Alcohol is a commonly used beverage. People drink alcohol for a range of reasons – including relaxation and celebration. Alcohol can be enjoyed in sensible quantities. However, alcohol is a mind-altering substance and has a number of potentially harmful effects. Alcohol can:
- slow down the activity of the brain and the central nervous system, impairing speech, movement, mood and judgement;
- increase the risk of accidents, drink driving, injury as a pedestrian, unsafe sex, physical and sexual assault, self-harm and overdose;
- cause drowsiness, loss of balance, nausea and vomiting.
The likelihood and severity of these harmful effects will increase with the amount of alcohol consumed.
Regular excessive drinking can:
- jeopardise people’s jobs and relationships, and cause legal or financial difficulties;
- cause serious health conditions – including cancer, heart and circulation problems, impotence and liver disease.
Importantly, heavy drinking can affect brain development in young people.