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Alcohol

Drinks like beer, malt liquor, wine, and hard liquor contain alcohol. Alcohol is the ingredient that gets you drunk.

Hard liquor—such as whiskey, rum, or gin—has more alcohol in it than beer, malt liquor, or wine.

These drink sizes have about the same amount of alcohol in them:

  • 1% ounces of hard liquor
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 8-9 ounces of malt liquor
  • 12 ounces of regular beer

Being drunk can make a person feel very silly, angry, or sad for no reason. It can make it hard to walk in a straight line, talk clearly, or drive.
Some slang names for alcohol are:

  • Booze
  • Juice
  • Hooch
  • Sauce
  • Rotgut

Signs of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

People drunk on alcohol often:

  • laugh and talk loudly
  • feel dizzy
  • have blurry vision
  • have trouble staying on their feet and sway when they walk
  • slur words when they talk
  • feel sleepy and relaxed
  • pass out
  • throw up
  • get violent

Getting drunk can lead you to do or say things that you regret later on. It also makes you more likely to have an accident and get hurt. After drinking a lot, people get a headache and feel sick. This is called a hangover.

People who are addicted to alcohol start having to drink more and more to get drunk. They might have a drink in the morning to calm down or stop a hangover. They might drink alone, and they might keep it a secret. ​They might forget things that happened when they were drunk. This is called a blackout.

People who are trying to quit drinking might:

  • feel nervous and sad
  • shake
  • sweat
  • have trouble sleeping

They will feel a very strong need to drink alcohol.

Effects of Alcohol on Brains and Bodies

These are just some of the problems alcohol can cause:

Alcohol Poisoning

You can die from drinking a lot of alcohol at one time.

Diseases

Heavy drinking over the years can raise your risk for stroke (brain injury from a blood clot), cancer, liver disease, and other illnesses. People can forget to use condoms when they’re drunk, have unsafe sex, and get HIV/AIDS or hepatitis (a liver disease).

Hurts the Baby

If a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, it can cause brain damage, which can lead to other health problems in the baby.

You Can Get Hurt or Killed

Being drunk makes you more likely to get hurt or killed. Alcohol is involved in:

  • 60 percent of drownings, murders, and deadly burns
  • 50 percent of severe injuries and sexual attacks
  • 40 percent of deadly driving crashes, deadly falls, and suicides

Brain Damage

Long-term alcohol abuse can permanently hurt your brain cells. This can make it hard to walk, remember, or learn new things.

Addiction

You can get addicted to alcohol just like other drugs. Fortunately, there are medicines and other treatments that can help someone recover from alcohol addiction.

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