Alcohol: what is it and what happens when it is used?


What is Alcohol?

Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is an intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor. Alcohol is produced by the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches. It is a central nervous system depressant that is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. A standard drink equals 0.6 ounces of pure ethanol, or 12 ounces of beer; 8 ounces of malt liquor; 5 ounces of wine; or 1.5 ounces (a “shot”) of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey).

Alcohol affects every organ in the drinker’s body and can damage a developing fetus. Intoxication can impair brain function and motor skills; heavy use can increase risk of certain cancers, stroke, and liver disease. Alcoholism or alcohol dependence is a diagnosable disease characterized by a strong craving for alcohol, and/or continued use despite harm or personal injury. Alcohol abuse, which can lead to alcoholism, is a pattern of drinking that results in harm to one’s health, interpersonal relationships, or ability to work.

How is Alcohol used?

How widespread is Alcoholism or Alcohol addiction?

Why would anyone become addicted to Alcohol?

What are the physical effects of Alcohol addiction?

What are the health effects of Alcohol addiction?

What are the differences between Alcohol types?

Is Alcoholism or Alcohol addiction serious?

Are there any other problems that can occur from Alcoholism or Alcohol addiction?

What have you behaviors have you seen associated with a loved one’s Alcohol use?

What has been helpful in overcoming a loved one’s dependence upon Alcohol use?