Alcohol is a depressant that is absorbed into the bloodstream and transmitted to all systems in the body. Even light to moderate doses reduce physical coordination and mental alertness, making activities such as sports and driving dangerous. Moderate doses of alcohol cause staggering, slurred speech, double vision, mood swings and unconsciousness. Persistent impotence and loss of libido as well as hepatitis, esophagitis and pancreatitis may occur with heavy alcohol use. Long-term alcohol use increases the risk of liver disease, heart disease, peptic ulcers, certain types of cancer, complicated pregnancies, birth defects, and brain damage. Heavy or binge drinking may even result in respiratory depression and death.
Alcohol use can also cause mood changes and loss of inhibitions as well as violent or self-destructive behavior. Alcohol may produce a strong psychological dependence and can create a physiological addiction that is dangerous. Alcohol is a contributing factor in many accidents and tragedies.
Last Modified: March 25, 2010