Effects of Alcohol

Effects of Alcohol

​Maybe you want to socialise over a jug of beer, hang out at the pub after work or have a few drinks over dinner. Modern pubs serve interesting and innovative cocktails spiked with alcohol to attract working adults and youth.

The active component of alcoholic beverages is ethanol, a chemical that has a strong effect on the psyche. Ethanol is intoxicating and addictive.

Taken in small quantity, it affects mood and emotion, lowering inhibitions making it a welcome icebreaker in social occasions. People talk a lot more and socialise with greater ease after a few drinks. Alcohol, in any amount, affects physical and mental abilities, lowering speed and accuracy. In excess, it can lead to drunken behaviour, increasing the risk of car accidents and injuries (e.g. permanent disability and death). 

Constant drinking disrupts family life due to irresponsible and violent behaviours as the drinker tends to make unreasonable demands for money to spend on the drinking habit and also loses control of emotions over minor matters.

Did You Know?

Alcohol contains a lot of calories. One gram of alcohol provides 7 calories, just a tad less than fat. So, if you drink alcohol regularly, do not be surprised if you sport a classic beer belly.

  • 1 can (330 ml) of beer — 158kcal
  • Half glass (100ml) of wine (height of glass = 15cm) — 140kcal
  • 1 nip (30ml) of hard liquor  — 89kcal

Regular drinking has been associated with obesity; cancer of the mouth, throat and oesophagus; cirrhosis of the liver; brain damage and memory loss; sexual problems, especially male impotency.

If you are below the age of 18 years, you should not drink alcohol because your body processes it more slowly. So, the negative effects last longer and are stronger than that experienced by an adult.

Those of legal age to drink, realise that your drinking habits can court both health and social risks. Here are some suggestions to help you minimise your risks:

1. Moderation is Key

Check if you can drink​

Before you start drinking alcohol, check with your doctor if you can. Individuals with health conditions such as a family history of high blood triglycerides, inflammation of the pancreas, liver disease, certain blood disorders, heart failure​ and uncontrolled high blood pressure, should not drink.

Always run your medication by your doctor and ask specifically if you can drink alcohol while you are taking them.

Never ever mix social drugs with alcohol as it is illegal to take drugs in Singapore and, mixing drugs with alcohol has unintended negative effects.


Amount

​​​​​​If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation. Men should drink no more than two standard drinks a day, and women, no more than one. A standard alcoholic drink is defined as a can (330 ml) of regular beer, half a glass (175 ml) of wine or 1 nip (35 ml) of spirit.

2. Eat Before and During a Drinking Session​​​​​

​Eating a snack or meal before and during a drinking session will help slow down alcohol absorption. Avoid salty food as they make you thirstier and, you may drink more alcohol to quench your thirst.

At any one drinking session, drink slowly, sipping the alcoholic drink, alternating it with a non-alcoholic drink and eating some food along with the drink.

3. Do Not Drink and Drive

Alcoholic drinks impacts your hand and eye co-ordination. So, if you plan to drink, take a taxi to the party. After you have had a drink, take a taxi back or accept the services of a valet to drop you home. In the same token, after you drink do not attempt to take on tasks that require you to pay focussed attention such as operating machinery, diving, swimming and boating.

Did you know?

If your breath alcohol content is more than 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath; or more than 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, you can be charged with drink-driving. Moreover, even when the alcohol content is below the legal limit, a driver can still be convicted of drink driving if there is evidence to show that he cannot control the vehicle.

4. Watch Out for Dependence

Since alcohol is potentially addictive, it is important to be observant about the way you handle it. Keep a track of how often and how much you drink. Share your results with a close family member or friend so that you can be on your guard, just in case you slip into the habit of drinking too much.

5. Get Help, If Needed

Be honest and seek help if you have a problem with the amount of alcohol you drink. Several agencies provide help to overcome alcohol dependence. Reach out to any one of them and, follow up until you get the help you need.

Get Help

So Remember...

  • Alcoholic beverages contain a strong psychoactive agent, ethanol. Drinking alcoholic beverages presents both short-term and long-term health risks.

  • Men should consume no more than two standard drinks a day, and women, no more than one.

  • As alcohol is addictive, be watchful of your drinking pattern. If you need help to break a habit or an addiction, seek professional help.

Read these next: