Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. This means that it slows down the brain and the nervous system.
What are units?
Alcohol is referred to in units. Government recommendations advise that people should not regularly drink more than the daily unit guidelines of 3-4 units of alcohol for men (equivalent to a pint and a half of 4% beer) and 2-3 units of alcohol for women (equivalent to a 175 ml glass of wine). Regularly drinking more than this has an array of health risks attached.
The liver can only break down 1 unit of alcohol an hour. This means that alcohol levels in the bloodstream can remain high for a number of hours after a heavy drinking session.
Alcohol consumption lowers inhibitions, this can mean that individuals can lose control over their behaviours and increase the chances of individuals undertaking or displaying risk taking behaviours.
Regular excessive drinking over sustained periods can be harmful and can increase the chances of individuals suffering from liver disease and some cancers.
High doses of alcohol can impair speech, coordination and memory. In some circumstances people can lose consciousness.
Regular sustained use can cause physical dependence. For individuals that have become dependant upon alcohol sudden withdrawal can be fatal so it is important that medical advice is sought.