alcoholic feels for alcohol can be as strong as the need for food or water. An alcoholic will continue to drink despite serious family, health or legal problems. Like many other diseases, alcoholism is chronic, meaning that it lasts a person’s lifetime; it usually follows a predictable course; and it has symptoms.
The risk for developing alcoholism is influenced both by a person’s genes and by his or her lifestyle. Is Alcoholism Inherited? Research shows that the risk for developing alcoholism does indeed run in families. The genes a person inherits partially explain this pattern, but lifestyle also is a factor.
Currently, researchers are working to discover the actual genes that put people at risk for alcoholism. Your friends, the amount of stress in your life and how readily available alcohol is also are factors that may increase your risk for alcoholism. But remember: Risk is not destiny. Just because alcoholism tends to run in families doesn’t mean that a child of an alcoholic parent will automatically become an alcoholic, too.
Some people develop alcoholism even though no one in their family has a drinking problem. By the same token, not all children of alcoholic families get into trouble with alcohol. Knowing you are at risk is important, though, because then you can take steps to protect yourself from developing problems with alcohol.
Can Alcoholism Be Cured? No, alcoholism cannot be cured at this time. Even if an alcoholic hasn’t been drinking for a long time, he or she can still suffer a relapse. Not drinking is the safest course for most people with alcoholism. Can Alcoholism Be Treated? Yes, alcoholism can be treated. Alcoholism treatment programs use both counseling and medications to help a person stop drinking.
Treatment has helped many people stop drinking and rebuild their lives. Which Medications Treat Alcoholism? Three oral medications — disulfiram (Antabuse®), naltrexone (Depade®, ReVia®) and acamprosate (Campral®) — are currently approved to treat alcohol dependence.
- In addition, an injectable, long-acting form of naltrexone (Vivitrol®) is available.
- These medications have been shown to help people with dependence reduce their drinking, avoid relapse to heavy drinking, and achieve and maintain abstinence.
- Naltrexone acts in the brain to reduce craving for alcohol after someone has stopped drinking.
Acamprosate is thought to work by reducing symptoms that follow lengthy abstinence, such as anxiety and insomnia. Disulfiram discourages drinking by making the person taking it feel sick after drinking alcohol. Other types of drugs are available to help manage symptoms of withdrawal (such as shakiness, nausea and sweating) if they occur after someone with alcohol dependence stops drinking.
Although medications are available to help treat alcoholism, there is no “magic bullet.” In other words, no single medication is available that works in every case and/or in every person. Developing new and more effective medications to treat alcoholism remains a high priority for researchers. Does Alcoholism Treatment Work? Alcoholism treatment works for many people.
But like other chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma, there are varying levels of success when it comes to treatment. Some people stop drinking and remain sober. Others have long periods of sobriety with bouts of relapse. And still others cannot stop drinking for any length of time.
With treatment, one thing is clear, however: the longer a person abstains from alcohol, the more likely he or she will be able to stay sober. Do You Have to Be an Alcoholic to Experience Problems? No. Alcoholism is only one type of an alcohol problem. Alcohol abuse can be just as harmful. A person can abuse alcohol without actually being an alcoholic — that is, he or she may drink too much and too often but still not be dependent on alcohol.
Some of the problems linked to alcohol abuse include not being able to meet work, school or family responsibilities; drunk-driving arrests and car crashes; and drinking-related medical conditions. Under some circumstances, even social or moderate drinking is dangerous — for example, when driving, during pregnancy or when taking certain medications.
- Are Specific Groups of People More Likely to Have Problems? Alcohol abuse and alcoholism cut across gender, race and nationality.
- In the United States, 17.6 million people — about one in every 12 adults — abuse alcohol or are alcohol dependent.
- In general, more men than women are alcohol dependent or have alcohol problems.
And alcohol problems are highest among young adults ages 18 to 29 and lowest among adults ages 65 and older. We also know that people who start drinking at an early age — for example, at age 14 or younger — are at much higher risk of developing alcohol problems at some point in their lives compared to someone who starts drinking at age 21 or after.
Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking? Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking? Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking? Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?
One “yes” answer suggests a possible alcohol problem. More than one “yes” answers mean it is highly likely that a problem exists. If you think that you or someone you know might have an alcohol problem, it is important to see a doctor or other health care provider right away.
- They can help you determine if a drinking problem exists and plan the best course of action.
- Can a Problem Drinker Simply Cut Down? It depends.
- If that person has been diagnosed as an alcoholic, the answer is “no.” Alcoholics who try to cut down on drinking rarely succeed.
- Cutting out alcohol — that is, abstaining — is usually the best course for recovery.
People who are not alcohol dependent but who have experienced alcohol-related problems may be able to limit the amount they drink. If they can’t stay within those limits, they need to stop drinking altogether. If an Alcoholic Is Unwilling to Get Help, What Can You Do About It? This can be a challenge.
