People drink alcohol for lots of different reasons. Whether as part of a celebration, to relax with friends, to accompany a meal or on a night out, alcohol is enjoyed by many. In moderation this is not a problem and alcohol can be enjoyed responsibly.
It is important to know the facts:
- alcohol is a depressant drug which means it
depresses your central nervous system
- alcoholic drinks often contain large numbers
of calories (250ml wine = 200 calories)
- alcohol is broken down by the liver
- it takes the liver one hour to process each
unit of alcohol
- alcohol dehydrates the body.
If you drink alcohol, you are likely to experience some of the following effects:
(e.g. feeling happy)
Sociable / chatty
Slurred speech, drowsiness
There are a number of factors that determine how our bodies react to alcohol. These include:
- your size - generally the smaller you are the greater the effect of the alcohol
- food - if you have food in your stomach absorption will be slower
- medication - some medications can heighten the effects of alcohol
- underlying liver condition - may interfere with how well alcohol is processed
- gender - men have a higher water : fat ratio and are therefore better able to dilute alcohol than women and men also have bigger and more efficient livers which aids alcohol breakdown.
Excessive alcohol use can have negative effects on all aspects of health and wellbeing. From physical and mental health issues to relationship difficulties and problems at work or school/college.
In Scotland, alcohol is responsible for a considerable number of deaths, disease and injuries. Alcohol-related harm is not limited to drinkers but also affects families, bystanders and the wider community.
Excessive alcohol use over a sustained period of time can result in alcohol dependency. Dependent drinkers will often experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and may have difficulty coping with day to day living.
Drinking alcohol is a freedom that many enjoy, however this must be balanced with the need to reduce harm and protect health and wellbeing.