People drink to socialize, celebrate, and relax. Alcohol often has a strong effect on people – and throughout history, we’ve struggled to understand and manage alcohol’s power. Why does alcohol cause us to act and feel differently? How much is too much? Why do some people become addicted while others do not?
What we know:
Alcohol’s effects vary from person to person, depending on a variety of factors, including:
While drinking alcohol is itself not necessarily a problem – drinking too much can cause a range of consequences, and increase your risk for a variety of problems.
Alcohol enters your bloodstream as soon as you take your first sip. Alcohol’s immediate effects can appear within about 10 minutes. As you drink, you increase your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, which is the amount of alcohol present in your bloodstream. The higher your BAC, the more impaired you become by alcohol’s effects. These effects can include:
Other risks of drinking can include:
People who drink too much over a long period of time may experience alcohol’s longer-term effects, which can include: