Alcohol is a drug, legal or not. It has serious side effects,....
Appearance and use
Alcohol comes in all kinds of forms. From the hard stuff - spirits like whisky and vodka - to the Alco pops and mixers that seem innocent but actually contain more alcohol by volume than beer or cider.
From own brand lagers to rare single malts, you can pay as much or as little as you like for Britain's favourite drug.
Because it's legal and sold only in licensed premises, most alcohol is unadulterated by anything very nasty. It's more likely that someone will try to put something in your drink like Rohypnol or GHB.
* Like most drugs, alcohol will exaggerate whatever mood you're in when you start drinking. So if you're on a bit of a downer when you hit the pub, you might just stay that way.
* Alcohol is a relaxant so in moderation it can reduce feelings of anxiety, reduce inhibitions and make you feel more sociable.
* It takes your body an hour to process one unit of alcohol. So it doesn't take a genius to work out that if you're downing them like there's no tomorrow, your body won't be able to cope. And you'll end up plastered.
* One too many can strip you of your dignity. Slurring your words, loss of balance and vomiting are just some of the effects that you may want to avoid. Especially if you're trying to impress.
* Time is the only thing that will help you process alcohol. Even a bathful of black coffee isn't going to sober you up if you've overdone it.
* Official guidelines recommend no more than 3-4 units a day for adult men, 2-3 for adult women. One unit is half a pint of beer, lager or cider. One small glass of table wine. Or a 25ml measure of spirits.
Chances of getting hooked
If you drink sensibly that's OK, but for some people it can soon get out of control. Alcoholism is a big problem for some.
* Dependence on alcohol can creep up on you. Tolerance increases with use so if you drink on a regular basis, over time you'll need more and more alcohol to reach the same state.
* It can make you mouthy, argumentative and aggressive. So if you discover you're a nasty drunk you'd be wise to rein it. Especially if you want to keep your mates.
* Alcohol is blamed for all kinds of problems in Britain from violent crime to domestic violence and car related deaths.
* Serious overindulgence can lead to alcohol poisoning which could put you in a coma or even kill you.
* Long-term use of alcohol has been linked with illnesses like liver damage, stomach cancer and heart disease.
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