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What are the effects of alcohol?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows down the central nervous system just like other sedatives do. At low doses, this dampening of the nervous system leads to a loss of inhibitions, which is why people under the influence of alcohol are often talkative, more sociable, and perhaps even giddy. Alcohol impairs judgment and coordination, which is why drinking and driving are such a dangerous combination. With increasing amounts of alcohol, people can experience poor decision making, slurred speech, impaired balance, poor coordination, nausea, and disturbed sleep; higher doses can cause vomiting and loss of consciousness.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.