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Anyone who drinks alcohol has the potential to become That Guy, because anyone who drinks also risks drinking too much.

From the embarrassing and shameful to the dangerous and destructive, nobody wants to deal with or be That Guy that everyone is talking about the next day.

What is Alcohol?

Alcohol is a drug. More specifically, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and the intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor.

How does alcohol affect you?

When you have a drink, alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream from your stomach and enters tissues in your body.

In general, it takes the average drinker about one hour to metabolize one drink. When you drink more than that, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) rises, and you start to feel the effects of intoxication.

Not everyone metabolizes alcohol at the same rate; here are some factors to take in to consideration:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Physical condition (weight, fitness level, etc.)
  • Amount of food consumed before drinking
  • How quickly the alcohol was consumed
  • Use of drugs or prescription medicines
  • Family history of alcohol problems

What is binge drinking?

Binge drinking means drinking so much within about 2 hours that blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels reach 0.08g/dL. For women, this usually occurs after about 4 drinks, and for men, after about 5. Most people who binge drink are not dependent on alcohol.

Did you know? Did you know?
Red solo cup

12 oz

equivalent to a
beer bottle

5 oz

equivalent to a
glass of wine

1 oz

equivalent to a
small shot

Why Size

Line drawing of drink glasses

It’s true that beer, wine, and liquor have different concentrations of alcohol, but when consumed in their standard size servings (12 oz. beer, 5 oz. wine and 1.5 oz. liquor), each drink will have the same effects and amount of alcohol.

Drunk guy at table with drinks on it
  • 5 fl oz wine
  • 12% alcohol
  • 1.5 fl oz hard liquor
  • 40% alcohol
  • 8 fl oz malt liquor
  • 7% alcohol
  • (shown in 12oz glass)
  • 12 fl oz beer
  • 5% alcohol

The Effects of Alcohol

Short-Term Effects

Alcohol can have significant short-term effects. Many of these can seriously impair physical and mental abilities and cause other problems:

  • Lowered inhibition; increase in risky behavior
  • Dizziness
  • Talkativeness
  • Slowed reaction times and reflexes
  • Poor motor coordination
  • Slowed heart rate; reduced blood pressure
  • Slowed breathing rate
  • Heavy sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Bad breath/hangovers
  • Altered perceptions and emotions
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Less ability to reason; impaired judgment
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion, anxiety, restlessness
  • Drunk Dialing
  • Stupid Tattoos
  • Becoming That Guy

Alcohol Poisoning:

One of the most dangerous short-term consequences of binge or excessive drinking is alcohol poisoning, which can lead to permanent brain damage or even death.

Excessive drinking depresses nerves that control things like breathing or the gag reflex. Drinking too much in too short a time can lead to slow or stopped breathing; irregular or stopped heart beat; choking on vomit; severe dehydration; low body temperature; or too little blood sugar.

Don’t ever let someone “sleep it off.” Blood alcohol levels continue to rise in the body even when someone is passed out and no longer drinking.  Watch for these signs of alcohol poisoning and get help immediately:

  • Mental confusion, stupor or coma
  • Passed out and difficult to wake
  • Cold, clammy, pale or bluish skin
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature)
Drinking too much contributes to over 54 different injuries and diseases. Including car crashes, violence, and sexually-transmitted diseases. Drinking too much contributes to over 54 different injuries and diseases. Including car crashes, violence, and sexually-transmitted diseases.
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Dizzy Guy with banadages Dizzy Guy with banadages

Long-Term Effects

Over time, long-term alcohol use can cause permanent damage to the body and the brain, putting drinkers at serious risk of many health problems, including:

  • Physical dependence on alcohol
  • Liver disease, including alcoholic hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) and cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)
  • Heart disease, high blood pressure and some forms of stroke
  • Brain damage
  • Cancer of the mouth, liver, the digestive tract and the breast
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Mental disorders, including increased aggression, depression and anxiety
  • Birth defects in children born to women who drink during pregnancy
  • Sexual problems and decreased fertility
  • Bone damage
  • Immune deficiency, causing increased susceptibility to certain diseases

The Consequences of Drinking too Much

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Injuries like car crashes, falls, burns, and drowning

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Sexual assault, domestic violence, and suicide

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Financial losses due to injuries, property damage, and crime

Disease Icon

Sexually transmitted diseases

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High blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases

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Brain Icon


Do you need help?

Sources: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention