Popular names for alcohol include ‘drink’, ‘booze,’ ‘liquor’; in addition, the various preparations have their own colloquial names (such as ‘plonk’ or ‘vino’ for wine).
Alcohol is the popular name for ethanol, a colourless chemical. It is produced by the process of fermentation, in which yeast acts to convert the sugars contained in fruits, vegetables etc. into ethanol. The resultant liquids, together with their added flavourings etc, form what are collectively referred to as alcohol. There are three main forms of alcoholic drink: beers, wines and spirits.
A central nervous system depressant, the drug’s effects include weakened bodily control and co-ordination, resulting in blurred vision slurred speech, loss of balance, and so on. It also acts as a disinhibitor, enabling people to act in ways they would not if they were sober. The effects are mediated by the strength of the drink (i.e., percentage of ethanol to water), body weight, gender, social setting and other factors. The effects may be experienced as relaxing, helping people enjoy socializing, or as releasing pent-up aggression. The more people drink, the more likely they are to experience hangover.
While alcohol can produce a powerful addiction, is an important component of leisure in most modern western cultures, and comes in a number of different preparations (beer, lager, wine, spirits etc) and brands.
Free, confidential information and advice is available by calling the Release Drugs Helpline on 0845 45 00 215