Stop all “cover ups.” Family members often make excuses to others or try to protect the alcoholic from the results of his or her drinking. It is important to stop covering for the alcoholic so that he or she experiences the full consequences of drinking. Time your intervention. The best time to talk to the drinker is shortly after an alcohol-related problem has occurred — like a serious family argument or an accident. Choose a time when he or she is sober, both of you are fairly calm and you have a chance to talk in private. Be specific. Tell the family member that you are worried about his or her drinking. Use examples of the ways in which the drinking has caused problems, including the most recent incident. State the results. Explain to the drinker what you will do if he or she doesn’t go for help — not to punish the drinker, but to protect yourself from his or her problems. What you say may range from refusing to go with the person to any social activity where alcohol will be served to moving out of the house. Do not make any threats you are not prepared to carry out. Get help. Gather information in advance about treatment options in your community. If the person is willing to get help, call immediately for an appointment with a treatment counselor. Offer to go with the family member on the first visit to a treatment program and/or an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Call on a friend. If the family member still refuses to get help, ask a friend to talk with him or her using the steps just described. A friend who is a recovering alcoholic may be particularly persuasive, but any person who is caring and nonjudgmental may help. The intervention of more than one person, more than one time, is often necessary to coax an alcoholic to seek help. Find strength in numbers. With the help of a health care professional, some families join with other relatives and friends to confront an alcoholic as a group. This approach should only be tried under the guidance of a health care professional who is experienced in this kind of group intervention. Get support. It is important to remember that you are not alone. Support groups offered in most communities include Al-Anon, which holds regular meetings for spouses and other significant adults in an alcoholic’s life, and Alateen, which is geared to children of alcoholics. These groups help family members understand that they are not responsible for an alcoholic’s drinking and that they need to take steps to take care of themselves, regardless of whether the alcoholic family member chooses to get help.
You can call the National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment) at 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357) for information about treatment programs in your local community and to speak to someone about an alcohol problem.
Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant People who plan to drive or engage in other activities that require alertness and skill (such as driving a car) People taking certain over-the-counter or prescription medications People with medical conditions that can be made worse by drinking Recovering alcoholics People younger than age 21
Is It Safe to Drink During Pregnancy? No, alcohol can harm the baby of a mother who drinks during pregnancy. Although the highest risk is to babies whose mothers drink heavily, it is not clear yet whether there is any completely safe level of alcohol during pregnancy.
- For this reason, the U.S.
- Surgeon General released advisories in 1981 and again in 2005 urging women who are pregnant or may become pregnant to abstain from alcohol.
- The damage caused by prenatal alcohol includes a range of physical, behavioral and learning problems in babies.
- Babies most severely affected have what is called fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
These babies may have abnormal facial features and severe learning disabilities. Babies also can be born with mild disabilities without the facial changes typical of FAS. Does Alcohol Affect Older People Differently? Alcohol’s effects do vary with age.
Slower reaction times, problems with hearing and seeing and a lower tolerance to alcohol’s effects put older people at higher risk for falls, car crashes and other types of injuries that may result from drinking. Older people also tend to take more medicines than younger people. Mixing alcohol with over-the-counter or prescription medications can be very dangerous, even fatal.
In addition, alcohol can make many of the medical conditions common in older people, including high blood pressure and ulcers, more serious. Physical changes associated with aging can make older people feel “high” even after drinking only small amounts of alcohol.
- So even if there is no medical reason to avoid alcohol, older men and women should limit themselves to one drink per day.
- Does Alcohol Affect Women Differently? Yes, alcohol affects women differently than men.
- Women become more impaired than men do after drinking the same amount of alcohol, even when differences in body weight are taken into account.
This is because women’s bodies have less water than men’s bodies. Because alcohol mixes with body water, a given amount of alcohol becomes more highly concentrated in a woman’s body than in a man’s. In other words, it would be like dropping the same amount of alcohol into a much smaller pail of water.
That is why the recommended drinking limit for women is lower than for men. In addition, chronic alcohol abuse takes a heavier physical toll on women than on men. Alcohol dependence and related medical problems, such as brain, heart and liver damage, progress more rapidly in women than in men. Is Alcohol Good for Your Heart? Studies have shown that moderate drinkers are less likely to die from one form of heart disease than are people who do not drink any alcohol or who drink more.
If you are a nondrinker, however, you should not start drinking solely to benefit your heart. You can guard against heart disease by exercising and eating foods that are low in fat. And if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, have been diagnosed as alcoholic or have another medical condition that could make alcohol use harmful, you should not drink.
If you can safely drink alcohol and you choose to drink, do so in moderation. Heavy drinking can actually increase the risk of heart failure, stroke and high blood pressure, as well as cause many other medical problems, such as liver cirrhosis. When Taking Medications, Must You Stop Drinking? Possibly.
More than 150 medications interact harmfully with alcohol. These interactions may result in increased risk of illness, injury and even death. Alcohol’s effects are heightened by medicines that depress the central nervous system, such as sleeping pills, antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs and some painkillers.
In addition, medicines for certain disorders, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, can have harmful interactions with alcohol. If you are taking any over-the-counter or prescription medications, ask your doctor or pharmacist if you can safely drink alcohol. How Can a Person Get Help for an Alcohol Problem? There are many national and local resources that can help.
The National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service provides a toll-free telephone number, 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357), offering various resource information. Through this service you can speak directly to a representative concerning substance abuse treatment, request printed material on alcohol or other drugs, or obtain local substance abuse treatment referral information in your state.
JAMA Patient Page: Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Alcoholism: Getting the Facts Family History of Alcoholism: Are You at Risk?
Does drinking affect your life?
The long-term effects of alcohol – Historically it has been believed that consuming on average more than two standard drinks a day is what can cause many long-term health problems and other harms. Nowadays, current research states that any level of alcohol consumption can pose an increased risk of chronic disease development.
road and other accidents domestic and public violence crime family breakdown social dysfunction cardiovascular disease, including of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus,, colorectum and nutrition-related conditions, such as folate deficiency and malnutrition overweight and obesity risks to unborn babies mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, and interference with antidepressant alcohol tolerance and alcohol dependence or addiction long-term cognitive impairment self-harm (suicide).
The WHO reports that in 2016, 5.3 per cent of all deaths globally were caused by alcohol consumption. Worldwide, more men die as a result of alcohol consumption than women. In the long term, alcohol consumption can affect all aspects of a person’s life: their physical and mental health, work, finances and relationships.