Alcohol misuse is a major public health problem, placing a heavy burden on society, and affecting a large number of individuals of all ages.
Contrary to what many people believe, alcohol is not a stimulant. It is a depressant. This is why drinking too much often leads to impaired judgement, slurring of the speech, a tendency to violent behaviour and loss of short-term memory.
As alcohol also irritates the stomach, heavy drinking can cause sickness and nausea, and sometimes diarrhoea. Alcohol also has a dehydrating effect, which is the main reason why excessive drinking can lead to a hangover. It can also lead to temporary impotence in men.
When you drink alcohol, several things happen. After one or two drinks you may feel more at ease and more talkative - this happens as the alcohol gets into the brain and affects your cognition or thinking.
Physically, your heart rate can speed up and you may feel a warm glow. This is caused by alcohol in the blood making small blood vessels in the skin expand, allowing more blood to flow closer to the surface and lowering blood pressure at the same time.
Alcohol affects us in a wide variety of ways. If you want any more detail, be sure to visit www.drinkaware.co.uk, where individuals health issues are examined in more detail.